Published: 28/12/2015 10:25 - Updated: 30/12/2015 10:41

Inverness looks ahead to Scotland's biggest free Hogmanay party

Comedian Craig Hill returns to MC duties at this year's event.
Comedian Craig Hill returns to MC duties at this year's event.

A BUMPER crowd is expected to gather in the Northern Meeting Park Arena in Inverness on Thursday December 31 to welcome the arrival of 2016 as the Inverness Winter Festival reaches its climax with Scotland’s biggest free Hogmanay Party, the Red Hot Highland Fling.

Funded by the Inverness Common Good Fund, the Highland Council event will be hosted by kilted comedian Craig Hill who returns to the Highlands determined to generate more singing and dancing than ever before in what he has been describing as "Scotland’s premier car park" to audiences all around the world as part of his one man show.

Opening the show will be Scottish folk band Breabach, former winners of the Scottish Folk Band of the Year and Live Band of the Year awards.

They will be followed by Celtic supergroup Capercaille, led by the accordion and keyboards of band founder Donald Shaw and the vocals of his wife Karen Matheson.

The band have sold over a million albums world-wide. These include three silver and one gold album in the UK, the first Gaelic Top 40 single, appearing in the Hollywood movie Rob Roy, and performing in over 30 countries including Iraq, Macedonia and the Sudan.

Bringing the show and 2015 to an end will be Skerryvore who will be a making a return to the Red Hot Highland Fling.

Following a short pause at midnight for the traditional fireworks display and singing of Auld Lang Syne, Skerryvore will continue their set into the start of 2016.

"The Red Hot Highland Fling provides the perfect climax to our annual festivals programme and everybody is invited to come and experience this wonderful free show," Glynis Sinclair, who chairs Highland Council’s Inverness events and festivals working group, commented.

"2015 has been an amazing year and I would like to thank my fellow councillors and all the stakeholders who have contributed so much and helped us provide our community with some unforgettable experiences."

Chief Inspector Iain MacLelland, Police Scotland’s event commander said officers would work with stewards and other partners to keep people safe.

"This is a family event and our advice is to drink alcohol responsibly, stay together with your family and friends and ensure close supervision of children at all times," he added.

"Over the festive period people may consume more alcohol than usual and in doing so can become vulnerable to accident or crime.

"We would ask those attending the event to plan in advance how you’re getting home later in the evening. Drivers have to be especially mindful of the potential effects of still having alcohol in your system the next morning. Together with the organisers we will be posting messages with information about the event on social media and additional information on personal safety is available on the Police Scotland website.

"Our message to everyone is enjoy what should be a great night, stay safe and look for out each other."

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