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UPDATE: Red Hot Highland Fling ticket costs confirmed as £12.50 not £10

By Scott Maclennan

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Thousands attend the 2019-2020 New Year Red Hot Highland Fling. Picture: James MacKenzie.
Thousands attend the 2019-2020 New Year Red Hot Highland Fling. Picture: James MacKenzie.

Ticket prices for this Hogmanay’s Red Hot Highland Fling have been set at £12.50 not £10 as initially thought. It is not clear how many councillors were aware of the true cost as several referred to the £10 figure during the debate.

On Monday, the Inverness committee agreed that there should be an entry fee for the once free event because a £34,069 hole was blown in the events and festivals budget by the Highland Games.

The local authority stated that a projected “ticket price of £10 per person which is subject to an additional 20 per cent VAT + £0.50p booking fee,” which equates to £12.50.

Councillors were informed that the Highland Games at Bught Park were “delivered successfully” but it cost a total of £122,945 to stage but only brought in £88,876 – a loss of £34,069.

That risked the remaining events this year – and led to a plan to charge for the Red Hot Highland Fling ticket as the council wants to make £50,000 with a maximum expected attendance of 5000 people.

The available budget is currently £141,000 but that includes £50,000 of anticipated revenue from ticket sales from the Red Hot Highland Fling which costs £97,000, Bonfire Night costs £36,000 and the Christmas lights switch-on is £8000.

Critics warned against the plan claiming that it could lead to the demise of the event because of the sharp downturn in attendees since Covid as it has gone from a high of 15,000.

Last year’s event was ticketed for the first time and despite being free of charge somewhere between 2500-3000 people attended – an 80 per cent decline – so it remains to be seen how many people will pay £12.50 this year.

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