Award-winning comedian Jo Caulfield joined dancers, musicians and fellow panto stars against the sparkling festive backdrop of George Square yesterday to encourage Scots to ‘bring in the bells’ in style and with a smile in Glasgow.
Kitted out in colourful costume and party hats, the stars of the city’s New Year line-up were celebrating what promises to be Glasgow’s biggest and best Hogmanay yet.
From pantomimes and pipers, ceilidhs and comedy to dining and dancing, Scotland’s largest city is set to welcome families and revellers from far and wide to see out 2012 with a bang! Expected to drive thousands of visitors into the city’s restaurants, venues, clubs and bars, Hogmanay is a crucial date for Glasgow’s leisure and hospitality industry.
This year comedy takes centre stage. Locals and visitors can laugh their way into 2013 as Jo Caulfield, known for appearances on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You makes a special appearance at The Stand for her critically acclaimed stand up, Thinking Bad Thoughts.
Jo Caulfield is looking forward to celebrating in Glasgow this year. She said: "You have to go to Glasgow for Hogmanay. You will have an amazing night. Glaswegians are known for their humour and hospitality - one thing’s for sure, it won't be a night you'll forget. Laugh, drink and be merry!"
And if panto gets you giggling, the city will also play host to a variety of festive performances including; Jack and the Beanstalk featuring John Barrowman and the Krankies at the SECC, The Wizard That Never Woz featuring Michelle McManus and Clyde 1 personality Sheban and a Tim Burton inspired take on Sleeping Beauty at the Citizen’s Theatre to name a few.
Lucy Hollis, Sleeping Beauty in the Citizen’s Theatre production, said: “I’ve been loving every minute playing Sleeping Beauty at the Citz: it’s such a fantastic show with a brilliant cast who are loving telling our story of fairy tale misfits and gruesome ogres. Christmas shows at the Citizens are always a bit different and audiences know that they’ll have a great night out at the theatre when they come to see us. We’ll have performances right through the Hogmanay period until 6 January, so the fun will be continuing well into the New Year.”
Glasgow’s seasonal entertainment programme and unrivalled retail, dining and nightlife offering is brought together under one banner – Glasgow Loves Hogmanay – the city’s annual campaign, spearheaded by Glasgow City Council, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau and Glasgow Life.
In a first for this year, Glasgow Loves Hogmanay runs right through until 6th January 2013 – four days longer than in previous years. The Magical Entertainment Marquee will be programmed every night of Glasgow Loves Hogmanay (excluding 1 January) and is free for all the family to enjoy. Highlights include comedy, new music, festive films, choirs and big band concerts.
Glasgow’s festive hub George Square will also host a day-long celebration of FREE family-friendly fun, ‘Hogmanayday!’, with activities including themed crafts, highland dancing, ceilidh bands, storytelling and traditional Scottish food and drink. From 12noon until 10pm revelers can get into the party spirit, ceilidh dancing to spectacular live Scottish music from Williamwood Pipe Band, Oban ensemble Skippinish and drum and pipe band Drums and Roses. No ticket is required for entry to George Square.
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Scotland is renowned the world over for celebrating Hogmanay in style and as the country's biggest city we are preparing for Hogmanayday! - a sensational way to see out 2012. Young and old alike can enjoy superb music, ceilidh dancing, a range of family friendly activities and the ever popular ice rink. Hogmanayday! will be a great way to celebrate during the day while the city's bars, restaurants, clubs and entertainment venues will take late night revellers through into 2013. But the fun doesn't stop there. We've got plenty of other entertainment on offer in the Glasgow Loves Hogmanay schedule, which runs until 6th January. Come and join us."
With the midnight moment getting closer Glasgow’s venues, restaurants, bars and clubs are all making last minute preparations, with the city’s visitor numbers expected to peak 11.2 million over the New Year period.
For partygoers who want to take Hogmanay celebrations into the wee small hours there are a host of gigs and club nights to choose from. The CBXperience will return to the Arches while King Tuts Wah Wah Hut will see Oasis tribute band Stop the Clocks play the band’s much-loved back catalogue. World renowned Chicane will also be playing a unique live set at 02 Academy.
Jen Fisher, marketing manager at CPL Entertainment Group said: “Glasgow is a vibrant city at the best of times but over the festive period it really shines. At the Tunnel we have Ricky Whittle from Hollyoaks and Strictly Come Dancing hosting the Hogmanay Party, The Cathouse are running a countdown to 2013 with a massive prize giveaway on the night and the Garage will be celebrating in style with a Glitz and Glam Hogmanay party where customers are encouraged to dress up in their finery for a night of dancing. At the bells we like to keep it traditional with the Big Screen countdown and a live piper to ring in the bells in true Scottish style! Slainte Mhath (To Your Health!).”
Ryan James, chairman of the Glasgow Restaurant Association commented: “Glasgow’s restaurants are gearing up for the busiest Hogmanay ever. Where else would be better to bring the bells in than one of the restaurants around George Square and the style mile or the merchant city. The west end and the south side both will be buzzing with their own festivities. It's Scotland's biggest night of the year and there is no where better to celebrate it than in Glasgow where our service is with style.”
Duncan Johnston, former chairperson of the Glasgow Hotels Association and General Manager at Carlton George Hotel, said: “Hogmanay is a really exciting time in Glasgow, thanks to a diverse shopping, eating and drinking offering and a vibrant range of festive entertainment. Within the Carlton George Hotel and Windows Restaurant, we’ve seen visitors making reservations earlier than ever before to avoid missing their chance to celebrate Hogmanay in Glasgow and in style. Across the board hotels have been busy taking much earlier bookings than previous years with occupancy rates already at 70% of capacity. Hogmanay is a crucial time for Glasgow’s hospitality industry and it’s encouraging to see rooms across the city filling up fast.”