Burns&Beyond is the light at the end of the January tunnel, with live acts and events over eight nights.

This will be the fourth year that Unique Events have organised the Burns festival for The City of Edinburgh Council and the message is true to Rabbie Burns with the theme of Love, Hope and Kindness.

Celebrating the birthday of the Ayrshire poet around 25 January is nothing new. There are Burns Suppers held all over the world each year (with the exception of 2021 perhaps). Next January the Burns&Beyond Festival Club returns with performances from many artists including The Twilight Sad, Arab Strap and Treacherous Orchestra.

There will be an art installation at St Giles Cathedral helping the city to gently emerge from the pandemic and the aftermath.


Les Colombes created by Michael Pendrywill comprise a flock of folded white paper doves suspended over the nave at St Giles Cathedral from 21 January to 5 February 2022, with the message of hope, humanity and new beginnings.

This will be the first time that the installation has been set up in Scotland, after its initial appearances in Salisbury, Munich, London, Jerusalem. Buenos Aires, San Francisco and New York.

Burns&Beyond are inviting visitors to the exhibition to create their own origami doves with messages of Love Hope and Kindness to display at St Giles as well as homes, businesses and schools in a symbol of the city’s spirit.

There will be dove-making workshops for anyone to learn how to make the origami figures at St Giles and the National Museum of Scotland.

Michael Pendry said: “The Les Colombes installation has found a home in some of the world’s most sacred spaces, and now I’m thrilled to exhibit this piece in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral, where it can challenge and engage new audiences.”

PHOTO courtesy of Unique Events

Al Thomson & Penny Dougherty, Directors of Unique Events, said: “We are thrilled to welcome back audiences and performers to Burns&Beyond this January for what promises to be a very special series of live event experiences. We can’t wait to brighten up the dark January nights, celebrating the life and legacy of Robert Burns though spectacular live music, poetry, comedy and whisky, from across Scotland and beyond.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “I’m delighted that the Burns&Beyond Festival will be returning for its fourth year and the programme of live and in-person events promises to delight fans of Burns, Edinburgh and Scottish culture.  Edinburgh remains the place to be to mark the life and legacy of Scotland’s Bard, and to share a programme of varied and exciting events in the Assembly Rooms.   Burns&Beyond will also host Michael Pendry’s captivating installation ‘Les Colombes’ (on its first outing in Scotland) bringing its messages of hope, humanity and new beginnings to St Giles. I would encourage everyone to explore the programme, there r

The festival of all things related to the Bard is produced by Unique Events and supported by City of Edinburgh Council and Essential Edinburgh.  Tickets are on-sale for all events from 10am, Friday 29 October through www.burnsandbeyond.com with a 24hr pre-sale available to those who subscribe to the Burns&Beyond mailing list at the official website. Further events across the Burns&Beyond programme will be announced in the coming months.  

All events with live audiences will be subject to current Scottish Government Covid guidelines and restrictions.

The Burns&Beyond Festival Club returns to the Assembly Rooms in George Street with eight nights of live, in-person events including a stripped-back, intimate performance from The Twilight Sad who will be performing songs from across their critically acclaimed body of work on Saturday 22 January, with support from critically acclaimed Glasgow three-piece Cloth.

James Graham, Twilight Sad, said “First of all, we’re just happy to be back out there doing what we love again. We’re extremely grateful and honoured to be taking part in Burns & Beyond.  In school, we used to recite Robert Burns poems on Burns day. It was something I always looked forward to. My parents would rehearse the poems at home with me. It’s a really fond memory I have from my childhood. Now, as an adult, I truly understand and love the beauty/importance within Robert Burn’s work. As someone who tries to convey emotions through words, I am in awe of Robert Burns’s genius. It’s something I’ll pass down to my children as well. To be part of the celebration of one of Scotland’s finest poets is a true honour.”

On Monday 24 January, Arab Strap, the pioneering folk duo of Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton who have been nominated for the 2021 Scottish Album of the Year, take to the stage with a full-band live performance with support from fellow SAY Award nominee Lizzie Reid, and on Burns Night itself (Tuesday 25 January) Neu! Reekie!’s This-Is-Not-A-Burns-Night Burns Night lands with a night on anarchic spoken-word, live music, whisky and scran in celebration of the bard. 

Arab Strap said “We’re very much looking forward to playing one of Edinburgh’s loveliest venues in honour of the Ploughman Poet himself. Burns loved a bit of bawd, and he hated slavery, monarchy, and social inequality too, so we like to think he’d be pleased to have us.”

The Big Burns Comedy Night, presented in partnership with Gilded Balloon, welcomes comedy legend Fred MacAulay who hosts an evening of the country’s leading comics including Larry Dean, Susie McCabe, Des Clarke and Maisie Adam on Wednesday 26 January.

Treacherous Orchestra makes a welcome return to live performance, with an exclusive show for Burns&Beyond on Thursday 27 January.  Expect a joyous explosion of instrumental brilliance, rampaging humour and cracking tunes featuring bagpipes, whistles, flutes, fiddles, accordion, banjo, guitars, bass, drums, bodhrán and percussion.  Their tightly crafted arrangements forge an irresistibly danceable sound that never fails to get a crowd on its feet.  

On Friday 28 January, the Festival Club presents a very special event, Rip It Up!  A Celebration of Scottish Pop, curated by BBC broadcaster and champion of Scottish music Vic Galloway.  The evening boasts a glittering line-up of artists of Scottish music legends and emerging talent including Justin Currie (Del Amitri), Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Stina Tweeddale(Honeyblood), Emma Pollock (The Delgados), award-winning singer-songwriter Kathryn JosephC. Duncan and the legendary Faye Fife and Eugene Reynolds of The Rezillos performing some of their favourite songs from seven decades of Scottish pop with the incredible 10-piece Rip It Up! band.

Burns&Beyond is once again proud to support their official charity Tiny Changes, and will be fundraising via online donations and throughout the festival to help transform the mental health of children and young people across Scotland.