Plans approved for Hogmanay celebrations

Councillors have given permission for the largest Hogmanay celebrtaion north of Edinburgh to take place.

An agreement was made by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee on Tuesday that the Market Square can be used for Open Air in the Square.

There was a significant change in the nature of Open Air in the Square this year as it will be restricted to people who have purchased a ticket, and because organisers will generate an income from a public space, the report had to be brought before the Committee.

All councillors were happy with the progress of the plans for the ambitious event and after nothing went ahead in the Market Square last Hogmanay, they were keen for the organisers to have an event for the people of Stonehaven to welcome 2013 in with.

Councillors were pleased that organisers are putting in hard work to create something positive for the area and are looking forward to the tourism and business which headliners, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, will be likely to bring to the town.

Stonehaven Festival and Events Organisation, who are organising Open Air in the Square, were also granted £4000 from the area’s top up budget to help with costs of the event.

Steve Halt, who was speaking on behalf of Stonehaven Festival and Events Organisation said “The cost of this event is going to be in excess of £200,000, which is of course a lot of money. We’ve got a lot of costs to cover such as health and safety and security. It’ll cost £40,000 for health and safety alone.

“It is an expensive event but we believe it will be a huge success. We’re in talks with hotels and a bus company to prevent people from bringing their cars into the town.”

Councillor Carr questioned whether the large LED screens the Area Committee previously put funding towards would still be used in the Square to show live footage of the fireballs down at the harbour. Mr Halt said the 25ft screen would be situated near the Square with live picture and sound to save congestion at the harbour but let those in the Square see the world famous fireballs.

The organiers have applied to other sources for the majoriy of their funding and hope further sponsorship will come from local hotels and businesses.

There will be entertainment from 2pm on December 31 with the main entertainment at night. Organisers also hope to hold a family fun day on January 1. Almost 2000 tickets have already been sold and Mr Halt said “I think the tickets will all be gone by October”.