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Nov 082017
 November 8, 2017

Electro-instrumentalists Public Service Broadcasting will play their first ever Spiegeltent show with a unique set that will offer their fans and local audience, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Bay City Rollers make a triumphant return headlining the newly titled Tartan Sunday Sessions which is a festival-within-a-festival.
They will play alongside Dumfries & Galloway legends ONR and rocket-fuelled Dangleberries as well as a Jamaican dub outfit Jamaica Sings Robert Burns offering festival goers an-all-one ticket to close the festival in a thirteen-hour extravaganza

Marcel Lucont is added to the brand-new comedy strand alongside a host of acts who will play in venues ranging from Spiegeltent, Theatre Royal and in the festival’s brand-new Container Theatre.

The family programme includes brand new children’s theatre, as well as the return of the sell-out Roller Disco, including special sessions just for the under 5’s.
Saxophonist and composer Brian Molley presents his quartet in the Spiegeltent as part of the weekend programme of events which includes Soul Nation Choir and Dougie McLean

Emily Smith and Robyn Stapleton join a host of local acts broadcast to the world in the festival’s special Burns Night Live show which is beamed from the Spiegeltent across the globe.

A brand new Free Fringe will run from the Festival site each daily, featuring over 100 different acts presented, including a brand-new show case of the region’s school talent, as well as local favourites Ward & Watson, LOKA, Stoney Broke and Scott Maxwell

The inaugural Dumfries Fringe – the newest part of the festival includes up to 60 shows and events taking place in venues ranging from Gracefield Arts Centre, Robert Burns Film Theatre, Theatre Royal, Coach & Horses, Troqueer Arms, The Stove and many more.
The D-Lux, Festival of Light makes a return with an even bigger programme of installations and events beaming across the winter night sky throughout the festival.
The festival also presents a range of new experiences including a brand-new ballroom dancing masterclass, which will culminate in a big band event, live from the Spiegeltent, and free cooking demonstrations in the festival hub.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 will raise the roof in their eclectic style as they play a post Le Haggis late night special on Saturday 27th.
The Festival is also launching its first digital channel via Facebook Live which will feature interviews, features and performances from the Festival.

The additions are added to the existing line-up which includes Bill Bailey, Donovan, Camille O’Sullivan, Badly Drawn Boy, We Banjo 3, Eddi Reader, Dougie Maclean and the Dumfries made, Le Haggis.

Executive Producer, Graham Main said
The full line-up makes this our most ambitious festival in our seven years, and we are thrilled to welcome diverse artists to the already jam-packed programme. Our 2018 Festival programme is about experiencing something different by bringing our audience to our festival hub which is reclaiming its rightful position in the centre of Dumfries, at the heart of the amazing venues that help make our programme incredible.

Chair of the Big Burns Supper board, Karen Clapperton said
We are indebted to our local partners, SP Energy Networks, Loreburn Housing, D-Lux, Dumfries & Galloway Council and our local venues, the army of local volunteers who work with us to create the magic that is Big Burns Supper Festival.

The festival team will move into a new pop up venue on the Whitesands on the 15th November and tickets for all events can be purchased through the festival website or by calling 01387 271820
Big Burns Supper Festival is a non-profit event, produced by local charity Electric Theatre Workshop Ltd.

Nov 082017
 November 8, 2017

Water rescue charities have been awarded £1 million in funding for vital rescue equipment to help keep the UK’s rivers and seas safe.

The money has been made available by the inshore and inland rescue boat grant fund and is the fourth round of funding under this 5-year, £5 million scheme.

Charities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will use this year’s fund to purchase 14 new lifeboats and maritime equipment including lifejackets, helmets, boots, ropes, knives and torches.

Commenting on the £6,393.61 grant to Port William Inshore Rescue Service, UK Government Minister for Scotland Lord Duncan said:

“This grant is a fitting recognition for the dedicated service of all the members of the Port William Inshore Rescue Service, whose selflessness, skill and bravery has saved lives and helped those in need since 1979.

“The unpaid volunteers are a credit to their communities and I am delighted that this funding will support their continued outstanding work across Luce Bay and Wigtown Bay.”

Maritime Minister John Hayes said:

“Every day water rescue volunteers risk their safety to protect the lives of people across the UK. Their dedication and highly specialised skills are absolutely crucial to providing inshore and inland rescue services.

