The Returning

returning squareThe Returning: A spectacular twilight event in the woodlands at Dumfries on 29th and 30th August 2015 featuring 300 singers performing some of the world’s oldest surviving songs and newly written pieces of vocal music.

Singers from all over the UK will gather at twilight at the clearing in Heathhall woodland, Dumfries to create an extraordinary event designed to act as a catalyst for personal and community change for those taking part – participants and audience.

  • Each singer taking part will be invited to use the event as a point of commitment to reducing their carbon footprint: changing something in their lives towards a more sustainable way of living or launching a commitment to eco-activism in their community.
  • Each singer will be expected to travel to the event in a thoughtful way and to offset the carbon generated by their journey.
  • By coming to the event as an audience member it will be assumed that the same commitment to change is being made.
  • A key part of the project will be around generating an understanding of what an event ‘costs’ in terms of carbon.


  • On one level the purpose of the event is to create a spectacle/performance of profound beauty – visual and aural – that will celebrate the rawness, power and beauty of the human voice.
  • On another level the project will explore the paradox of creating an event that celebrates the Environment while contributing – albeit in a small way – to its destruction.
  • As an interested but busy citizen it’s not easy to find out or know exactly what the ‘cost’ of an event is in carbon terms. This project will not only have a monetary budget with income and expenditure but also a carbon budget. This will include carbon estimates of: all travel, power and resources used to create the event.
  • The budget will be widely circulated before the event and participants encouraged to match their carbon expenditure with carbon income by committing to changing something in their carbon dependant lifestyle
  •  Participants will be encouraged to think creatively how they go about this change and a list of those ‘commitments’ will be included as part of the final event. It is hoped that The Carbon Budgeting may act as a model for future projects.

The project will take place on 25th – 31st August 2015 with performances taking place over the weekend of the Environmental Arts Festival Scotland– 28th 30th