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

Below you will find details of some of the highlights that you can look forward to enjoying here in Inverness.

Events are being added to our city's events schedule every day and for the latest information 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; and the event organisers who do such a great job in our putting on events in our community.

2014 Major Events Programme
23 Nov Christmas Lights Switch On
28 Nov Halloween Show - Take 2
29 Nov Halloween Show - Take 2
12-14 Dec Winter Wonderland
31 Dec Wee Hot Highland Fling
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

2015 Major Events Programme
18 July Inverness Highland Games
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

Ness Islands will be open for Fireworks Display spectators - see main article below below

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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Our 2014 Christmas Lights Show will be hosted by STV's Nicola McAlly and Santa who will joined by Provost Alex Graham to help this year's Inverness Courier Competition Winner switch on our city's wonderful Christmas lights. The show starts at 5.30pm with the lights being turned on at 6pm.

Following the switch on Santa will then make his way to the Old High Church with the Provost for the traditional Christmas Carol Service Ding Dong Merrily Old High to which everyone is invited.

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

After we regrettably had to postpone our Halloween event at Ness Islands due to flooding we received loads of emails pleading with us not to cancel the show.We were really determined to see if we could turn that disappointing cancellation into a postponement and we are delighted to have been able to do so

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Preview 2014 WINTER WONDERLAND (Dec 12th - 14th)  
The 2014 Winter Wonderland show at Whin Park will take place over the weekend of Friday 12th - Sunday 14th December and another bumper crowd of excited toddlers are expected to dress up warmly to greet Santa Claus and his reindeer.

This year's show will feature a host of cartoon characters and the Highland Council's Lighting Department and Limelights will once again transform the park spectacular illuminations for everyone to enjoy.

Admission is Free
Show Times 6pm - 9pm Friday
4pm - 7pm Saturday and Sunday

These are just some of the great photographs in our gallery from the 2013 show.

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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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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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