Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations to run from 11.30am to 4am and expand to the Royal Mile
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations are to expand to start at 11.30am and run until 4am as part of a programme which will include 1980s pop icon Marc Almond, superstar DJ Judge Jules, author Irvine Welsh, singer-songwriter Eddi Reader and children’s TV presenters Dick and Dom.
The three-day festival will be staged under the banner of a “Be Together” theme just two months after Britain is due to leave the European Union.
Organisers have revealed the 70,000 street party arena will be expanding to the Royal Mile for the first time in 20 years, with local indie favourites Idlewild headlining a new stage on Parliament Square.
The festival, which is billed as “a celebration of togetherness,”will launch with the third annual fire parade from the heart of the Royal Mile to Holyrood Park, where thousands of torch-bearers will form the symbol of two people joining hands.
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Ed Bartlam, co-director of festival producers Underbelly, said: “Hogmanay and its traditions have always been about togetherness, more so than any other celebration in the world.
"It’s the ultimate communal and community festival. It must be about an inclusive celebration hosted by a progressive and internationally-facing country, which is opening its doors and asking its friends, guests and neighbours to join in."
Edinburgh University’s historic McEwan Hall will host three extra events in the space of 24 hours, with an event “for those who are keen to get the party started early” timed to coincide with the start of the new year in Australia at 12 noon UK time.
The £30-a-head curtain-raiser will feature Australian funk and soul singer Kylie Auldist. It has been added to the line-up two years after the addition of an early-evening “Bairns Afore” event in Princes Street Gardens, which Dick and Dom will appear at this year.
Judge Jules will be appearing at the McEwan Hall in an “official after-party” for the festivities, which are being held for the 27th time, and will be headlined by DJ and producer Mark Ronson, who will be creating a soundtrack for the midnight fireworks as well as headlining the annual “concert in the gardens.”
Street theatre artists and acrobats from France, Germany, the Netherlands and across the UK will be performing at the main festivities on and around Princes Street.
Soft Cell star Marc Almond, who will be headlining the Waverley Stage, where Fort William singer Keir Gibson and Glasgow glam-rockers The Ninth Wave will also be performing.
Celtic fusion pioneers Shooglenifty and West Lothian indie outfit The Snuts will be appearing alongside Idlewild on the High Street Stage in Parliament Square.
Irvine Welsh and Young Fathers star Kayus Bankole will both be creating new “love letters to Scotland” for the return of the Message From The Skies event.
Charlotte Runcie, Kathleen Jamie and Robin Robertson will also be taking part in the project, which will see specially-created projections lighting up buildings, streets and monuments from New Year’s Day till Burns Night.
Organisers are urging revellers travelling from around the world to make a donation which will help offset the environmental impact of the event by supporting the creation of new woodlands in Scotland.
Underbelly co-director Charlie Wood said: “International festivals like Edinburgh’s Hogmanay have an obligation to attract international visitors, but it is right and proper that the environmental impact of the event is offset.”
Ben Macpherson, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Europe, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is one of the cornerstones of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, enhancing our worldwide reputation as one of the greatest cities to start the New Year in.
"The Scottish Government is a long-time supporter of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, working with partners to ensure it continues to have the same massive international reach and demonstrates Scotland’s values of fairness, diversity and inclusion, as well as our unique culture.”