PARTY-goers hailed Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations as a great event despite around 4,500 tickets being left unsold.
Police praised the estimated 70,000 revellers from around the globe who descended on the centre of Edinburgh to welcome the New Year.
The Pet Shop Boys brought the Capital’s Hogmanay celebrations to a crescendo, seven years after their scheduled performance was rained off by bad weather.
Cold and dry conditions ensured Scotland’s Big Year got off to a great start.
The official box office on the Royal Mile stayed open an extra 90 minutes to cope with a last-minute rush. But the attendance for the street party was still around 10,000 below the official 80,000 capacity.
Organisers Unique Events insisted the decision to increase ticket prices to £20 – to help boost the line-up of acts – had not affected sales.
The flagship Concert in the Gardens sold out the day before the event, while an open-air ceilidh on The Mound was also fully subscribed. But tickets for the street party failed to sell out despite some of Scotland’s biggest musical acts – including Chvrches, King Creosote and Django Django – being booked to appear.
Pete Irvine, director of Unique Events, claimed people had been put off buying tickets after reports the event could be affected by bad weather. He said: “We did not hear a murmur of discontent about the ticket prices.”
Many revellers had eagerly awaited the return of the Pet Shop Boys, who made a triumphant on what was the 21st birthday of Hogmany organisers, Unique Events.
appearance. Fan Lorna Cuckow, 33, from Newington, said she had followed them “across the globe” in the hope they would make it back to the Capital. She said: “I was so disappointed when it was cancelled in 2007. I even went to Berlin to see them last year and they were brilliant.
“I bought a ticket as soon as I knew they were coming again and I’m so pleased I did. They were amazing and the perfect way to bring in the New Year. It’s been better than I ever could have imagined.”
Elsewhere, the world renowned street party entertained the masses with a largely Scottish line-up.
Django Django and Chvrches kept people busy on the Waverley Stage while the Scottish Stage hosted King Creosote, Treacherous Orchestra and Fiddlers’ Bid.
Visitors from as far afield as Australia, Brazil, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan and Korea took part in the mass gathering.
Sid Seargent, 23, from the US, said it left him “wishing I was Scottish”. He said: “I heard it was the best New Year’s Eve party in the world and now I see why. It’s been awesome. the fireworks, the music, the atmosphere, have all been really special.
“ I’ve been to other major cities but they haven’t come close. It’s so friendly and such a great night. You guys certainly know how the throw a party.”
Brightly-dressed, costume-clad crowds added to the spirit of things, dancing to the street disco and keeping fellow party-goers amused. Jamie Slater, 22, who came dressed as a pink Power Ranger in a morphsuit, said he had been mobbed by people wanting photographs. He said: “It’s taken two hours to move 20 yards, people keep asking for photos. It’s great, we’ve been treated like celebrities. All we wanted was a giggle. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Celebrations were kicked off with the Homecoming Hogmanay fireworks from Calton Hill at 8.14pm, followed by countdown fireworks at 9pm and 10pm, then a Homecoming display an hour before the Bells. More than 2300 cues triggered over 16,000 shots from 52 locations that lit up the city’s sky in a breath-taking display. that took a team more than two weeks just to put together.