Robert Burns: Burns Two Twenty festival celebrates the 220th anniversary of the first ever Supper in honour of Scotland's bard

The first Burns Supper 220 years ago will be celebrated with a festival including live music at the poet’s birthplace this month.

The Burns Two Twenty Festival on July 21 will celebrate the 220th anniversary of the first Burns Supper celebrating the life of Scottish poet Robert Burns (Photo: August Schwerdfeger/CC and SWNS)

The Robert Burns Birthplace Museum and cottage in Alloway – where Scotland s bard was born – is hosting a five-day festival in July to mark the 220th anniversary of the first Burns Supper.

The first ever supper was held on the 5th anniversary of Burns’ death on July 21 1801 by friends in the Alloway cottage.

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Now Burns suppers are observed on the poet's birthday on January 25.

The Burns Two Twenty Festival on July 21 will feature day and evening activities for all ages, including a range of free events.

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It will include an outdoor and craft programme, and then in the evening a Summer Supper with a pub night involving interactive games and a comedy evening with Des Clarke.

The festival is run by the National Trust for Scotland, who care for the museum and cottage and other landmarks linked to the poet including the Auld Kirk, Burns Monument and Brig o' Doon.

Events manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum, Lauren McKenzie, said: "We have been keen to put on an event at the cottage site, particularly since we weren't really able to properly mark the completion of the new thatched roof last year due to Covid restrictions.

"This will be the first time that we have been able to really hold an event there and mark a significant anniversary, the 220th anniversary of the first Burns Supper.

"The festival begins on July 21 with the Summer Supper, held within a marquee in the smallholding on the site of the Cottage, where the first Burns supper took place.

"We will have a top table of speakers and the traditional recitals but not in quite as formal a delivery and format as your usual Burns night - we certainly hope it won't be a dark, dreich night that we normally have in January.

"The marquee will be situated in the smallholding and have open sides, so you will very much be in the land where the Burns family farmed.

"We are really able to bring in that view of the cottage and the whole surrounding landscape and take advantage of it."

Ms McKenzie added: "The marquee will also host the Burns Heid Inn night, which is a nod to the cottage's long and interesting history.

"The cottage was an ale house for over 80 years and was visited by famous people including the poet, John Keats.

"On Friday July 23 we are hosting a pub night, supplying local craft beers by the Ayrshire Brewing Company who have produced themed beers based on Burns, his life and stories."

Guest will have to book for the day in advance.

The first session of each day will be a relaxed session with no background noise and further reduced capacity to cater to those with additional support needs.

Ms McKenzie added: "The whole festival is really exciting for us. Just to have that buzz around the site will be great but pre-booking is essential.

"We need to prepare and monitor capacity and if you do come on the day there are no guarantees."

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