Ticketed Torchlight Procession Opens Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2016/2017

Submitted by edg on Sat, 31 Dec '16 10.09am

A “river of fire” flanked by lines of shimmering camera phones, many on selfie sticks, marked the start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay last night.

Mass pipes and drums and 30 Vikings from Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Festival led the long-running Torchlight Procession down the Mound from the Old Town, along Princes Street to Calton Hill.

Organisers estimate that around 30,000 people either took part or watched the procession, which for the first time was only open to those wearing a £3 wristband or carrying a £12 torch (it remained free to watch).

For the sale of every torch, a donation of 50p was made to the charity Unicef to help children in danger, in particular those affected by war in Syria.

As in previous years the procession ended with the Son et Lumière display on Calton Hill, with this year the addition of a lighting display on St Andrew’s House on Regent Road to mark the close of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016.

Penny Dougherty, Director, Unique Events said the event had “once again been a huge success”.

“It was great to see thousands of residents and visitors to the city participating in the procession, winding their way through Edinburgh’s City Centre and congregating on Calton Hill for the dazzling fireworks finale. We are delighted to be working with UNICEF again this year, helping to raise essential funds for Syria’s children,” she said.

However, some people at the end of the two-hour long Procession missed the climactic firework display on Calton Hill as they were still walking across George IV Bridge.

Dougherty said: “The procession was very stretched out this year, which meant that those at the back were not in a position to see the firework finale. We understand their disappointment, and are sorry that they missed out.”

At the same time as the Torchlight Procession was taking place, Paolo Nutini took to the stage in the inaugural Night Afore Concert in West Princes Street Gardens, delivering a hit-filled set to a sold out crowd with support from Frightened Rabbit, The Vegan Leather, and Hog the Stage competition winners CRYSTAL.

The main course in the three-day Edinburgh's Hogmanay festival takes place tonight. Limited tickets are still available for the Street Party (£25 including booking fee) from the Hogmanay Box Office at The Fringe Office until 8pm.

More on Edinburgh’s Hogmanay