New Year's Eve 2017: Edinburgh set for huge Hogmanay celebrations

Thousands are expected to attend event, which is one of world's biggest street parties 

Lucinda Cameron
Sunday 31 December 2017 10:44
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New Year's Eve 2017: Hogmanay kicks off in Edinburgh with torch procession

Tens of thousands of people will welcome in the new year at one of the world's biggest street parties on Sunday evening.

Organisers have said that Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations will go ahead in full, unaffected by the arrival of Storm Dylan earlier in the day.

Gusts of up to 80mph are expected to batter parts of Scotland in the first half of 31 December, however warnings are not currently in force for Sunday evening and night.

Underbelly, which is producing the event for the first time, is promising the "best party ever", with live music, DJs, street entertainment and the "ultimate fireworks display" from Edinburgh Castle.

Rag'n'Bone Man will headline Concert in the Gardens, with Declan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt as support acts, while those performing on the three Street Party stages include The Human League, Sacred Paws, Treacherous Orchestra and Huey Morgan.

The street party, hosted by Sanjeev Kohli, of the BBC's Still Game, will also feature street performers, dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters.

Fireworks will be launched from Edinburgh Castle at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm in a countdown to midnight, when a soundscaped fireworks display will entertain the audience for the first nine minutes of 2018.

Underbelly commissioned Niteworks, a band from Skye, and film and theatre composer and sound designer Dan Jones to create a "soundscape" for the midnight fireworks show for the first time.

People are advised not to bring bags with them and if they do they should not be bigger than A4 size.

Police said they will be using local and specialist resources including armed officers to protect the public and act as a deterrent.

Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, said: "Please do not be alarmed by the presence of these professional and highly-trained officers. They are being deployed purely as a precaution. I would again reiterate that there is no specific intelligence relating to a potential threat for either event.

"In addition to the police officers and stewards present on the evening a range of barriers and bollards will also be utilised, which prevent vehicles accessing the event arena. Again, this is purely a precautionary measure."

Edinburgh's Hogmanay celebrations run for three days, drawing in an estimated 150,000 people from elsewhere in the UK and around the world.

The events include a torchlight procession through Edinburgh on December 30 and the Loony Dook on New Year's Day, when hardy people take a dip in the chilly Firth of Forth.

The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning for Edinburgh and parts of the Central, Tayside and Fife regions, which is in place from 2am to 3pm on Sunday.

However it is not expected to affect the celebrations.

A spokeswoman for Underbelly said: "Edinburgh's Hogmanay is, as always, in constant contact with the Met Office, receiving regular forecast updates specific to Edinburgh.

"Forecasters are predicting that Storm Dylan will hit Scotland's central belt between 12 midnight and 3pm on the 31st, happening after the torchlight procession on the 30th and passing before the Hogmanay celebrations on the 31st.

"The specific forecast produced for the Hogmanay celebrations by the Met Office considers all the latest data and provides the most likely scenario for Edinburgh city itself through which we are reassured that the planned events and preparations will not be affected and that the celebrations will go ahead in full."

Elsewhere in Scotland, celebrations include a street party at Schoolhill in Aberdeen featuring live music from The Mersey Beatles and The Banjo Lounge 4, before a "spectacular" fireworks display from His Majesty's Theatre rooftop at midnight.

Stirling will host its "biggest ever" midnight fireworks display, focused around the castle, while in the fireball ceremony in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, around 40 people will parade up and down the High Street swinging flaming balls around their heads to welcome in the new year.

PA

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