Unique Events, who have produced Edinburgh’s Hogmanay for 24 years for the City of Edinburgh Council, said early this morning that the event had been a “major success”. Tickets sold out hours before the party cordon was opened, with 75,000 revellers attending this year’s Street Party, Concert in the Gardens and The Old Town Ceilidh.
A special laser and light show was added to the spectacular Midnight Moment fireworks from Edinburgh Castle, Calton Hill and Princes Street Gardens which launched 2017 as the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh becoming the “world’s leading Festival City”.
— Edinburgh's Hogmanay (@edhogmanay) January 1, 2017
"What a great night," said Al Thomson and Penny Dougherty, Directors of Unique Events in a release. "Paolo Nutini rocked the Concert in the Gardens, and revellers across the Street Party enjoyed a superb line-up across the four stages - what a great way to start 2017, the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh becoming a world leading Festival city."
Nutini was joined by Hog the Stage competition winners Lemonhaze, Paisley art pop quartet The Vegan Leather, and special guests The Lightning Seeds.
Meanwhile, at the Street Party, The Charlatans, Ayrshire trio Fatherson and Dundee popster Be Charlotte rocked the Waverley Stage, while on the Castle Stage, Celtic music stars Salsa Celtica, Manran and Ross Ainslie & Ali Hutton welcomed in the New Year with a bang.
Revellers throughout the Street Party danced to festival favourites Guilty Pleasures and vj’s Buttercup and Pixel while James Brown is Annie, Brass Gumbo and Blues n Trouble jazzed up the Mound.
The Old Town Ceilidh with Belhaven saw around 5,000 people enjoying classic Scottish dance tunes from Kilter and HotScotch on the main stage, and performances from young trad musicians Talisk, Top Floor Taivers and Fèis Rois on the second stage in Parliament Square.
Messages supporting Unicef, the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay official charity partner, were relayed on the giant screens throughout the evening from Cllr Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, actors Alan Cumming and Ewan MacGregor, Festival Headliner Paolo Nutini and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
The police said that there were 2 arrests for minor disorder, although these were preliminary figures that would be updated today.
Lothian Buses provided its free Hogmanay NightBus Service again, helping around 20,000 people leave the centre of the city and for the first time, Edinburgh Trams ran free trams from midnight to 5.00am helping a further 4,000 partygoers get home safely.
“This must have been one of the most magnificent midnight moments in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay history, providing a fitting start to this milestone year for Edinburgh and its festivals,” said Councillor Richard Lewis, Festivals and Events Champion, City of Edinburgh Council.
New Year’s Day events
The final day of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay sees a quieter programme of activities for all the family: Edinburgh’s Lord Provost Donald Wilson is among the 1,100 people taking the plunge into the chilly waters of the River Forth for the Stoats Loony Dook in South Queensferry today. The event will start off with a communal warm-up and fancy dress competition, before Dookers Parade through South Queensferry at 12.45pm. Loony Dookers, emboldened by a crowd of expectant onlookers, will then take to the water.
Scot:Lands also takes place today. First footers embark on a cultural crawl around nine atmospheric venues in the Old Town, each curated and customised by Scottish artists.
For kids, Sprogmanay continues at the National Museum of Scotland and the Hogmanay festival draws to a close with The Final Fling – a family ceilidh at the National Museum of Scotland which has already sold out.
This year, there was a marked rise in people flying into the city over the festive period. In the week between Christmas Day and the last flight on 31 December Edinburgh Airport saw over 86,000 arriving passengers. Up from over 75,000 arriving passengers in the same period last year and up again from the 70,966 who arrived at Edinburgh Airport in the final week of 2014.
The popularity of the Hogmanay events, in spite of criticisms of rising entry fees for what were once free events, will be welcomed by organisers and bodes well for the future of the festival.