Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party

Submitted by edg on Sun, 31 Dec '23 7.34am
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Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2019 Street Party Street Theatre
Ian Georgeson
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0131 510 0395

The Street Party (review), also known as "Party at the Bells", is perhaps the best-known event in the multi-day Edinburgh's Hogmanay Festival

The New Year street party is an e-ticketed event that, each New Year's Eve, runs across the length of Princes Street, with a carnival atmosphere and dancing in the street.

The three main entrances to the Street Party arena are at the East end of Princes Street at the Balmoral Hotel and West End of Princes Street near Johnnie Walker/South Charlotte Street. A third entrance is 
at the top of The Mound at Bank Street, and there is an accessible entrance at Castle Street.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party will mark its 30th anniversary year in 2023/2024 under new event organiser Unique Assembly. The partnership of Unique Events and Assembly Festival took over from previous organiser Underbelly last year.

Live Music & DJ sets

Up to 40,000 revellers (up from 30,000 last year) will be at this year's Street Party on Princes Street. Giant screens the length of Princes Street (in what is called the Pop Zone) will beam Pulp's full set taking place at (the separately ticketed) Concert in the Gardens, as well as DJ sets. The street party atmos will be augmented by live street theatre performers mingling with the crowd, drummers, pipers, vintage funfair rides, and street food and drink.

A second zone on Waverley Bridge this year, the Tartan Zone, will have music from Scots bands, including the award-winning Elephant Sessions, the Kinnaris Quintet, and an opening hour of ceilidh dancing from the islands with the Hannah Fisher Ceilidh Band.

Meanwhile on Market Street, a third zone will host the Mega Silent Disco for 4,000 revellers. Tunes will range the last 30 years of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, as well as floor-fillers from a variety of DJ’s throughout the night. Separate tickets are required as well as tickets to the Street Party.

The street party climaxes with Midnight Fireworks (or a "Midnight Moment" involving a light and laser display) above Edinburgh Castle.

Gates open at 8pm and last admission is 11pm. There are countdown firework displays from Edinburgh Castle on the hour at 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm before the main fireworks display above the castle at mignight.

Street Party Tickets 2023/2024

General admission: £28.50 (including 50p donation and fees).

Edinburgh Residents (EH Postcode): £23.50 (including fees and donation). The £5 discount is limited to 5,000 tickets.

Silent Disco tickets - £7.50 inc. fees (requires full Street Party ticket for purchase)

Note: Minimum age is 12 and under-16s must be accompanied by an adult over 18 years of age.

Alcohol can be brought into the Street Party event arena in plastic or metal (not glass) containers under 500ml, with a maximum of 4 containers per person. 

Funds raised through Hogmanay ticket sales are going towards Edinburgh’s Hogmanay homeless charity partner Social Bite.

Free Trams, Hogmanay Buses

There are free trams from midnight on December 31 til the wee, wee hours on January 1 between the West End in Edinburgh and Edinburgh Airport and Picardy Place to Newhaven.  

Lothian buses carries a Hogmanay £5 ticket deal with unlimited travel on its buses from 6pm on 31st December and all Hogmanay buses after midnight. Lothiancountry has had a similar deal for either £5 or £10 depending on journey length. More on Hogmanay bus services.

Television coverage and Hogmanay livestreams

The Mac Twins In 2019, Edinburgh's Hogmanay introduced a livestream on YouTube and on Facebook Live of the street party, which was viewable around the world for the first time. It featured The Street Party, Concert In the Gardens, and Ceilidh Under the Castle.

The live cast was hosted by the Mac Twins and featured music acts and street theatre from around the Hogmanay arena and the fireworks at midnight. The 16-camera live stream cost a reported £200,000 and ran from 7.30pm on 31st December 2019 until 1am, 1st January 2020.

The livecast was not archived for later viewing.

In the past Hogmanay has been broadcast live on television by Sky News and the BBC have webcast the celebrations.

In 2011/2012, there was a 1 hour live video stream starting at 11.30pm, with viewing limited to 20,000, on a first come/first served basis. The webcast was archived until Tuesday 2 January 2012, 11pm (GMT).

You can also try and catch the celebrations on Edinburgh webcams although the feeds are usually unable to handle the spike in Hogmanay traffic.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party History

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party has been scaled back over the years. When Unique Events started organising the Street Party in 1993 it was a free, non-ticketed event.

Then in 1999, huge crowds of around 300,000 crushed into the city centre and railings collapsed on Princes Street, with hundreds of revellers injured. Organisers responded by creating a gated area within the city centre for the 1997-1998 Hogmanay Street Party.

The event has since gone from around 180,000 revellers of the millennium Hogmanay party to around 75,000 to 80,000 within a smaller cordoned-off area.

The Street Party was cancelled in 2003-2004 and in 2006-2007 due to bad weather conditions, in particular strong winds.

The event has been affected in the past by tram works.

The 2020-2021 Hogmanay Street Party and all Hogmanay live events were called off due to Covid-19 restrictions. Hogmanay "moments" were streamed online in its place.

In 2021-2022, Hogmanay organisers Underbelly rebranded a scaled-back street party event as "Party at the Bells" with a capacity of 30,000 and a later, official start time. 

However, the full Hogmanay programme was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions and tickets were refunded.

With Covid-19 still a concern, the Street Party capacity was scaled back, compared to pre-pandemic years, to 30,000 people. The street party's maximum capacity before Covid-19 struck was 80,000 people, with 75,000 estimated to have attended the Street Party in 2019.

In Hogmanay 2022/23, the crowd at the Princes Street Street Party wore dedicated LED wristbands pulsating with light. The wristbands were distributed to revellers on entering the Street Party arena at one of the entrance gates. In 2023/2024, just those people going to the Concert in the Gardens appear to be getting LED wristbands on entering the arena..

Under new organiser Unique Assembly, the Hogmanay Street Party expanded the capacity of its street arena to 40,000 revellers in 2023-2024 from the prior year's 30,000. 

The Bells

In previous years, there were multiple stages and countdown fireworks at 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm, leading to the bells at the "Midnight Moment", and a fireworks display above Edinburgh Castle and from Calton Hill to herald in the New Year.

Traditionally, the fireworks are followed by a joining of hands as the crowd sings Auld Lang Syne, a kissathon, and more partying into the wee wee hours both on the street and around the city.

With memories of Covid-19 health protocols not yet a distant memory, celebrations are likely to be more muted than in pre-pandemic years.

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party Tickets, News & Info

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