Council bosses spent nearly £100,000 on Christmas lights acts including Slade, Professor Green and Basil Brush, The Courier can reveal.
More than 110,000 people flocked to Perth city centre for its biggest ever seasonal bash, according to a new study.
The event in November, which was the centrepiece of the city’s Winter Festival, helped pump around £1.6 million into the local economy.
The costs of Perth and Kinross Council’s annual party have been revealed in an financial assessment by consultants Bellerby Economics.
The total cost of the event was £216,461 – a 25% rise from last year’s tally of £161,000.
This includes nearly £60,000 on staging and infrastructure and nearly £30,000 of marketing.
The local authority spent almost twice as much on musical acts this year than in 2015 when 80s icon Billy Ocean and pop band Lawson entertained the crowds.
Unlike previous years, the council has not provided a breakdown list detailing all fees paid to each act.
There were about 40,000 people on Tay Street at the time of the switch-on, which is about 10,000 more than attended last year.
However, a sample of the crowd – some 387 people – suggested their individual spend was lower per head.
John Kellas, convener of the council’s enterprise and infrastructure committee, praised the event: “The atmosphere in Perth City during the Christmas Lights switch-on day this year had to be experienced to be believed.
“This year’s main stage acts Professor Green, Fleur East and Slade meant there was something for everyone.”
He said: “Occupancy in hotel accommodation in the Perth area was near to capacity over the switch-on weekend. Seventy-five per cent of those visitors surveyed have been to the switch-on in previous years.
“The fact that they came back, plan to return in future years – and will recommend the city to their friends and families – is a ringing endorsement of the approach this council has taken to launching the festive period in the City of Perth.”
Mr Kellas added: “The evaluation of the event shows the value of this kind of large-scale activity for the vibrancy, economy and reputation of the city.
“The net expenditure impact of the lights switch on day alone is over £1.62 million. Around one in every five visitors to the event came from outside Perth and Kinross.”
He said that nearly all visitors polled (around 96%) rated the atmosphere and lights switch-on as “very good or good”.
“That is an excellent return for the city from an investment of £216,461,” Mr Kellas said.
“Perth and Kinross Council has a growing reputation as a number one place to hold events, standing us in good stead as we bid for UK City of Culture 2021.”
Keith Fergie, from the Perth Traders Association, added: “The switch-on event is a great opportunity to showcase the great businesses, both national and independent, to the huge number of visitors and local residents that come into the city.
“Hopefully, having enjoyed the event people will return to Perth to shop and dine.
“As the Winter Festival and particularly the Christmas lights event continues to grow, we all benefit from the economic benefit that these events bring to the city.”