Big in Falkirk, Scotland's National Street Arts festival, celebrates its 10th birthday this year with an exciting line up, including world premieres and the return of some much loved acts which have gone down a storm since the festival's inception in 2000.
The Free event, which attracts up to 100,000 visitors, takes place at Falkirk's Callendar Park on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd May 2009. People of all ages and tastes will enjoy a diverse mix of live music, outdoor theatre, dance, visual art and pyrotechnics. 2009 highlights include:
In the year of Homecoming, this year's event celebrates another milestone birthday, Robert Burns' 250th and to celebrate, Sunday will feature a world premiere of iconic images, rousing music, pyrotechnics and visual delights in a spectacular finale entitled: 'Burns is Back!' Specially commissioned and produced by Big in Falkirk. Designed by Graeme Gilmour (Sticky; Full Circle; Shock Headed Peter); Lit by Phil Supple (Sticky, Full Circle, NVA's Half Life); Pyro by The World Famous (Sticky, Full Circle and Big in Falkirk finale shows); Directed by Neil Butler. This is the same team that created and delivered the critically acclaimed finale to the 2009 launch of Homecoming and is not to be missed.
Big in Falkirk has a strong history of discovering acts just as they are about to break through with Amy MacDonald, McFly, Snow Patrol and Sandi Thom having graced the music stage in previous years. Headliners for this year are Capercaillie and Stereo MCs. Capercaillie have been responsible for bringing Celtic music to the world stage and singer Karen Matheson's exquisite voice has made her one of the finest Gaelic singers alive. The band fuses Gaelic music with contemporary and has sold millions of albums worldwide.
Fresh from unleashing their album 'Double Bubble' last summer, Stereo MCs are often labelled as one of the UK's most iconic bands and with Brit Awards and million selling albums behind them, they are back once again to prove that they're as innovative and relevant as ever.
Also featured are some of the best up and coming bands in the UK, including Falkirk's very own, The Ray Summers; Edinburgh's Young Fathers; Glasgow's The Skinflints, Scottish folk band Breabach; Andi Neate, who has been compared to Suzanne Vega and Tori Amos; Esperanza, who blend their own distinctive brand of ska with a few choice covers; Ben Sturrock who has been inspired by Ray Lamontagne and Van Morrison; power pop five piece, The Sears; reggae star Empress Ayeola (making her Scottish debut) and The Dojo Drummers. Back by popular demand are: Danse or Die; Crieff's Day of Days and Carnival Collective.
Big in Falkirk stalwarts, Mischief La Bas have delighted audiences over the last 10 years with some of the most brilliant off-the-wall street theatre in the world. This year sees the world premieres of artistic director Ian Smith's latest productions, Beastly Beauty and Hurty Gurty Man. Over the years, Smith has inflicted his singing on the public in a variety of guises, from ersatz pop singer to faux crooner. Now he wishes to return to street level and these two newly-commissioned pieces show him dress up as a bull and drag a matador around (Beastly Beauty) and subverting the jolly image of the Organ Grinder by croaking out inappropriate songs of doom and despair (Hurty Gurty Man). Smith celebrates his 50th birthday this year and 30 years of artistic meddling - his shows are always a highlight of the event.
Dance plays a big part in this year's festival and new for 2009 is the chance to learn some moves in the Dance Tent which has classes running over the weekend for all ages and levels. Motionhouse Dance Theatre and Gilmore Productions - two internationally renowned dance companies - invite you to come along and shake your stuff and guarantee to get you dancing your socks off!
The dance programme includes Snowglobe, an installation exploring Flamenco with Angie Dight's beautifully visual spectacle. Motionhouse Dance Theatre presents Underground, attention grabbing performances featuring four dancers using stunning physical dance where the characters are constantly drawn together then torn apart, producing a thought provoking and energetic performance. The Park Gallery hosts Screendance, featuring innovative new works in dance, movement, cinema, moving image and visual art. Each piece provides a unique take on the fusion of dance and technology. The Screendance Film Project is a collection of dance film works created by young people from the surrounding areas. Visitors are instructed to look up high and down low to uncover the dancers and follow the treasure hunt of films waiting to be discovered around the park.
Falkirk's Children's Youth Theatre, in association with Mischief La Bas and Mitch Miller, will premiere their latest show, The Fantastic Staccato Bananas - a rip roaring and side splitting event featuring colourful characters from yesteryear performing ludicrous, exciting and mildly dangerous acts and lure you into the world of fairground life. If you don't find them, they'll find you!
Following on from its success last year, the Secret Garden is back. If you're looking for a break from the main stage, head for the more intimate surroundings of the back lawn and look out for quirky theatre, summer sounds and the Made in the Shade marquee - showcasing emerging design, neo-craft and vintage lifestyle. Expect a rock 'n' roll soundtrack and old-time treats!
The East Village will have an abundance of activities for all ages including an under 5's fun tent with story telling and a range of games.
This year's Fringe Tent offers a platform for the cream of unsigned local bands and young bands from the local Rock the Talk project. You can also try your hand at playing instruments including guitars, keyboards and drums plus jamming sessions with Puff Uproar and the Shimmering Sound Affair who invite over 16s who play a wind instrument to bring it along and jam!
For the more active, there's an abundance of sporting activities including basketball and rugby and, for the more daring, a climbing wall, ski-slope, a bungie run and mountain biking.
The Festival Market is back selling unique clothing and accessories and there's a craft tent and the chance to try out holistic therapies and some tasty treats to suit all palettes from the food stalls.