BENARTY Events Group fear that future gigs are in jeopardy if Fife Council's plans for Lochore Meadows alter the landscape of the park.

Eddie Easson, chair of the group, said: "BEG looks forward to 2023 and hope to make the years even bigger and better.

"Sadly, the plans of Fife Council for the events field put all the events in jeopardy.

“The Benarty Events Group totally supports the proposed new play area but the planned siting is totally unacceptable.

"We know The Meedies isn’t just about us and the Benarty community it is a tourist attraction.

"But our events are the three biggest events that happen at the Meedies and they are days the Benarty community looks forward to every year.

"We live in a poor area and our group bring things to the community that are free.

"Local businesses get a financial lift when these events are on.

"This year's Rockore could well be the last, the gala will never be the same again, the pipe band and highland games will become a distant memory.

"BEG knows they have support from some our local councillors, and they have been very vocal sadly others are sitting on the fence as usual.

"We invite all the local councillors to come and meet the Benarty Events Group and discuss the future of our events."

The group had a packed 2022, which ended last month with 60 group members taking in Nardone's Academy of Performing Arts' production of Cinderella, and offered plenty of variety.

Eddie said: "A year ago, BEG began putting their events together for the year after the country had become to recover from ravages of the Covid pandemic.

"Like many other organisations throughout the country, BEG have fought to put their events on but with a lot of hard work they slowly began to shake the cobwebs off and got back to what they are great at."

The Companion Club is a mainstay event throughout the year for the group.

They come together every Friday with an average 50 attendees every week.

"The group provide hot food and provide entertainment for their guests. Bingo is enjoyed by all. Regular volunteers are Michael Payne, Margaret and Marie Wilson, without these people this event would be very hard to put on.

“We have a great set of entertainers including singers Bobby Clarke, Tony Martin, James Livingstone and Owen McGuire," said Eddie.

"Thanks goes to these guys but a special thanks goes to the companions who every week come with something to help keep the costs down.”

BEG also welcomed Kids Come First, Sarah Hendry School of Dance, Benarty Primary School choirs, plus many to more who have entertained the companions.

The first major event of the year was in June with the long-awaited Pipe Band Competition.

Eddie said: "This year a lot of Pipe Band Competitions were lost to Covid.

"The Benarty Events Group pulled out all the stops to get their event on.

"Sadly the week before the event they lost four bands who had members with Covid.

"This year's chieftain was Michael Payne who stood in at the last moment for pipe band stalwart Tom Brown who had to go into hospital for major surgery the week before the event. Michael did a fantastic job.

"Normally The Highland Dancing Competition would be held on the same day, again Covid put paid to it.

"Sarah Hendry, the organiser of the competition, managed to pull together a great group of dancers and they put on a fantastic display performance."

Soon after was the main BEG event of the year as the annual gala was held.

Their long parade left the Benarty Centre and made its way to their long-established events field at Lochore Meadows. The parade included pipe bands, classic cars, veteran bikers, scooter clubs, various floats, a brass band and various groups.

At the arena an estimated 9,000 people were present to enjoy an afternoon of fun and games along with various inflatables and show rides. During the day there were performances on the main stage by different artists, there were also displays in the arena and races for all ages.

Benarty Events Group made sure that all primary and nursery children got a free gala ticket; this entitled them to a gala box and wristband. The wristband allowed them on to all rounds free of charge. Gala tickets were also sold to the public at the cost of £3 with a gala box and wristband in the cost.

The group sold more than 3,000 tickets; people came from all over Fife to buy them.

July saw The Companion Club Gala again on the events field at the Meedies.

The group welcomed fifty of our older generation to enjoy their gala box with a cup of tea or coffee. The park provided a golf buggy so the companions could enjoy a trip round the country park. This was a first for many of them, they also enjoyed the Fairy Wood.

August 27 then saw the long-awaited return of Rockore.

Rockore is now recognised as one of Scotland’s best small musical festivals.

This year the headline act was one of Scotland’s most iconic bands: Wet Wet Wet.

Nine other acts supported the Wets including top dance band QFX and rock legend Hugh Cornwell.

The line-up also included local bands Pork Pie, Moonlight Zoo, State of Emergency and Aye Hobos. Tribute bands Magic Queen, Solid Gold Abba and Eagles tribute band Desperadoes.

"A well-behaved crowd of 4,000 people paid £25 to enjoy a great day of eclectic music by some fantastic bands," Eddie said.

"Again, this is recognised as one of the best valued festivals with people coming from the north of England to the north of Scotland to attend.

"As well as fantastic music there is a great assortment of food and drink at attractive prices. There were Greek, Spanish, Indian, pizza high tea and hamburger vendors to satisfy the hungry festival goers.

“Rockore and the community lottery provides BEG with the necessary financial clout to put all our other events on and make a lot of them free.

"Without Rockore it would be a massive struggle.”

Plans are already ongoing for next year’s Rockore with QFX already confirmed. Tickets are on sale and sales have broken all previous records.

"Rockore would not be possible without our army of volunteers who come from far and wide," Eddie added.

It was then time for Christmas.

Eddie remarked: "The Christmas events are always special.

"They start with the group erecting the Christmas lights in the Benarty villages.

"These lights were purchased by the group for our community.

"A massive thank you goes to Jason and Martin for their massive help throughout the year these guys are there in a heartbeat to help with gala bunting and Christmas lights.

"Their cherry picker is a brilliant platform for our professional photographer Derek Johnstone to capture our events for prosperity.

"Santa, his elves and his reindeers were the stars of the Christmas Parade.

"They went through the villages arriving at The Benarty Centre to take his place in his grotto to welcome the children for their gifts.

"Also at the centre there was a fun fayre and stage outside, and inside we had our annual Christmas Fayre. On the stage was the fabulous Little Mix Sound."

Later in December it was panto time as BEG brought Aladdin to The Benarty Centre for the younger children of Benarty and St Kenneth’s primary schools.

All the other primary schools were taken to The Alhambra Theatre to see Beauty and the Beast.

The group managed to make this free for the children.

Reflecting on 2022, Eddie said: "The Benarty Events Group are indebted to their many supporters, volunteers, and sponsors, also to the people who take part in the weekly Community Lottery."