“This extra money means that the volunteers and charities can purchase the lifeboats and equipment they need. It means that assistance is never far away for those in need or in distress on or around our waterways.”

Since its launch in 2014, the grant has provided water rescue services up and down the UK with funding for new boats, vehicles and equipment.

A total of 62 organisations will receive a share of the £1m funding for 2017-18 after their bids were considered by an expert panel.

Chaired by the Department for Transport and made up of representatives from DfT, DEFRA, devolved administrations, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, RNLI and the Royal Yachting Association, the panel assessed bids taking into account:

  • How the equipment listed supports or enhances the organisation’s rescue capability
  • Evidence that the items funded represent good value for money
  • Applicants were also required to match fund 10% of the costs of funded items, and to provide a letter of support from the authority that tasks them to rescues

Sir Alan Massey, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, said: “These smaller, independent charities are the lifeblood of our communities, playing a vital role in supporting the daily lives of thousands of people across the UK.

“We often need to remind ourselves that these brave women and men may be called at any time of the day or night to assist persons in difficulty. Those persons may be lost or injured, in trouble at sea, or needing to be rescued from fast-flowing water or floods.

“It’s essential that funding like this is available to independent lifeboats so that they have the proper emergency equipment to aid in rescues. This funding will help meet their goals and ease their financial burden.”

Nov 082017
 November 8, 2017

In response to the recommendations in the report on the statutory consultation for Ae, Garlieston and Kirkbean primary schools which will be considered by Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Children, Young People and Lifelong Learning [CYPLL] Committee on 30 November 2017, and to be published on Wednesday 8th Novemeber.

South of Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “I welcome the recommendation to have Ae, Garlieston and Kirkbean primary schools stay open along with the 5 year moratorium on any future consultation as per the requirements of the Act. Dumfries and Galloway Council has listened to the powerful case put by local communities who value and want to work to support their local schools.School are a vital part of any community but especially villages where they are often, not just used for teaching but community events and it is clear that is the case here.

In my submission to the consultation I made the point that school rolls would actually be higher in each school but some parents had understandably chosen to send their kids elsewhere because they were worried the school would close. Hopefully, this recommendation will go parents locally the confidence to send their kids to their local schools, not those some distance away.

Whilst this is a moment for the local community to celebrate, it is also important we do not lose sight of the fact that councils are being forced to consider the future of schools as a direct result of considerable funding cuts from the Scottish Government to local councils. I will continue to urge the Scottish Government to value the work of schools and local council and make sure they start to properly fund local services.”

Nov 062017
 November 6, 2017

News from our local football club, Queen of the South:

“Lloyds have been proud sponsors of Queen of the South in the Community for several years now and with our community events expanding, the team are being kept on the road throughout the region with the help of Lloyds who have also increased their contribution by becoming the man shirt sponsors for the Under 20 squad. Recently Stephen Marshall and Stuart Dalton from Lloyds Group presented Eddie Warwick and Dan Armstrong with a new Isuzu Jeep.

After receiving the keys Dan Armstrong said “The Club are extremely grateful to Lloyds for their continued support. They are one of many local businesses who make contributions, but having use of the Isuzu Jeep means that we can take our community programmes across Dumfries and Galloway. The clubs that we run along with our school programmes are growing in popularity and a very important part of what we provide throughout the region”. Under 20 Manager, Eddie Warwick added “The annual shirt draw for the first team squad raises a lot of money for the club which is great but the Under 20 squad also needs help and we are proud to have Lloyds as our main shirt sponsors. As current development league west champions we hope to continue to raise the profile of the team, the club and local business such as Lloyds”.”

