Issued by Inverness Festivals Working Group
The 2009 Inverness Winter Festival reaches its climax on Thursday (December 31st) with Scotland’s biggest free Hogmanay concert, “The Red Hot Highland Fling” which will take place in Northern Meeting Park Arena.
With one event to go, the Halloween to Hogmanay festival has entertained over 50,000 so far and it is expected that a further 10,000 plus will be seeing in the New Year in the company of Blazin Fiddles (8pm), Red Hot Chilli Pipers (9.45pm) and Peatbog Fairies (11pm).
The Hogmanay celebrations will start with the traditional Hogmany Ecumenical Service will take place in St Andrew's Cathedral which is one of the most popular traditional events staged in the Winter Festival Calendar. The Service brings together the people of Inverness for an interdenominational service of thanks at the end of each year and is open to all.
This year's Service will take the form of Choral Evensong and the Preacher will be Father James Bell from St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church Inverness.
The gates for Northern Meeting Park Arena will open at 8pm following the conclusion of the Ecumenical Service and the show will start at 8.30pm with Blazin' Fiddles, who have taken the distinct flavour of fiddle music from the various regions of the Highlands and Islands and created something very special indeed open the show.
Topping the bill from the middle, after a change to the original running order in response to numerous from families desperate to give their youngsters the chance to see them perform, are The Red Hot Chilli Pipers who will be on stage at 9.45pm.
The band went down a storm when they performed at the St Andrew’s celebrations in Inverness last year and to celebrate their return an appeal has gone out from the Winter Festival organisers for partygoers to wear something red on the night. It will be interesting to see how many Highlanders own red coats, red scarves or red wigs and will take up the challenge of helping the Winter Festival team paint the town red.
The show will be hosted by Moray Firth Radio’s DJ Ken Kelman with help from Ceilidh Watson and the two hosts will be the first to discover if the rumours of secret training sessions in recent weeks are true and some of the city’s Councillors will be back to dance “The Time Warp” properly at around 10.45pm.
At 11pm, the Peatbog Fairies will then take the stage to bring the Winter Festival to a memorable close and to usher in 2010 which will be greeted with a short fireworks display in Northern Meeting Park as the Cathedral Bells ring out.
The Peatbog Fairies unique sound is created through a mix of programmed effects and traditional celtic arrangements, played on bagpipes, fiddles, and whistles. The band won 'Live Band of the Year 2008' at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards and their performance is certain to create a once in a lifetime experience for one lucky couple in the crowd before the show ends at 12:30.
Honeymooners Ann and Michael DiDonato from the USA are huge fans of the Peatbog Fairies and have followed the Peatbog Fairies online for a number of years hoping that one day that they would play a concert in the greater Philadelphia area. When they discovered that the band were playing in Inverness while they were on their honeymoon in London, they immediately booked flights to the Highlands and to welcome them to the Highlands arrangements have been made for them to be VIP guests of the City of Inverness on the night and to meet the band backstage.
Provost Jimmy Gray said: “The Winter Festival Working Group has delivered a very exciting and imaginative programme over the past 10 weeks and it has been very pleasing to see the Festival growing both in size and popularity and also in terms of the economic benefits that it will bring to Inverness. Our Hogmanay Party looks set to give 2010 a wonderful and most memorable Highland welcome.”