New Year’s Concert Raises Money for Children with Cancer

By Adrienne Jones for Eventgroove

Throwing a raucous New Year’s Eve bash is fun in its own right, but organisers of Ayr, Scotland’s annual Jam at the Dam concert series know that raising funds for charity while you celebrate is even better. Their second Hogmanay Hootenanny in December raised £1,500 for the CLIC Sargent Malcolm Sargent House.

CLIC Sargent, formed in 2005, gives financial, clinical, practical, and emotional support to children with cancer and their families “to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life.” They offer grants and benefits information, campaign to raise awareness, provide accommodation for families near specialist hospitals, and offer free holidays to patients and their families.

The Malcolm Sargent House, on Ayrshire’s coast, is available for holidays during and after a child’s treatment and breaks on weekends or during the low season. Accommodations and meals are free and medical support is nearby at all times. The facility also provides indoor and outdoor activities which can be tailored to the needs of each individual.

Hogmanay is considered “a uniquely Scottish celebration” with roots in the ancient Norse festival of Yule. After the Reformation in Middle Ages Scotland, Christmas festivities were discouraged, meaning gift-giving and other traditions were moved to New Year’s Eve.

Such traditions include the lighting of fires to ward off evil spirits, and “first footing,” which says the first visitor of the New Year should be a “tall, dark and handsome stranger” who brings a gift of coal for good luck. It’s believed that dark hair is a requirement because seeing a blonde male meant Vikings were invading.

Entertainment for the event was provided by Shaky And The Moneymakers, Electric Warrior, The Peas, and a Francie and Josie comedy tribute act. Organiser Brian McKinlay says they were looking to “raise money for charity, promote local talent, and bring some life back into Ayr. It’s a sad reflection of how the town used to be, so an event like this was welcomed by the long-suffering public.”

Word of mouth, social networking, Internet ads, fliers, posters, banners, and professionally printed tickets helped them get notice for the event. McKinlay says putting together a concert of this size was made “tough by dealing with the city council and government red tape.” He thinks any event-planners will have an easier time, and a high likelihood of pulling off a wonderful event if they “get as many people involved as possible!”

How have you dealt with permits and other government red tape when planning your events?