EDINBURGH’S torchbearers will kick off choreographed celebrations to mark one of the momentous years in Scotland’s history.
Organisers are planning for cities across the country to unite in a “simultaneous, choreographed moment at 20.14” on New Year’s Eve.
Participants in the traditional Torchlight Procession will officially get the 2014 celebrations under way a day earlier during the Son et Lumière finale on December 30.
The event will begin at 7pm from the George IV Bridge – and exclusively feature a preview of the “2014 Moment” which will be seen around Scotland at 8.14pm on Hogmanay night.
It will mark the start of what is being hailed Scotland’s Big Year – playing host to the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup – and where the nation decides its future in the referendum.
More than 7500 torch carriers, led by Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Vikings and the massed pipes and drums, are expected to wind through the city’s streets before making their way to Calton Hill in time for the finale at 8.14pm.
Paul Bush, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said the procession was the perfect place for a year of celebrations to begin.
He said: “This year Hogmanay will be the event that signals the start of Homecoming Scotland, and there couldn’t be a more fitting way to kick off a year where Scotland will welcome the world.
“With the Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and a packed programme throughout Homecoming, Scotland really is the place to be next year.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and the home of Hogmanay, which makes this event in the capital so special.”
Up to 80,000 revellers are expected to flock to the 21st annual street party with the full line-up now revealed. Tickets are £20. Tickets for the Concert in the Gardens – priced at £40 – are still available for headliners the Pet Shop Boys who will play alongside home-grown talent, Nina Nesbitt.
The world’s largest outdoor nightclub – Rewinder – returns to the Mound stage for a second year as DJ Swiss and VJs Buttercup and Pixels bringing music from the last 50 years to eight screens along the length of the Street Party.
The party traditionally ends with a performance of Auld Lang Syne and midnight fireworks from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.
Pete Irvine, director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said “Scotland’s big year starts here. As anticipation and excitement builds for the biggest event year that Scotland has ever seen, we’re ready to start it off.”
Councillor Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion for the city council, said Hogmanay promised to live up to its world-famous billing.