Mysterious Scone of Destiny to appear at Big Lit Festival

Doin' the dance
Doin' the dance

Preparations are underway to welcome the Women’s Guild of Master Bakers to the Big Lit Book Festival where they will perform a ritual dance to honour the mystical Scone of Destiny.

The ladies, resplendent in traditional costumes representing butter, flour, sugar or sultanas, will carry the giant scone through the streets of Gatehouse of Fleet and tell tales of its origins back in 1739.

The free outdoor performance is brought to Gatehouse of Fleet by the wonderful Mischief La Bas who pride themselves on “gently warping the underlay of the fabric of society”.

With her tongue planted firmly in her cheek, Mischief La Bas director Angie Dight said: “In the light of the recent cupcake fad, I’m so delighted the ladies will be there to champion traditional Scottish baking. The Scone of Destiny is a symbol of hope in a time of uncertainty.”

It takes place on Saturday April 18, 12.15pm-1.15pm in the main car park as part of the four-day festival which runs from April 16-19 and includes everything from book and poetry readings to workshops, music, performance and installation art.

Chrys Salt MBE, Big Lit festival organiser and Artistic Director of the Bakehouse, said: “We are preparing a fabulous family-friendly weekend in one of the prettiest towns in Dumfries and Galloway. It will be a great place to come and have fun with some really unusual events.

“The Scone of Destiny is joyfully bizarre and I’m sure visitors will love to watch the ladies of the guild dressed up in colourful costumes and parading with a huge Scone on their shoulders.

“We will also be holding another costumed event which will give children the chance to meet some of their favourite fictional characters as part of our Wee Folks Woodland Adventure.”

This takes place on Friday, 17 April in the delightful Cally Woods and is sponsored by the Hollywood Trust and Gatehouse YMCA drop-in centre. Also that day there is Memoir in a Jar, an activity for all ages, which is all about people telling their own life stories.

The following day sees the Daydream Believers picture book creation workshop for children aged three to 12 led by storyteller Susi Woodmass and illustrator Ruthie Redden.

Chrys added: “We really want to inspire children to love books and stories. Big Lit aims to fire young imaginations and pass on the love of reading – which can be one of life’s greatest sources of fulfilment and happiness.

“We also believe that literature, poetry and performance are there to be shared. They are things which cross the generations and that children, parents and grandparents can all enjoy together.”

During Big Lit there will also be the chance to meet Terry Darlington, whose Narrow Dog books enchanted the world – selling more than 250,000 copies.

And audiences can enjoy the lyrical delights of Rally and Broad’s marvellous spoken word cabaret with its melange of music, spraffing, spikiness and other assorted nonsense.

Other attractions include:

Ladies who Launch – Elspeth Brown and Vivien Jones launch new poetry collections

Candlelit readings in The Temple, a Georgian folly deep in the forest with Liz Niven

A typically crazy Bill Barlow interactive art installation in The Bakehouse Studio

And you can rub shoulders with everyone from Leonard Cohen to Ivor Cutler in the Murray Arms with one of Galloway’s longest-standing pub sessions.

And as if that wasn’t enough there will also be a Big Lit Mill Session with Gerda Stevenson (nominated Scots Singer of the Year, MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards, 2014) with her new album Night Touches Day. She will be accompanied by Norwegian musician Kyrre Slind, on lute, sitar, guitar and mandolin.

Plus the poems of Hugh MacDairmid will be set to music and sung by popular composer/singer/songwriter Nicola Black.

Lots of the events are free while many others are as cheap as chips. See for further details and ticket information.