Big Haggis beats rain to toast Bard

Jock Ferguson joins the party
Jock Ferguson joins the party

Torrential rain failed to put a dampener on Robert Burns birthday bash ‘The Big Haggis’ which took place in Kirkcaldy on Saturday.

The event, organised by Kirkcaldy4All and local actor Jock Ferguson, was both spirited and heartfelt and with over 70 performers taking part in a fitting tribute to the Bard.

a  member of the Burntisland Ukelele Orchestra

a member of the Burntisland Ukelele Orchestra

With two venues - the Town Square and Mercat Shopping Centre - showcasing a comprehensive programme, this year’s event expanded after a modest 2013 debut into a Burns festival encompassing dance, traditional music, drumming, the visual arts and, recitation.

With the weather being so inclement, the bigger audiences were in the Mercat where arts workshops and face-painting were very popular, along with a pre-Fife Festival of Music appearance from members of the Fife Ukelele Orchestra, followed by the address to The Big Haggis – a spicy whisky cake made by Scottish Perfections in Kirkcaldy High Street, that was then shared with the audience.

Jock Ferguson from Herald Events which helped put together the festival, said: “The weather was downright disappointing but as Burns wrote, ‘the best-laid schemes of mice and men.’ states that you can’t control it all.

‘‘But every act was fired up for this and, with a very full main stage programme, many of the acts being local, it shows you can present a festival on a modest budget that has a real family feel to it.

“I wouldn’t gamble on the weather again and if there is a third Big Haggis, then he will be coming in fae the cauld.”

Mr Ferguson suggested that any future event could be rolled out to include more local schools to get youngsters interested in Burns at a young age.

“Having performed in some schools to promote the event, I know there is great interest in Burns’ work and the enthusiasm I experienced from the children was very encouraging to me as a long-time Burns disciple.”

Bill Harvey, chairman of Kirkcaldy4All added: “Although we were disappointed with the terrible weather for the Town Square concert we were delighted with the content of the events, and it is nice to see we are getting a lot more community involvement.

“The Mercat activities were well attended and it is certainly going in the right direction, which is something we would hope to be able to keep going.”