EdinReport-Edinburgh Hogmanay-2

The organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Unique Events, promise the hottest part on the planet this year right here in Edinburgh. The celebrations run from 30 December 2014 to 1 January 2015 to delight tourists and locals alike.

The Torchlight Procession will get everything underway on 30 December 2014 when around 30,000 participants are expected to wind their way from the Old Town to Calton Hill. There will be entertainment on Waterloo Place as well as on top of the hill itself. About 8,000 torchbearers will light up the route and they alone will have access to the hill itself along with their friends and family. Part of the funds raised by selling torches will be donated to Erskine to mark 100 years since the start of World War I.

On 31 December the Concert in the Gardens will feature Björn Again, an ABBA tribute band alone with R& B stars Soul II Soul and headline act Lily Allen who will be ending her international tour here in the capital. The Edinburgh Reporter saw her at a small venue earlier in the year, and we hope she can rise to the outstanding occasion that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay can be.

The World Famous Street Party will include the Hot Dub Time Machine allowing those celebrating New Year in Edinburgh to travel back to 1954, dance the Moonwalk, the Mashed Potato and the Macarena. The music will be relayed by way of screens from the Rewinder Stage on The Mount all the way along Princes Street.

On the Waverley Stage there is a Scottish feel to the music, but not Andy Stewart and The Alexander Brothers, rather Twin Atlantic, Young Fathers and The Twilight Sad. If none of this means anything to you then you might prefer the Scottish Stage itself where Eddi Reader will sing along with Breabach who were nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and piping from Ross Ainslie and Jariath Henderson.

More Scottishness on The Mound where the Ceilidh will be reeling to the sounds of The Smashers, Hugh McDiarmid’s Haircut and The Sensational Jim Shandrix Experience. The party begins at 7.00pm and all stages will feature live music till 1 in the morning on New Year’s Day.

There are free Night Buses throughout Edinburgh and the Lothians supported by Lothian Buses and Johnnie Walker. The drinks giant has secured commitments from over one million people not to drink and drive – ever.

And of course at midnight there will be fireworks to end all fireworks.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, Festivals and Events Champion said: “Edinburgh will be the greatest place on earth to say goodbye to 2014 and bring in the bells for Hogmanay. From the Street Party to the Keilidh, the Concert in the Gardens to the Loony Dook, this is going to be a jam-packed three day festival of fun.

“Every year, people travel from all over the world to experience Edinburgh’s midnight moment, and this year all eyes will yet again be on the Capital as locals and visitors come together to celebrate. With performances from Lily Allen and Mercury prize-winners Young Fathers, it’s also one of the best outdoor concerts in Britain. Local residents planning to celebrate New Year on their doorstep can snap up an early bird discount on tickets, but be quick – the discount will only apply until 28 November.”

On New Year’s Day, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay presents Scot:Lands – incredible new worlds hidden in 11 beautiful buildings and outdoor spaces in the city’s Old Town, where audiences can discover the very best in music, art and theatre, created and curated by Scotland’s most innovative artists, arts organisations and musicians:  a festival in itself – all free.  Scot:Lands is supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund. The Edinburgh Reporter enjoyed the spontaneity of this event last year – and also that it was free – but you would be well advised to start somewhere other than the beginning at the Museum (although perhaps the time slots which are arranged this year will get round the queues of last year).

Building on the enormous popularity of this event last year, audiences are invited to pre-register free of charge at edinburghshogmanay.com to be allocated a time slot to come to Home:Land at the National Museum of Scotland.  There they will begin their randomly selected and magical journey around these familiar and unknown, indoor and outdoor, atmospheric venues.

Their first boarding card could direct them to Heart:Land presented by musician Roddy Hart and his friends from Withered Hand, Lonesome Fire and Admiral Fallow; or to HebCelt:Land recreating one of the most atmospheric festivals on the planet with the help of Rura, Iain Morrison and Malin; or even the Island of Mull with 3 on this IS:Land  featuring Kenny Anderson, The Hannah Fisher Trio and Des Lawson.

Neu:Land offers an exhilarating cabaret of life from Neu Reekie, Edinburgh’s most exciting arts collective while Blether:Land and the Scottish Storytelling Festival present a programme inspired by Sir Walter Scott and the poet Robert Fergusson, and a series of interactive street games, inspired by school playgrounds of the past, can be found at High School:Land.

As well as music and spoken word, audiences will come upon a film by Virginia Heath at From Scot:Land shown in a closed-off Old Town street, and a unique screening at Tide:Land in a hidden location which will be accompanied by Joe McAlinden’s haunting and beautiful score.  Barn:Land brings Deeside to Edinburgh in the shape of Woodend Barn and in a new commission from Scotland’s National Centre for Dance, choreographer Steinvor Palsson has created an elegiac and enthralling dance sequence in Wholly:Land, one of the city’s most renowned landmark buildings.

Early on 1 January 2015 revellers can work off any excess of the night afore with a dip in the River Forth in the annual Queensferry Loony Dook.  Starting with a Dookers Parade through South Queensferry featuring pipers and a host of entertainment the brave, or daft, Dookers will take the chilly plunge for charity under the world renowned Forth Bridge.  For those not brave enough to get their feet wet, there are plenty of vantage points to watch the action and spectators are welcomed.

Tickets for all events at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay are on sale – full details can be found at www.edinburghshogmanay.com. The early bird ticket offer for Edinburgh Residents will close on Friday 28 November.  Until then, anyone living in an EH postcode can buy their Street Party ticket for the reduced price of £16 plus booking fee.