A re-booted, re-energised, reinvented Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival for 2018
Underbelly, which stages Edinburgh Fringe productions from Cowgate to Bristo Square, and UK wide outdoor events year round, has been chosen as the new creative management team., taking over the reins from Unique Events.
Directors, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, have brought together a crack creative team under Executive Producer, Martin Green. For five years he was Head of Events for London’s New Year, oversaw the 2012 Olympic Games celebrations, and is currently the director of Hull UK City of Culture, 2017.
From the programme line up, they are certainly starting their first year with a colourful spectacle and big bang.
An underlying theme is to take the New Year celebration back to its roots of the old Hogmanay parties at home, when revellers would tour around to “first foot” family and friends, with gifts of coal, shortbread and whisky. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2017/2018 will present an enormous “House Party” to bring local residents and international visitors together for a modern remix of the traditional Hogmanay.
Once again, it will be an exciting, colourful three day Festival starting with the ever popular Torchlight Procession on 30 December, when thousands of people will create a river of light down the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and Queens Park.
As 2018 is the Year of Young People, a special project will bring kids and youngsters together to select one universal word, the #ScotWord to illustrate what Scotland means to them.
Another innovation in welcoming Festival goers of all ages, is a special event, Bairns Afore, a Hogmanay party for families which children in Princes Street gardens with their own mini firework display at 6pm. Then the bairns can be packed off to bed before the adults can go out again and party.!
Several years ago, on 30 December there was the regular “Night Afore Fiesta” with a parade of street theatre, music and entertainment, stilt walkers and giant puppets along George Street. When this ended, it was sorely missed. However, this style of Fiesta is back even bigger and better this year.
On Hogmanay, 31 December, the gates to the famous Street Party will open at 7pm. This will be a dramatic, exciting, new revamp to the usual event, with a fabulous Carnival of street theatre, acrobats, dancers and a spectacle of light and sound. Along and around Princes Street there will be three stages for a diverse range of musical entertainment. There will also be a Ceilidh in the Gardens, and the annual Concert at the Ross Bandstand – further details on bands and singers will be announced soon.
At midnight, the Fireworks will have an impressive and extended display to bring in the New Year with sparkling light, fizz, crackle and pop to delight the crowd of 60,000 revellers.
The festivities continue on 1st January when the brave or foolhardy can take a trip to South Queensferry to join in the traditional Loony Dook (or Daft Dip) in the Firth of Forth. Fancy dress encouraged!
After a rousing Hogmanay rendition of Auld Lang Syne by Robert Burns, the New Year will continue in literary mode, to celebrate its status as the first UNESCO City of Literature, and inspired by Burns’ poem, “Sketch New Year’s Day. ” Message from the Skies will feature a unique murder mystery written by best selling crime writer, Val McDermid in collaboration with director, Philip Howard. Taking city residents and visitors on a journey around the city, the short story will be projected around the streets and landmark buildings each evening from 1 – 25 January, Robert Burns’ birthday.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first ever Princes Street Party, an event which gradually developed into a three day, world famous Winter festival. It is extraordinary to realise that it was Edinburgh which led the way to herald in the New Year with dazzling Fireworks from the Castle. This later inspired London, Sydney and Hong Kong and other cities to light up the skies at midnight.
Join in the party, the fun, fireworks, #Scotword, stories, songs and the fiesta spirit at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018.
Say to the World: I WAS THERE.
“…. this is not the end of a year,
but the beginning of a new.
We will clasp the hands of every stranger,
Because this belongs to all of us.
This is our New Year.
This is ‘the’ New Year.
We’ll leave as beacons, shining lights
That say to the world:
I – WAS – THERE.
It’ll leave its mark.”
For more information: