The first tickets for this year’s street party went on sale at 10am this morning – a full 166 days before festivities are set to kick off and three months before the acts are unveiled.
Organisers promised “another stellar line-up” after last year saw 75,000 revellers flock to the city, insisting the early sale was necessary to meet burgeoning international demand.
But critics insisted it’s too early to think about the New Year when summer has barely got going. Promoters have pledged a “new street party experience” complete with additional entertainment and increased arena space for crowds to bring in the bells.
A raft of stages, giant screens and musical acts will keep revellers entertained until the spectacular midnight fireworks sees six tonnes of pyrotechnics blasted from Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill.
In response to critics, a spokeswoman for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay insisted tickets had gone up for sale even earlier in previous years – driven by overseas visitors desperate to snap them up.
Pete Irvine, festival director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – which is organised by Unique Events on behalf of the council – said: “We are already experiencing a huge interest from around the world for tickets to the street party.
“Following last year’s sell-out event we have added extra screens and an additional stage with more space for revellers to enjoy the best party on the planet.”
But Tommy Sheppard, Edinburgh East MP and founder of The Stand Comedy Club, said the July ticket sale “seems a little premature”.
He said: “In the same way that it’s best to get Hallowe’en out the way before Christmas, it would be good to get the Festival over before this. Good luck to them – but I’ll not be making any Hogmanay plans until the summer’s over.”
And City Centre Tory councillor Joanna Mowat also insisted it was “a bit early” to expect locals to be hatching winter plans – despite admitting she saw a “certain logic” in marketing the event during the summer tourism rush.
She said: “I’m not sure anyone in Edinburgh will really want to be thinking about Hogmanay when we’re still waiting for summer to come.”
Last year’s celebrations saw Lily Allen perform the headline slot.
Tickets for the street party can be snapped up for £25, with early bird tickets on offer to those with an EH postcode for just £19 from www.edinburghshogmanay.com or on 0844 573 8455.