HUNDREDS of people have signed up for a star-studded event billed as “the biggest and best indy event of 2020” – the Big Indy Night In – which is happening online from 3pm to 10pm today.

Almost 600 people had paid £10 per household by last night to sign up to the event, which marries Scottish culture and politics.

Hosted by Elaine C Smith, it features some of the best-known names in the two fields, including Karine Polwart, Andrew O’Hagan, Dougie MacLean, Janey Godley, Eddi Reader, Val McDermid, Ricky Ross and Hue and Cry.

The National is also well represented with the first public appearance of our columnist Paul Kavanagh since he had his stroke, the paper’s founder Richard Walker, along with columnists Lesley Riddoch, Stuart Cosgrove, Ruth Wishart, Gerry Hassan and Bella Caledonia’s Mike Small.

We will also be reporting live from the Big Indy Night In, which is organised by Voices for Scotland as the next stage of its indy campaigning.

Some of the cash raised through ticket sales will go towards supporting the artists taking part, many of whom have been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis, while the rest will go towards Voices for Scotland’s campaign.

Smith said: “We are delighted that we can bring a bit of cheer, music and discussion from so many voices across the cultural and political landscape in Scotland.

“A bit of intelligence, some light and good ideas are vital as we move forward in these strange and dark times so that is what we aim to do with this event – as well as have a bit of joy and laughter.”

Alan Whyte, from Voices for Scotland, said: “We’ve got something bigger, more ambitious and substantive in the pipeline to help grow support for independence.

“The next stage of our campaign takes that to the next level, but there’s still a bit of planning to do and crucially we need the funds to build this campaign.

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“In buying a ticket for the Big Indy Night In, you not only get an amazing event for a tenner but you help everyone get a step closer to independence.”

The organisation has been hosting numerous events since the end of the summer lockdown, bringing people together to discuss what matters to them in Scotland.

There have been In Conversation events with Sir Geoff Palmer, Sara Sheridan and Gerry Hassan and the Be A Voice campaign was launched to allow people to share their stories and views on independence.

The event is aimed at being as much like a live festival as possible with a main stage, panel discussions and a virtual bar area where people can meet to discuss what they have seen and heard.

Whyte added: “We are really trying to create that festival vibe as much as you can online so there are performances to watch but also lots of opportunity to ask questions and connect and meet up with other people.

“We have a great line-up from amazing performers and I think we have something for everyone, with music, comedy and political discussion.”

He said that although 2020 had been a “terrible” year, progress on vaccinations against Covid-19 and growing support for independence meant that 2021 was looking a lot more hopeful.

“This Big Indy Night In is a great way to finish the year on a high,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to have Elaine C Smith hosting the event as she is a proper Scottish legend and it has been an absolute joy to work with her on this.

“Her commitment has been amazing as she is also filming Two Doors Down and has her charity work as well.

“She is the real star of the show and has not only helped pull it all together but will also keep it together on the night.”

“It is great value for money so buy a ticket, have a great night in and help grow support for independence.

“A referendum date might not be far away and we need to be organised and ready to win this time.”

To sign up, go to: