THE haunting sound of bagpipes will prepare Camperdown for a weekend of highland tartan and haggis as the town celebrates its inaugural Robert Burns Scottish Festival.
Official events will get underway on Friday evening as members of the Robert Burns Association of the Pacific Rim are welcomed to a civic reception at the Corangamite Shire civic centre.
Entertainment will begin that night at the Theatre Royal. Renowned Scottish singer John McAuslan and his band, the Festival Fiddle Ensemble, Fiona Ross and Ken Maher and the Warrnambool and District Pipes and Drums will all perform during the Deer Stalkers Ball.
The town’s clocktower is the focal point of celebrations on Saturday and Sunday with a bagpiper to start each day’s activities by performing from atop the historic structure.
A range of events including markets, tours, competitions, concerts, music workshops, lectures and children’s sessions have been scheduled in central venues, with a major concert at the Theatre Royal capping off the festival on Sunday afternoon.
A Scottish expert on Robert Burns, Len Murray, will be a special guest at the festival which marks the restoration of the world’s oldest-known statue of the bard on display in the Camperdown civic centre.
He will arrive in Camperdown tomorrow with Australian historian Gordon Ashley after they flew out from Scotland at the weekend.
Mr Murray, a retired criminal lawyer, told his local newspaper, the Milngavie Herald, he was looking forward to the visit.
“I have already spoken on Burns on four continents but have not spoken on Burns in Australasia,” he said.
Corangamite Shire community relations manager Glen Bernoth said the town’s main accommodation providers were almost fully booked out for the weekend.
He said it was pleasing that the traditional Sunday afternoon concert, now in its third year, remained a drawcard despite the large number of other events on offer.