BIG Indy Night In

Poster for the Big Indy Night In

The BIG Indy Night In

The biggest indy festival of 2020.
It was an incredible experience that brought together around 2,000 people in the indy movement. It was a festival of idea, togetherness and joy that will hopefully bring light to the campaign to make Scotland and independent country once again.

12 December 2020

3pm – 10pm

Sorry if you missed the BIG Indy Night In. Don’t worry you can catch up here.

The Line-Up

Elaine C Smith

Someone who needs little introduction, Elaine is a comedian, and political activist. She has starred in the BBC Scotland sitcoms City Lights (1984–89), Rab C. Nesbitt (1988–2014) and Two Doors Down (2016–), for which she won a BAFTA Scotland award. Her stage credits include the original productions of The Steamie (1987) and I Dreamed a Dream (2012). She has actively campaigned for Scottish independence.

Dougie MacLean

Scottish singer-songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Described by AllMusic as “one of Scotland’s premier singer-songwriters”, MacLean has performed under both his own name, and as part of multiple folk bands, since the mid 1970s.

MacLean’s most famous pieces include “The Gael” (1990), which became the main theme to the 1992 film The Last of the Mohicans, and “Caledonia”, from his first album (1978); the latter has been called Scotland’s “unofficial” national anthem.

Eddi Reader

is a Scottish singer-songwriter, known for her work as frontwoman of Fairground Attraction and for an enduring solo career. She is the recipient of three BRIT Awards. In 2003, she showcased the works of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.

Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, known for her works Other Lovers (1993), Trumpet (1998) and Red Dust Road (2011). Kay has won a number of awards, including the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998 and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011.

Since 2016, she has been Scots Makar, the national poet laureate of Scotland. She was appointed as chancellor of the University of Salford in 2015.

Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh

Front people of Deacon Blue, a Scottish pop rock band formed in Glasgow during 1985. The line-up of the band consists of vocalists Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, keyboard player James Prime and drummer Dougie Vipond. The band released their debut album, Raintown, on 1 May 1987 in the United Kingdom and in the United States in February 1988. Their second album, When the World Knows Your Name (1989), topped the UK Albums Chart for two weeks, and included “Real Gone Kid” which became their first top ten single in the UK Singles Chart.

Stuart Cosgrove

Stuart is a Scottish journalist, broadcaster and television executive. As a journalist Cosgrove served on the NME (Media Editor) and The Face during the 1980s, before joining Channel 4 in 1994, serving for eight years as Controller of Arts and Entertainment and then as Head of Programmes (Nations and Regions) until stepping down in 2015. probably best known as the co-host of BBC Radio Scotland’s popular comedy football show Off the Ball which he presents twice a week with Tam Cowan. Stuart’s most recent book is Cassius X.

Kirstin Innes

Innes’s debut novel, Fishnet (2019), won The Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize in 2015 and was praised by The New York Times for its depiction of sex workers as “women with rich inner lives and interests”. Innes has written about how her friendship with the sex workers’ rights activist Laura Lee influenced the novel.

Her second novel, Scabby Queen, was published by 4th Estate in 2020. It was longlisted for the 2020 Gordon Burn Prize.

Alan Bissett

Alan is an author and playwright from Hallglen, an area of Falkirk in Scotland. After the publication of his first two novels, Boyracers and The Incredible Adam Spark, he became known for his different take on Scots dialect writing, evolving a style specific to Falkirk, suffused with popular culture references and socialist politics.

Hue and Cry

Hue and Cry is a Scottish pop duo formed in 1983 in Coatbridge, Scotland, by brothers Pat Kane and Greg Kane. The duo are best known for their 1987 single “Labour of Love”.

A new Hue And Cry album, Hot Wire was released on 19 March 2012 to critical acclaim, and the band played acoustic gigs in support of it. They also appeared on Jools Holland’s BBC Radio 2 show, and played “Shipbuilding” on the Titanic memorial show for Radio 2 receiving praise from Holland as well as Dermot O’Leary and Jeremy Vine. They also appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival in 2012.

Carla J Easton

Carla is a Scottish singer-songwriter from Carluke, Scotland. Easton has been a member of the bands Futuristic Retro Champions and TeenCanteen and currently is the keyboard player for The Vaselines while also pursuing a solo career, first under the name Ette and now under the name Carla J. Easton. Her 2018 album Impossible Stuff was shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award in 2019. Her latest album, Weirdo, was released in August.

