The trials and tribulations that Open Air in the Square organisers faced for the majority of last year were swiftly put aside when their recent Hogmanay bash proved to be a roaring success and a complete sell out.
More than 5,000 revellers attended the festival which featured open air musical entertainment, a popular fairground and street performers throughout the day.
The event was headlined by the world famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers who heated the crowd up before and after the Bells with a fiery performance. The chilly night was also well and truly on fire as contemporary Scottish indie fiddle band Blazin’ Fiddles took to the stage, alongside many local bands and artists entertaining crowds from near and far.
The traditional Fireball ceremony was shown live to the crowd on large screens whilst a lone piper played through the Bells with cheerful revellers wishing each other a Happy New Year.
The excitement leading up to the event followed by the feeling of accomplishment and the breath of relief sighed on New Years Day left the organisers hungry for more and now, taking into account their experience of the recent celebrations, they are looking ahead and beginning plans for 2013/14.
Organisers, who gained charitable status last year for the event, plan to take more time this year in planning their celebrations with logistical lessons learned from the latest OAITS.
The event, along with the fireballs, boosted community spirit in the town that had been hit by flooding before Christmas and in 2013/14, the community are planning to bring in the new year in even more spectacular style.
Michelle Ward, organiser of the event said: “We are just so delighted with how well the festival went and that’s largely down to the goodwill and enthusiasm shown by local residents and businesses.
“We’d really like to thank everyone in the town for their support and let them know that plans are already in hand for next Hogmanay - if anyone wants, volunteer early to be involved in what proved to be a fantastic family event.”
Open Air in the Square ran over 11 hours throughout the afternoon and evening of December 31. For this year, it was ticketed and licensed for the first time prompting some constructive criticism from some attending about the queue to get a drink at the bar.
Drinks tokens had to be purchased either before or at the event and the size of the bar prompted some criticism about how long it took to get served, meaning many people were left with their tokens that couldn’t be used elsewhere.
However, organisers say this is definitely something that they will be improving on and emphasise that people attending got a lot of entertainment and fairground rides for only spending £5 or £10 on a ticket.
June Ross of Your Event Scotland, who has been invited to help organise this year’s festival, said: “The positive reaction to the event has been overwhelming – and not just locally. We had people attending from all over the world – from Texas, South America and Europe – and we are determined it’s going to be even better next time.”