Oct 312017
 October 31, 2017

“Follow ‘The Fireworks Code’ is the message from Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service as we move towards November 5th“explains Community Sergeant Graeme Still in Dumfries.  It is well recognised that October and November are the busiest time of the year when it comes to dealing with the misuse of fireworks.  We are currently working with Community Safety Officers across the Division to deal with increase in calls we experience at this time of year due to anti-social behaviour involving fireworks. Our aim is simply to keep people safe in order that they can enjoy what should be a memorable experience, for all the right reasons.  The misuse of fireworks will not be tolerated and apart from the anti-social and nuisance element, it can be outright dangerous. Some of the basic rules have not changed over the years and include:-
  • Do follow ‘The Fireworks Code and the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Keep fireworks in a closed metal box and take them out one at a time.
  • Keep pets indoors and warn neighbours if you intend to hold a fireworks display.
  • Use only designated sites for your bonfire.
Designated bonfire sites have been identified and should be used wherever possible.  Details of the sites can be obtained through DGFirst on 03033 333 000.
“Extra patrols will be out and about over the coming nights and on bonfire night itself, on the 5th,” said Sergeant Stitt.  “Make no mistake, we aim to make our presence visible and will deal robustly with anyone who is out to spoil the fun for others by their anti-social and often reckless behaviour.”
The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service would like reiterate Sergeant Stitt’s message and encourage everybody to attend organised approved bonfire events only.
“At this time of year we traditionally receive a heightened number of call outs, and we’ll be working closely with Police Scotland and other community partners over the weekend to ensure a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night for everyone.”
Oct 182017
 October 18, 2017

Alive at FiveListen again to Mark Smith’s Wednesday Drivetime ‘Alive at Five’ feature, which in ‘Challenge Poverty’ week, looks at issues of local poverty. We visit the Tackling Poverty Conference in the Easterbrook Hall and Nadim Cameron from Dumfries Community Shop joins Mark live in the studio.

We have contributions from Cllr. Elaine Murray (Leader of D&G Council), Cllr. Rob Davidson (deputy leader), Gavin Stevenson (Chief Exec D&G Council), Cllr. Andy Ferguson, John McCormick – Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Angela Roberts from Alcohol & Drugs Service, SW Scotland.


Oct 122017
 October 12, 2017

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed a survey that reveals Dumfries as the “happiest place to live” in Scotland.


More than 17,000 people across the UK were asked how happy they are with aspects of where they live as part of the annual Rightmove Happy Home index survey. Community spirit, feeling safe, the friendliness of locals, the amenities and local services available and earning enough to live comfortably were all taken into account, with Dumfries topping the poll in Scotland.


Colin Smyth said, “As a doonhamer who has lived in Dumfries all my life, it’s great to see our town getting some positive publicity. Of course Dumfries isn’t without its massive challenges but that’s no different from any market town of a similar size in Scotland. If you take a step back and look at some of the recent improvements like the Dock Park, the Theatre Royal, the development of the Crichton site, the soon to be open Moat Brae, the Usual Place and the fantastic Learning Town project, there is a lot happening in Dumfries we should be proud of. Add this to the community spirit and the people and you can see why we have topped the poll in Scotland. Sometimes it takes a survey like this for people to appreciate a bit more the positives on our doorstep. Hopefully the poll acts as an incentive to redouble our efforts when it comes to taking on the big challenges Dumfries faces, so we can make our town even better”.

Oct 112017
 October 11, 2017

Alive at FiveListen again to Mark Smith’s Wednesday Drivetime ‘Alive at Five’ feature, which this week revisits the issue of local rural schools threatened with closure.  Live in the studio was Alison Lindsay from Kirkbean Primary School Parent Council and John Magill representing parents at Ae Village Primary School and a recorded contribution from Jo Wallace Chair of Garlieston Primary School Parents’ Council.

This was a follow up discussion, with statements from D&G Council and Colin Smyth MSP, following the decision the Council to ‘pause’ the consultation process over the proposed closure of the three schools.


Sep 272017
 September 27, 2017

Alive at FiveHere’s a chance to listen again to this afternoon’s Alive at Five feature, with Mark Smith and Graham Anderson, joined live in the studio by Alison Lindsay from Kirkbean Primary School Parent Council and John Magill representing parents at Ae Village Primary School. The discussion was over current consultation on proposals by Dumfries & Galloway Council to close three rural schools, including Ae and Kirkbean. Local politicians; Alister Jack MP, Joan McAlpine MSP and Finlay Carson MSP joined in the debate, plus a written statement from the Council.

The Council are inviting responses to their proposals by 5pm 3rd October via [email protected]

Read the Consultation documents on



Sep 262017
 September 26, 2017

Alive at FiveThree primary schools in Dumfries & Galloway are currently threatened with closure. Join Mark Smith for Alive at Five, investigating the issues involved, joined live in the studio by campaigners from Ae Village and Kirkbean; two of the threatened schools.

Wednesday 27th September, from 5pm.

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