Val McDermid

Val is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of novels featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill in a grim sub-genre that McDermid and others have identified as Tartan Noir. In addition to writing novels, McDermid contributes to several British newspapers and often broadcasts on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland. Her novels, in particular the Tony Hill series, are known for their graphic depictions of violence and torture.

Lesley Riddoch

Lesley is a Scottish radio broadcaster, activist and journalist who lives in Fife. During the 1990s, she was a contributing editor of the Sunday Herald and an assistant editor of The Scotsman. Since 2004, she has run her own independent radio and podcast company, Feisty Ltd. In 2006, she was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.

Joseph Malik

In the early 90’s Malik began a career in music where he set up roots in his beloved Leith opening a recording studio with the 1st Scottish based hip hop group Blackanized, who stood against racism in their lyrics and created live performances in Clubs in Edinburgh. They then went on to set up Yush Records which focused on young black artists and the highlights of that movement got the attention of James Lavelle, label boss of Mo Wax records. Mo Wax released ‘Miles Out of Time’ (1994), on the now groundbreaking HEADZ album.

Alex Norton

Alex is a Scottish actor. He is known for his roles as DCI Matt Burke in the STV detective drama series Taggart, Eric Baird in BBC Two sitcom Two Doors Down, DCS Wallace in Extremely Dangerous, Gerard Findlay in Waterloo Road and Eddie in the Renford Rejects. He has also had roles in internationally successful films including Braveheart, Local Hero and Les Misérables.

Sara Sheridan

Sara is a Scottish activist and writer who works in a variety of genres, though predominately in historical fiction. She is the creator of the Mirabelle Bevan. Sheridan’s first book, contemporary commercial fiction, Truth or Dare entered the Sunday Times top 50 when it was published in 1998. It was nominated for the Saltire Prize and was also listed in the Scottish Libraries Top 100 Books. In the successive two years Sheridan wrote two more novels in the same genre, Ma Polinski’s Pockets and The Pleasure Express. During this period, she also co-wrote two short films, Fish Supper starring Lynda Bellingham and The Window Bed, which was nominated for a Sky Movies Max Award in 2001. She was then commissioned by specialist publisher Barrington Stoke to write a novella for reluctant readers, called The Blessed and The Damned.

James Robertson

James is the author of several short story and poetry collections, and has published six novels: The Fanatic, Joseph Knight, The Testament of Gideon Mack, And the Land Lay Still, The Professor of Truth, and To Be Continued…. The Testament of Gideon Mack was long-listed for the 2006 Man Booker Prize. Robertson also runs an independent publishing company called Kettillonia, and is a co-founder (with Matthew Fitt and Susan Rennie) and general editor of the Scots language imprint Itchy Coo (produced by Black & White Publishing), which produces books in Scots for children and young people.

Ruth Wishart

Journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart has won many awards for her columns over the years. She writes mainly about Scottish and UK politics, but also covers American elections, and a diverse range of social issues. Glaswegian born and bred, she currently lives in Argyll.

Mike Small

Mike Small is a freelance writer, journalist, author and publisher. He has written for the Guardian, Sunday Herald, Sunday National, Open Democracy, Variant, Lobster and Z Magazine. He is currently working on a biography of Patrick Geddes and a history of Scotland 1950-2020.

He has edited Bella Caledonia since 2007.

Rick Redbeard

Rick Anthony is a Scottish musician, singer and songwriter originally from Aberdeenshire and now based in Glasgow. He is the lead singer and guitarist in the alternative rock band The Phantom Band and also performs as a solo act and releases music under the pseudonym Rick Redbeard.

Paul Kavanagh

Paul Kavanagh is columnist for The National and blogger who writes and talks about Scottish independence, and the human face of the Wee Ginger Dug. He has been involved in the digital Scottish media since he was one of the founder members of Newsnet Scotland back in 2011.

Apart from the politics of an independent Scotland and the independence movement, he has an abiding interest in Scottish languages, maps, and place names.

Karine Polwart

Karine Polwart is a Scottish singer-songwriter. She writes and performs music with a strong folk and roots feel, her songs dealing with a variety of issues from alcoholism to genocide. She has been most recognised for her solo career, winning three awards at the BBC Folk Awards in 2005, and was previously a member of Malinky and Battlefield Band.

Polwart is currently a member of The Burns Unit, and collaborated with The Fruit Tree Foundation on its debut album, First Edition.

