A north-east pipe band claims it has been left out in the cold by one of the region’s most popular winter events.
Stonehaven Pipe Band has been a feature of the town’s wildly popular Fireballs parade on Hogmanay for decades.
However this year the organisers behind the display, which brings in visitors from across the world, have decided not to book the band.
In recent years the town’s pipers have played the latter stages of the night while Newtonhill Pipe Band has performed for the crowds who gather earlier on.
This year, however, the organisers have decided to pick one band and the local group is unavailable before 11pm.
A spokesman for the pipe band said: “This decision has been made by the fireballs association committee who feel that the band are not committing enough time at this event. The band has always entertained the crowds from around 11pm onwards allowing other acts to warm up the crowd before our appearance.
“The band do their utmost to keep the crowds entertained, but also play at other commitments in Stonehaven on the night meaning we need to schedule our evening accordingly.
“One such event being at the Station Hotel who have steadfastly stood by the band and provided us with a venue in which to practice throughout the year. Without this the band would not be able to continue.”
But the Stonehaven Fireballs Association claims the decision was taken to have just one band play for practical reasons and the town’s group was unable to fulfil the requirments.
Ross Milne said: “We do wish they had the capacity to help us, it’s a Stonehaven event so we are all of the opinion it should be the Stonehaven Pipe Band but they were not prepared to be flexible.
“I don’t want to be negative, there’s no ill will from us, it’s important for us to work together for the future of the town.
“It’s just impractical to have two bands play one after the other, Newtonhill were prepared to play for as long as we needed them to.”
Thousands of people will line the high street on December 31 to watch as participants swing flaming balls over their head, beginning when the town hall chimes ring out signalling midnight and the start of the new year.