Inverness’ hugely popular Red Hot Highland Fling is set to make a comeback this Hogmanay for the first time since the pandemic.
Multi-award winning Scottish supergroup Mànran have been slated as a possible headliner for the event – usually staged at the Northern Meeting Park – but members of the Highland Council’s Events and Festivals Task Force for the town have were “invited to use all possible contacts to suggest further action”.
The task force discussed upcoming events, including plans for Halloween, Bonfire Night, and the holiday season — some events that were happening before likely won’t be returning this year.
High Life Highland organizes these public events on behalf of the council, but the task force oversees the activities due to the Inverness Common Good Fund investing money in them.
It seems likely that the Christmas event at Bellfield Park held for most of December last year will not take place again. The annual Christmas lights switching on in November is also unlikely to occur.
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In their deliberations, the group made it clear that there was “insufficient budget to hold all the events” and “undoubtedly reducing the winter festival program would have an impact”.
However, they were aware that “it was important to manage expectations if events were reduced” and wanted to examine the possibility “that certain events, in particular the Red Hot Highland Fling, could attract brewery sponsorship”.
They also noted that the budget for events and festivals had been unchanged for years and that it was “important to bear in mind the considerable impact that the Covid pandemic had had on this sector, which was only beginning to recover. “.
And while there was praise for much of the programme, including the Bellfield Park event – noting how the events had generated revenue for the town through visitors and the provision of entertainment – all events could not be preserved.
For Christmas at Bellfield Park, the minutes read: ‘This event, in 2021, had resulted in a great deal of secondary spending in Inverness and proved particularly popular when Covid restrictions were in place, attracting visitors from Inverness and from around. However, now that the Covid restrictions had been lifted, it was possible that the numbers would drop. »
Halloween at the Botanic Gardens will return after its first Bootanics race last year was hailed a success – despite the weather marred by rain – and it will explore the possibility of collaborating with Monsterfest which is taking place at Eden Court at the same time. Civic Halloween events were previously held at the Ness Isles, but this location has been described as much safer.
The Nov. 5 event is set to return to Bught Park after a fireworks-only event was staged at Northern Meeting Park last year. It was asked if a bonfire was necessary for environmental reasons, but the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it would reduce the number of unattended fires elsewhere.
A spokesperson for High Life Highland said: ‘High Life Highland is the managing agent for the City of Inverness Regional Committee for Events in Inverness, delivering on behalf of the Inverness Events and Festivals Task Force. ‘Inverness and financially supported by the Inverness Common Good Fund.
“The next winter entertainment program was decided by the members of the entertainment and festivals working group. High Life Highland will work to support the delivery of the group’s winter program to residents and visitors to the town.
The group also discussed the first Inverness Highland Games since 2019, which took place at Bught Park in July. It was hailed as a success, attracting over 7,000 people and generating ticket revenue of £55,000.