Organisers insist the Peterhead Hogmanay Bash will be a safe way to see in the new year, despite the threat of Omicron looming over the festive period.
The street celebration has finally been granted a licence by Aberdeenshire Council, little more than a fortnight before the bells signal the end of 2021.
Buchan Radio has been preparing for the bash for months, with tickets on sale since November.
But last week, station owner Ronnie Arthur was told he would have to provide more information to convince the council it could safely take place.
Following a “stressful” few days, Ronnie has now been told the party is on.
What about Covid concerns?
The confirmation of the Peterhead Hogmanay Bash comes a day after Nicola Sturgeon introduced stricter Covid guidelines to prevent the spread of the more transmissible Omicron variant.
Ronnie is well aware that the rug could still be pulled from his feet at any moment, depending on the fight against the resurgent virus.
But, for now, he is keen to stress how safe the party will be.
He said: “This is an open-air event, so it will be safer than the alternative of sitting in a pub.
“We have checked the space on the street, and we reckon there would be room for more than double the 1,500 limit we have for capacity.
“And we will have lots of safety measures such as sanitising stations near the bar, while doing our best to encourage people to wear face masks.”
Is household mixing a concern at Peterhead Hogmanay Bash?
Ronnie is also considering whether to enforce rules on showing proof of a negative lateral flow test before allowing revellers entry.
On the prospect of groups mixing, against government guidance to only socialise in groups of three households, the organiser is optimistic that attendees will stick to the advice.
He said: “There will be plenty of room for people to remain within their group of friends or family, while sticking to the guidelines.”
What was the hold up about?
The open-air celebration at the foot of Broad Street is to feature Abba and Freddie Mercury tribute acts alongside pipe band performances.
There will also be a bar, catering vans and funfair rides.
Last week, during a virtual council meeting he was told an entertainment licence would only be granted if he could provide assurances there will be enough security on hand, and that a detailed event plan has been drawn up.
An Aberdeenshire Council spokeswoman today said: “Following discussions, we can now confirm that the Buchan Area Committee has agreed to grant a licence to the event organiser.”
‘It’s been stressful’
A relieved Ronnie is hopeful having permission in place will make it easier for the event to return in future years.
He added: “From when we started planning this at the start of July, it has been so stressful getting everything together.
“The council really just needed a wee bit more information, and thankfully now they are satisfied.”
People can buy tickets for the event here.