Andrew O’Hagan

Andrew O’Hagan, is a Scottish novelist and non-fiction author. He is also an Editor-at-Large of London Review of Books and Esquire Magazine. O’Hagan is currently the Visiting Professor of Writing at King’s College London.

Three of O’Hagan’s novels have been nominated for the Booker Prize for Fiction. He was selected by the literary magazine Granta for inclusion in their 2003 list of the top 20 young British novelists. 

His novels have been translated into 15 languages. His essays, reports and stories have appeared in London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian and The New Yorker.

Richard Walker

Richard Walker is a Scottish journalist who is editor of the Sunday National. He was editor of the Sunday Herald from 1999–2015 and launched The National in 2014. He was Newsquest’s editor of the year in 2014.

Chris Dolan

Chris Dolan is an award-winning Scottish novelist, poet, and playwright. Dolan has published four novels (Ascension Day, Redlegs, Potter’s Field and Aliyyah), two collections of short stories and two non-fiction books. 

He has had three full-length stage plays produced internationally, with five shorter pieces and four collaborations with Spanish dramatists. He has written over 50 hours of television, and more of radio drama. He has worked in collaboration with visual artists on several pieces of public art, has published poems, broadcasts regularly and writes for Scottish and London newspapers.

Gerry Hassan

Gerry Hassan Scottish writer, commentator and academic. He is currently Senior Research Fellow in contemporary Scottish history at the University of Dundee; previously he has been Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland and a Research Fellow in cultural policy at the University of the West of Scotland, where he completed his doctorate. 

He is an associate for Demos where he led their Scotland 2020 and Glasgow 2020 programmes and OpenDemocracy. He has written widely in the Scottish and UK press, including The Scotsman, The Herald, Holyrood, Sunday Mail, The Guardian and The National (Scotland) on topics and issues related to the United Kingdom, particularly Scotland and Scottish Independence.

Arusa Qureshi

Arusa is an award-winning writer, editor and speaker with a passion for music, diversity and accessibility within arts and culture. Arusa is a Commissioning Editor for Bella Caledonia, and was formerly Editor of The List, the UK events and entertainment publication based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

As a passionate advocate for diversity and accessibility, Arusa is on the board of the Scottish Music Centre, working to support the organisation’s aim to champion the wealth of talent that abounds in Scotland’s musical community and is also on the Scottish Music Industry Association’s new Advisory Group which exists to represent and develop Scotland’s music industry.



What platform are you using?

We are using a platform called Hopin. This is what the SNP recently used for their conference and works really well because it is stable, professional and easy to use. It allows us to lots of things we wouldn’t be able to do on other platforms, such as Zoom.

Do I need to download any software?

Unlike other platforms, you don’t need to download anything. On the day of the event you just have to click on the link you were emailed when you bought a ticket and you can join in the fun.

Will there be any tech support if I don’t manage to log on?

Yes, absolutely. We’ll have someone to help out if you’re not sure how to use Hopin and we’ll be available via email and social media on the day to help out with any queries anyone has.

How do I get a ticket?

You get tickets on Hopin, via our website. It’s a really easy process, just head there and follow the instructions. When you buy a ticket you’ll be emailed a link which will allow you to access the event shortly before it begins.

Can I buy a ticket as a gift for a friend?

Hopin currently doesn’t allow people to buy tickets as gifts, however, if you want to buy a ticket as a present for someone just enter their name and email address and you can pay for the ticket. Excellent Christmas present or secret Santa gift.

Do I have to stay logged on all day?

No! It’s a long day, so you’ll probably need to make your tea or walk the dog. You can dip in and out as you please.

Will there be a programme for the day?

Yes, we’ll publicise this a few days before the event

Will you record the event and make it available online?

Sort of…we will be recording the event and will out some clips up online over the festive period but we’re not going to put the whole thing up online. 

Will I be able to ask questions to panelists?

Yes! We want to make this as interactive as possible. So much of what we do is about making sure everyone gets their opportunity to talk about what’s important to them. As well as there being a Q&A after each panel session there will also be a virtual bar area where you’ll be able to meet up with other people attending the BIG Indy Night In and chat to some of the panellists who have been part of the discussion.

Is everything going to be live?

Most of the event will be live, but we will be pre-recording some of the acts. This is because some people have long standing commitments on that day or, particularly for the musicians, it ensures a better quality of presentation.

If there’s anything else, just email