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YOUR VIEWS: £100k subsidy for Red Hot Highland Fling in Inverness criticised

By Gregor White

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More questions have been asked about the viability of Inverness's Red Hot Highland Fling. Picture: James Mackenzie
More questions have been asked about the viability of Inverness's Red Hot Highland Fling. Picture: James Mackenzie

Questions are mounting about whether public money should still be used to finance Inverness’s flagship city Hogmanay event after it still needed a £100,000 subsidy to break even, despite charging entry for the first time. Billed as “the largest ceilidh on the planet,” revellers paid £12.50 each to attend the Red Hot Highland Fling run by Highland Council, but ticket sales fell well short of expectations, leaving the Inverness Common Good Fund to foot the bill.

“It was only four hours of entertainment because one hour was spent in the queue for a drink.” – Ruaridh Arrow

“Yet more public money flushed down the toilet on another council vanity project at a time when vital public services are in crisis. The Common Good Fund needs radical reform and used to provide something that’s useful rather than as a perpetual excuse and a cash cow for various sets of Emperor’s New Clothes and ego trips for usual-suspect councillors. And apart from this Hogmanay show, there’s the £34k loss made by the Highland Games – also covered by that Magic Money Tree which is the Common Good Fund. I had an uneasy feeling when the council grabbed control of the 2023 games from High Life Highland that all would not be well and... surprise surprise. Now we learn that they hope to run this year’s games in a marquee. Good luck with throwing the hammer, folks.” – Charles Bannerman

“The subsidy for the 15,000 folk we entertained for FREE in 2019 was similar but of course the economic impact of that event was considerably more. If you ever wish to work out just how badly they have screwed up, the tool that professional event managers use to calculate the economic impact of their events is provided by Event Scotland and has really helped put an end to the days of folk boasting that their event generated multimillion-pound benefits that nobody was ever able to locate www.eventimpacts.com/Calculator.” – Gerry Reynolds MSc

“Next door in Eden Court the pantomime could cost up to £35 for 2.5 hours entertainment. Surely this should have been £50 a ticket?” – David M Edes

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