Looking ahead - Diary Dates 
Welcome to the Inverness Festivals News Page

After one of the most amazing years anyone can remember we are now focused on our Hogmanay celebrations and looking forward to 2015!

Please visit our Events Listings Page where you will find the latest details in our What's On Section which is edited and updated every day by our friends at the Inverness City Advertiser.

2014 Major Events Programme

31 Dec Wee Hot Highland Fling
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

Major Events Programme
9 May Inverness Classic Vehicle Show
18 July Inverness Highland Games
31 July - 7 August World Orienteering Championships
5-7 Sep Highland Military Tattoo
13 Sep Kirking of the Council
30-31 Oct Halloween Show
5 Nov Civic Bonfire and Fireworks
11 Nov Remembrance Day 11am Ceremony
22 Nov Christmas Lights Switch On
11-13 Dec Winter Wonderland
31 Dec Wee Hot Highland Fling
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

For further information please contact:
The Inverness Festivals Team
c/o Gerry Reynolds (Inverness Events Manager) 01463 785006
Email: gerry.reynolds@highland.gov.uk

NEWFLASH - Have a look at this wonderful video which has been produced by the City Marketing Group. Nice job folks - we love it!

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Preview Hogmanay Show - The Red Hot Highland Fling (31 Dec) 
Judging by the feedback that we have received so far the line up for our 2014 Hogmanay celebrations look like being one of the most popular yet!

The hottest event in the Highlands returns with an explosive line-up, guaranteed to keep crowds fired up through the full five hours of festive fun.

Thanks to funding from the Inverness Common Good Fund and Scotland’s Winter Festivals, Inverness is gearing up to welcome locals, expats and visitors from around the world to its Red Hot Highland Fling; and once again we can expect cheeky banter and riotous dance routines from kilted comedian Craig Hill – back in the Highlands for the fourth year to make merry as your host.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers are also returning to the Highland to headline the show with special guests Mànran and the Julie Fowlis Band making their debuts and guaranteeing a line-up that promises to reel in the crowds with more than 10,000 folk expected to party their way into 2015.

At midnight all eyes will turn in the direction of the Cathedral for a fantastic firework display. The award-winning Fireworx Scotland are planning another jaw-dropping display to welcome in the New Year, before the Chillis return to lead the crowd in the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” before delivering what is sure to be a footstomping finale.

Our Gates open at 8am and entry is free. Refreshments are available on site – but partygoers are reminded that they are not allowed to bring alcohol into the Arena.

Disabled Parking is located at the front of the Highland Council HQ on Glenurquhart Road.


Last Hogmanay Red Hot Chilli Pipers drummer Steven Stav Black, proposed to his girlfriend Hellen Bergmann live on the Inverness stage. She said ‘yes’.
That was just the start of a year full of memorable moments for the band.
Spokesman Douglas Gillespie said: “We just can’t believe how amazing it’s been: sell out tour of the USA; headlining some of the major festivals in Europe including the world’s biggest heavy metal festival in Germany; main stage at T in the Park; BBC Proms in the Perk with Katherine Jenkins; The Ryder Cup Opening Ceremony at Gleneagles, and the amazing Ryder Cup Gala Concert at the SECC Hydro with Nile Rodgers – one of our all-time favourites!
“However, the biggest thing was a little spot we did on Nick Grimshaw’s breakfast show on Radio One. We arranged Avici’s ‘Wake Me Up’ for the bagpipes and played it on the show. Within two weeks it had an amazing 2 million hits on YouTube. Unbelievable.
“You can be sure we will be rocking the Ness with that on Hogmanay!”
Douglas revealed that the band is aiming to turning up the heat at the Red Hot Highland Fling. “The Inverness Hogmanay Show is the very coldest and the very warmest gig we have ever performed at. It’s always freezing cold and sometimes we have trouble with our frozen fingers trying to play the correct notes. But – tell you what – there isn’t a warmer reception for us anywhere in the world.
“The people of Inverness know how to party! It’s the biggest free concert on Hogmanay anywhere in the country and we couldn’t be happier to be bringing the Chilli heat to this amazing audience once again.”


It’s been a busy year for Gaelic folk singer Julie Fowlis. She released her fourth studio album ‘Gach Sgeul/Every Story’ at a sold out show at the Fruitmarket in Glasgow at Celtic Connections. And then sang live at the Opening Ceremony of the XX Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
“They will remain in my memory as really special nights of 2014,” she said. “It’s also been really fun to record and collaborate with other musicians and singers this year, including Nicola Benedetti, Aled Jones and Paul McGeechan from ‘Love and Money’, and most especially being part of the Transatlantic Sessions once again – that is a really special project.”
With a tour of the states in October and a concert in Spain in November, Julie is looking forward to returning home to Dingwall and husband Éamon Doorley, (also a musician) and their two young daughters for Christmas.
Performing for the first time on the Hogmanay stage, Julie Fowlis and Band will be helping to bring in the New Year – Highland style, with a mix of Gaelic songs, great tunes and a bit of banter.
Julie revealed: “Hogmanay is usually spent either performing or with my family. Whatever happens on the 31st December, we are always home with my parents for January 1st – it’s a real big tradition in our family. Even when we were younger it was always on the agenda to get home in time for the big New Year’s Day steak pie dinner!”


