Hogmanay: Great nights from Town Square to rugby club

In this the last week of the year I am generally preparing for the great Hogmanay celebrations prompting some great memories of times gone past.

Tuesday, 28th December 2021, 10:45 am

Who can forget the huge marquee in Kirkcaldy Town Square with a licenced bar, rows of filled tables and The Columbos playing live on stage?

Our wee community radio was broadcasting live to the world too and that was an experimental first for us and successful enough to prompt a tweet from New Zealand who must have been sunny and daytime down there and not in the minds of damp, cold Fifers dancing to keep warm.

I should have been forming a DJ set together for a community hall party just as I did successfully in 2019 but this year as it was in 2020 has been all cancelled as we comply with Covid-19 regulations.

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Hogmanay - how we used to celebrate (Pic: John Murray)

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My early days in disco would see hotels and function rooms trying to finish early or as close to the bells as possible to allow staff and punters a chance to ‘first foot’ on their way home. Little chance of that this year again.

Attracted by better fees ,playing in community halls became the norm and I had several years at Auchtertool Village Hall which sold out very quickly.

The ladies of the village would provide stovies which makes a great absorbent and with no bar it was BYOB, and they certainly did.

A packed venue for Hogmanay (Pic: John Murray)

When I was working for Elmwood College and writing for the Fife Herald, I was poached to play Craigrothie Village Hall on the Ceres Road, and this was due to some great parties we hosted in Cupar Rugby Club.

Well for the first-year folks were reserving seats very early on as it was totally sold-out weeks before and we were only booked to start at 10pm.

I asked the organisers ‘how long is it on for’ and he replied that we would ‘get away soon after the bells as long as we played Auld lang Syne’.

I took that as a challenge and played a big ceilidh set after midnight then some well known dance floor anthems that always seem to work.

Then came the stovies and that gave them second wind and a bunch of requests, all predictable like Summer Of ’69, 500 Miles, Real Gone Kid and so on.

As the clock neared 4:00am I feared we had to stop – I had to get home for sleep and prepare for the next gig which was the family day from noon at Cupar Rugby Club.

The dances could easily have run back-to-back as no one wanted to leave and I was immediately booked for the following year.

Memories like these show how tragic circumstances have become this year again.

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