Press Release – Robert Burns Scottish Festival 2023 Wrap

Dr John Menzies, OAM said “the Festival was a great success this year with a full festival program including free events and ticketed events on offer proved to be a great combination for patrons and visitors to Camperdown, lots of people took advantage of the festival events, venues were well full and well patronised. The hard work in planning and putting the festival has meet all of our expectations”.

The 2023 Robert Burns Scottish Festival committee presented a successful weekend. The festival kicked off with the Movie ‘Falling for Figaro’ on Thursday night. On Friday evening 100 guests came to the Gala Dinner featuring a sumptuous Scottish meal including the Address to the Haggis given by festival performer Fiona Ross, who later performed a wonderful selection of Traditional Scottish song, Merran Moir played the small pipes and son Kyle Moir played the bag pipes. Hugh and Janet Gordon also entertained the patrons. Strip the Willow a Scottish dance got the folk up and dancing which was also a lot of fun.

The Free Choir Workshop with Kym Dillon had 30 people come along and learn three songs in readiness for the first Concert on Saturday morning at the Theatre Royal featuring Tuniversal, the Lakes and Craters Band and Merran and Peter Moir.

At the Library with Chris Gstrein for Wee Stories and Jock MacEcka and his cheeky sidekick Angus MacSparky was filled with kids and their mums and dads, an entertaining time was had by all.

Judging the Shortbreads competition was conducted at the Loaf and Lounge along with music entertaining customers and the committee thank the Loaf and Lounge for the Sponsorship.

A highlight of the festival is the Lectures held at Killara with a full house Fiona Ross, Stewart McArthur, Dr Rosalie Triolo and Allan Willingham presented informative, interesting lectures.

The Avenue was a buzz with market stalls and the Highland Dancing demonstration had over 100 people watch at the Heritage centre.
The Afternoon Concert started with the very talented Maree, Peter and Anne Daffy, Andrew on and Anne Cooper Band, singing a great selection of traditional songs with Andrew and Anne Cooper on Fiddle with Anne Daffy playing the on the bodhran. Followed by Hugh on Fiddle and Janet Gordon on piano and vocals. Then came a wonderful performance from The Twa Bards, with Don a dynamic vocalist drawing from the oral tradition of his native Scotland and his lifelong appreciation of Burns’ life and accompanied by Angela on flute, fiddle and vocal harmonies.

The Whisky Tasting with music at the Hampden Hotel kicked off with festival musicians providing a great session for the patrons. The Saturday Evening Concert was a full house, kicked off with our local Tuniversal Music Group followed by headline Acts Fiona Ross, Peter, Maree and Anne Daffy with Andrew Cooper, and finishing off the concert with Austral. It was a great night’s entertainment with lots of toe tapping and clapping and a touch of dancing a great night was enjoyed by over 100 patrons.

Sunday morning Dr John Menzies played on Pipes at the Clock Tower, the Rotary Market and the Lakes and Craters band braving the cold to entertain the market go’ers.

There was a full house at the Statue with The Twa Bards honouring the ‘Bard’ with music, songs and stories and a poem from Andrew O’Flynn. This event is a highlight of the festival and our thanks to Corangamite Shire for opening up the Civic centre for folk to come and visit the Statue of Robert Burns.

The Golf Ambrose at the Camperdown Golf Course had 88 competitors enter and play for the Robbie Burns Trophy. This event has continued to grow with keen golfers coming especially to play on our Golf Course.

To complete the festival weekend the ever popular Festival Finale kicked off with the wonderful Warrnambool Pipes and Drums Band filling the theatre with melodic and traditional tunes. Brett Clarke then did a Traditional Welcome to Country and taught the audience a traditional song to celebrate NAIDOC week. Festival Favourites, The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, performed and at the interval the School Children’s Art Prizes were awarded, followed by an Afternoon tea with homemade scones, jam and Cream. The second half of the program featured Maree, Pete and Anne Daffy with Andrew Cooper and to finish off the concert Austral performed. Again this concert had over 150 patrons come to enjoy the festival finale concert.

The Festival could not have happen without the Robert Burns Scottish Festival committee who are all volunteers and their family members and friends of the festival who put up their hands to assist.

Catherine O’Flynn wanted to acknowledge our wonderful supporters “without the financial support of Funding from the Corangamite Shire, The Gwen and Edna Jones Foundation, The Ray & Joyce Uebergang Foundation, The Bendigo Bank, The Hampden Hotel, The Loaf and Lounge, Healthsave Pharmacy, The Little Pharmacy & Shoe Shop and Pharmacy, The Camperdown Mill, Camperdown & District Historical Society, WD News Publications, 3CS and MixxFM, McCann’s Newsagency and Star Printing. A big thank you to the businesses who donated goods for our raffles, George Taylor Stores, Sweet Giftz, Camperdown Showcase Jewellers and Camperdown Post Office. Thank you Laffs for selling our tickets locally. Thank you to  Camperdown Library for their support. Thank you to Tuniversal Music Group Inc. who are our Auspice, enabling the RBSF committee to present the festival.

Catherine O’Flynn
Festival Coordinator