The Robert Burns Scottish Festival (RBSF) Chairperson, Dr John Menzies OAM, is pleased to announce that festival is going ahead with a full weekend program, with several new events on offer. The RBSF volunteer committee has also created multiple Burns Bite events for the year, so please connect with them via their website and our Facebook page to stay up to date with what’s on, and when. For RBSF 2023 the festival is excited to headline Austral, an exciting young folk band who are infectiously toe-tapping, before they head overseas. They were winners of the Traditional Folk Album of the Year at the 2022 Australian Folk Music Awards.
Festival favourites; Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club and Hugh & Janet Gordon, are back. Big Fiddle Little Fiddle are new guests, their performances are energised by a sheer joy of playing music, not to be missed. Fiona Ross, a gifted interpreter of Scots song and winner of Best Folk Album: Music Victoria Awards 2020, is returning with Shane O’Mara. A line-up of talented local bands and musicians include Kyle & Merran Moir, The Twa Bards, Camperdown’s Lakes and Craters Band, The Warrnambool Pipes and Tuniversal Music Group Inc.
New events this year will include a Saturday Evening Soirée, to be held in the Killara Centre, and a Saturday Poetry & Ploughman’s Lunch with the Unicorn Tapestry, celebrating Scotland’s national animal. Also on Saturday there will be a show for kids, by entertainer Eric Read, that will be a fun filled, family-friendly highlight. The festival opens Thursday night with a movie at the Killara Centre, with ‘Falling for Figaro’, a delightful feel good, music rich, comedy. The Gala Dinner will be held at the Theatre Royal on Friday night.
Enjoy a sumptuous and authentic Scottish meal with an Address to the Haggis, and entertainment. Bookings essential as numbers are limited. Looking for historical context? Maree Belyea and Bob Lambell have organised four wonderful guest speakers for the Saturday Lecture Series, held at the Killara Centre. Topics include; Fiona Ross – ‘Burns as songwriter & collector, Stewart McArthur – ‘Waltzing Matilda’, Dr Rosalie Triolo – ‘Scots as ‘Sodgers’ & Teacher-Enlistees 1914-18’, Allan Willingham – ‘Portraits, Panoramas & Landscapes’.
Events and entertainment for all
Wee Stories will be at the library for the children, along with games, music and markets in the avenue. Highland dancers and pipers will activate the Clock Tower precinct. You might even get a photo opportunity with Rosie & Doge, two friendly Westies who will be in their tartan. If you have a West Highlander or Scottie dog bring them along… your dog might win a prize for the pooch with the waggiest tail! Choir Workshops will be held on the Saturday (TBC). The very popular Cookery Class (TBC) will be happening with Liz Patterson and Ruth Gstrein giving participants the opportunity to cook authentic Scottish food. The Robbie Burns Golf Ambrose Cup will be held at the Camperdown Golf Club.
On both Saturday and Sunday the Camperdown Heritage Centre and the Masonic Lodge will be open for folk to visit, along with a climb of the Clock Tower. Sunday morning brings music & poetry with The Twa Bards by the Statue, followed by the Festival Finale Concert at the Theatre Royal in the afternoon, featuring The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club. NAIDOC week starts on Sunday the 2nd of July, and the RBSF also aims to incorporate Indigenous connections in its program, as we seek to celebrate the unique heritage of where we love and live.
In 2023 we’re also celebrating a return of the school children’s program with primary and secondary aged events including art works, poetry, story writing and the popular shortbread baking competition. These activities will happen before the festival and delivered in the schools. Take a walk along the main street during festival week and see student’s work exhibited in local shop windows. Dr Menzies also said that schools can access resources from the Robert Burns World Federation website: www.rbwf.org.uk at no cost, giving students the opportunity to learn more about Robert Burns and Scotland. There’s plenty of things to see and do, for all ages and RBSF invites you to come and enjoy what’s on offer in 2023.
The Robert Burns Scottish Festival takes place June 29-July 2 in Camperdown, Victoria. Keep up to date at: www.camperdownburnsfestival.com.au and www.facebook.com/robertburnsfestival. Tickets available now: www.trybooking.com/CICVY. For further information please contact Catherine O’Flynn RBSF Co-ordinator on 0407 056 126.
Main photo: RBSF headline act, Austral.