The countdown is under way to the Edinburgh’s spectacular New Year celebrations

Crowds celebrating Hogmanay in Princes Street Gardens
Crowds celebrating Hogmanay in Princes Street Gardens
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TICKETS are still up for grabs for Hogmanay 2012, with just days to go before the 20th anniversary of the world-famous New Year street parties.

Up to 80,000 revellers are expected to descend on the Capital for a three-day Hogmanay festival.

Organiser Unique Events refused to confirm the exact number on offer but insisted tickets would be available until several hours before the main event.

Rock legends Simple Minds will headline the concert on New Year’s Eve, joined by Dundee band The View and Edinburgh’s own Bwani Junction, and cascades of fireworks will be set off every hour from 9pm.

Among the other acts playing are The OK Social Club, also from Edinburgh, who formed just 18 months ago.

Lead singer Raff Eragona, 29, said: “We have played a couple of big launch nights for our singles in Edinburgh, and been to England for gigs, but this is by far the biggest thing we’ve done.

“We were in town for Hogmanay last year, playing in a few pubs and bars, and we looked down to the street party and said ‘that’s where we want to be, that’s our goal’. The fact we’re back here a year later is incredible and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Raff, along with bandmates Chris, 26, Gordy, 26, and Jordan, 20, will take to the Waverley Stage confident of getting the fans going – as long as the rain stays away. The party was cancelled in 2006 – when Pet Shop Boys and Paolo Nutini were due to perform – and in 2003 due to severe weather, including high winds.

Raff added: “It’ll be a great atmosphere, everyone will be drunk and in a good mood, so we just need the rain to give us a break. There’s nothing worse than everyone being drenched, so fingers crossed.”

The Hogmanay celebrations start on Sunday with the Torchlight Procession leaving Chambers Street at 6.30pm and heading down the Bridges to the Son et Lumiére and fireworks finale on Calton Hill.

The centrepiece of the festival is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party, with 75,000 people gathering in the city centre to welcome in 2013.

The party continues on New Year’s Day with a full programme of events including the famous Loony Dook at South Queensferry, a triathlon, “Dogmanay” in Holyrood Park and Be Lucky 2013.

Pete Irvine, artistic director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “We are looking forward to another great event – the 20th Edinburgh’s Hogmanay – with three days of fireworks, music and celebration. The Torchlight Procession, Candlelit Concert and Loony Dook are all sold out, however there are still Street Party tickets available, and a limited number for Concert in the Gardens.”

The New Year celebrations necessitate changes to traffic management, parking and loading.

A number of roads will be subject to closures and parking restrictions to ensure that on-street events can take place safely. Some parking restrictions will also be required to keep diversion routes in the city clear.

In the run-up to the events, Edinburgh City Council said residents and visitors should look out for advance warning signs in place on major access routes to the city centre that provide road closure details.

Tickets for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party and garden passes for Concert in the Gardens – enclosure tickets are sold out – are available online at www.edinburghs, by calling 0844 573 8455 or from the box office at 180 High Street.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, the city’s festivals and events champion, said: “A line-up of world class bands and artists that would rival the best summer festival, an unforgettable carnival atmosphere soaked up by revellers from across the globe and an absolutely sensational firework display over Edinburgh Castle – what better way to bring in 2013 than at the world’s greatest street party?

“There truly is something for everyone this Hogmanay.”