Mànran is / ARE (PLURAL) taking the world by storm. In 2014, the band was awarded International Artist of the Year at the Australian Celtic Music Awards in Melbourne. They also played their first full tour in England in spring, toured the USA for the third time back in August, played a few cracking festivals in Germany and, of course, played in Inverness in September as part of the Blas Festival.
The band has spent the last four Hogmanays performing on BBC Alba’s "Cèilidh na Bliadhn’ Ùire” programme in a range of locations from South Uist to Glasgow.
Fiddler Ewen Henderson from Fort William said: “It’ll be a shock to the system performing outside this year after four years of welcoming the New Year in a cosy studio!
“We always spend the Christmas and New Year period playing around the Highlands and Islands, and this year will be no different. With so much of our music having its roots in the Highlands, it’s always a real pleasure for us to play in front of Highland audience. We’re delighted to able to stop-off for a Highland Fling on our way.
“We’ll be bringing our usual blend of high-energy, foot-stomping tunes and songs to get everyone in the party spirit as well as some of our more relaxed, poignant pieces of music. It’s always important to us to have that mix in our performances but especially at New Year time when people can find themselves - often in the midst of a full-blown cèilidh - reflecting on the year just past and considering the year ahead.
“On the night itself, we’ll be looking forward to bringing in the New Year in front of a massive, lively crowd as part of a great line-up of music.”
The band has one very special resolution for 2015 - to release a new album. “If we keep our resolutions down to one then we’ll hopefully not break any!”

Approximately 10,000 folk were expected to head to Northern Meeting Park Arena for the show which will see host CRAIG HILL introduce THE RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS with special guests MANRAN and THE JULIE FOWLIS BAND.

Inverness is a city with a big heart with many folk volunteering their time to help others. High on our list of favourites are the Inverness Street Pastors and we are delighted that they will be joining our team at Hogmanay.
For those who don't know our Street Pastors are trained volunteers from local churches who care about our community. They engage with people on the streets to care, to listen, and to provide help and assistance and we cannot begin to tell you how appreciated they are by those who really need their help. They will be providing additional patrols during the entire winter festival period in Inverness and they really do deserve a smile and a thumbs up if you see them in action.

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Review: 2014 WINTER WONDERLAND (Dec 12th - 14th)  
The 2014 Winter Wonderland show at Whin Park took place over the weekend of Friday 12th - Sunday 14th December attracted huge crowds estimated to be in the region of 10,000 plus.

The show will featured a host of cartoon characters and the Highland Council's Lighting Department and Limelight Event Services transformed the park with spectacular illuminations for everyone to enjoy.

New for this year's show were free bounces on our Inflateable City and the chance for youngsters to try our Walk on Water Balls which were a huge hit and look set to become a regular part of future Wonderlands.

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Review - 2014 Halloween Show TAKE 2 (28-29 November) 

“Better late than weather…”

Following the Halloween Weekend postponement due to flooding; any concerns about staging the show weeks later quickly vanished as hundreds of spectators arrived long before the gates opened for this year's show.

The show has a distinctly Scottish Theme; with a number of famous Ghosts returning to Inverness for their very own Homecoming Unhappy Hour at Burke and Hare’s Tavern. Amongst the Ghosts who delighted the estimated crowd of 10,000 were Robert the Bruce and his Spider; Mary Queen of Scots, Bonny Prince Charlie, Tam O’ Shanter, Rabbie Burns and Alexander "Sawney" Bean who was still clearly upset as a result of being executed due to a misunderstanding involving the mass murder and cannibalisation of over 1,000 people.

Bringing all the Ghosts to life were over 100 performers from the Eden Court CREATIVE programme and the creative talents of Arts in Motion, Limelights and the Highland Council’s Lighting Department.

The Chair of the Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group Councillor Glynis Sinclair said “ After months of rehearsals we were really excited about finally being able to stage this show and we are delighted that so many folk turned up".

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Our 2014 Christmas Lights Show was hosted by STV's Nicola McAlley who was joined on stage by Star Wars characters, Minions, Minnie Mouse, a Ninja Turtle, and some wonderful young members of TFX Performing Arts Academy, Stagecoach Theatre Arts and Performers UK who sang their hearts out to the delight of the crowd. After climbing down the front of the Town House with a little help from Arts in Motion; Santa emerged to rousing cheers to help Provost Alex Graham lead the countdown before 7 year old Owen Strachan of Hilton pressed the button to bring the dazzling display of Christmas Lights in Inverness to life.

Following the switch on Santa will then made his way to the Old High Church with the Provost for the traditional Christmas Carol Service Ding Dong Merrily Old High which featured a show by Out of the Box Puppets. The Countdown to Christmas 2014 could not have gotten off to a finer start.

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Many thanks to everybody who attended November 5th's amazing celebrations which attracted an estimated 12,000 spectators to Bught Park.

The feedback that we have received has been amazing and special mention must go to all the drivers who helped us by parking well away from the site and walking to the event.


We are pleased to announce details of the winners of the two competitions which were organised in partnership with event sponsors Fergusson Coal.
The magnificent Guy made by pupils Aiden, Sarah, Leanne, Korrin, Cerys and Liam of Balloch Primary School was selected by Provost Alex Graham as the winner of the 2014 Inverness Primary School Guy Making Competition; and thanks to their efforts their school will receive a donation of £200 towards school funds and be given the honour of creating the giant Guy which will sit on top of the bonfire at the Council’s 2015 show.

Also guaranteed to be warm in the months ahead will be Winnie Maclellan of Ballifeary Road in Inverness who won the competition to win one tonne of coal by correctly providing Guy’s surname of Fawkes.

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