Rabbie Burns is Scotland’s most famous “export”. Yet surprisingly he has yet to be co-opted to promote both Scottish identity and Scottish exports around the world. “Burns Big Night Out “ intends to alter this perspective and to achieve for both themselves and sponsors,  significant increased global market penetration not just in the USA, Canada and Australasia but also in less immediately obvious markets like India and Russia. 

The biggest community platform in the South of Scotland, the Big Burns Supper is an annual three-week winter fringe festival that features over 300 shows. A modern take on a traditional celebration, the event honours Robert Burns, the famous “bard on the banknote”. Widely regarded as Scotland’s national poet, Burns was born in the late 18th century and is perhaps best known for penning “Auld Lang Syne”. The undisputed theme to New Year’s celebrations across the world, Burns also owes his reputation to pioneering the Romantic literary tradition which stretched far from his birthplace in Alloway, Scotland.  

As a highly unique social cooperative made up of over 170 members, the Big Burns Supper brings together a huge network that is committed to powering change. With a firm emphasis on inclusivity, the Big Burns Supper attracts a large and diverse audience by hosting high profile artists and performers. Extending its reach beyond the South of Scotland, the festival also streams digitally to connect with a worldwide community.

Providing the opportunity for brands to get involved in such an exciting festival, BDS designed a sponsorship strategy that allows businesses to participate in meaningful ways to earn greater visibility. Fast becoming a truly global celebration, the sponsorship opportunity is undoubtedly unique in character and highly rewarding in terms of value. 

Why is Rabbie Burns so popular across the world?

The Big Burns Supper is now embraced across the world, with the livestreaming of performances enabling the festival to establish new audiences in places as far away as India. The below graph helpfully illustrates the distribution of this global audience:

Big Burns Supper Pie Chart: Our Global Market - Segments: UK 43%, India 16%, Europe 16%, Russia 10%, North Asia 6%, North America 5%, South America 2%, Other 2%

Representing the local, UK, European and global appeal of the festival, this graph does beg the question of why Rabbie Burns is seemingly more popular in India than other international territories. What about the bard resonates so strongly with people who live 5,000 miles from his home? The answer, it turns out, has to do with his relationship to Rabindranath Tagore, India’s own national bard. Inspired by, and alluding to Burns in many of his works, Tagore’s work represents a connection between the two countries that stretches back centuries. It’s no wonder, then, that India so keenly joins in with the annual Burns Supper celebrations. This cross-cultural appeal is visible back in Scotland, with events like the Tartan and Turbans show celebrating the confluence of traditions that have come to define Scotland. 

In short, the Big Burns Supper brings together a global community to celebrate Scotland’s past and present. 

A breakdown of the crowd:

67% of our audience are female. Our best performing channel is Facebook (47%). Strongest global markets are India (17%), Russia (10%), Europe (16%)

Going beyond the cultural distinctions, the above statistics illustrate the diverse demographic that makes up the Big Burns Supper, and the opportunities that sponsoring businesses are able to leverage when getting involved.

To find out more about the Big Burns Supper, or to discover how BDS can help to provide your organisation with a powerful sponsorship strategy, simply get in touch with a member of our team today.

Last Updated on June 9, 2022