Hogmanay celebrations as Edinburgh welcomes start of 2020

By Tom Eden, PA Scotland

Fireworks lit up the Edinburgh sky as tens of thousands welcomed the start of a new decade at Hogmanay celebrations.

Auld Lang Syne rang out to begin the year 2020, sung by revellers packing the Scottish capital’s streets for a Hogmanay party that had included a night of music, parties and more than 3,600 fireworks let off from Edinburgh castle.

Performances from Idlewild, Rudimental and Marc Almond featured across stages throughout the city centre, while DJ Mark Ronson created a soundtrack as the clock struck 12.

An estimated 100,000 visitors were expected to attend the event, according to organisers who billed the Hogmanay celebrations were the UK’s biggest New Year’s Eve street party.

Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations (Jane Barlow/PA)

There had been criticism of the event’s organisation, amid uncertainty around how many passes residents were allowed, with Underbelly accused of creating “unnecessary confusion” by the council leader.

The festivities began in the city on Monday as around 40,000 people joined a torchlit procession which culminated in them forming the shape of two humans reaching out a “hand of friendship”.

Leading the parade down the Royal Mile and into Holyrood Park was a 40-strong cast from Celtic Fire Theatre company PyroCeltica.

TV stars Ant and Dec took to the stage in Princes Street Gardens early on Tuesday evening as crowds gathered, playing music and introducing the first firework display of the night.

Street theatre, circus acts and musical performances also took place across more than a dozen streets, including the city’s main thoroughfare Princes Street and its adjacent gardens, while ceilidhs danced their way into the night in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle.

Fireworks are let off from Edinburgh Castle as part of the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh (Jane Barlow/PA)

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council, said: “What a fantastic night! Mark Ronson, who has been the soundtrack to our last decade, brought in the new decade with an absolutely belting set which took us through the bells. The fireworks, set to his soundtrack were breathtaking!

“Tonight Edinburgh overwhelmingly celebrated a togetherness of Edinburgh people and visitors from 87 different countries, showing to the world the true spirit of Scotland’s and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.

“We thank the many people who worked together to make tonight the best ever Hogmanay.”

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “I’d like to wish everyone in the capital an incredible start to the new year and new decade! Edinburgh’s Hogmanay truly remains the place to be to bring in the bells and this year was no exception.

“With one of the best artist line-ups ever, tonight has been a truly fantastic event, with tens of thousands of residents and visitors bringing in the bells and enjoying an outstanding fireworks finale.”

Returning on New Year’s Day is the annual Message From The Skies display, featuring a collection of aquatic-themed letters to Scotland penned by five celebrated writers: Charlotte Runcie, Irvine Welsh, Kathleen Jamie, Kayus Bankole and Robin Robertson.

The words will illuminate and animate landmarks around the city, centred around a maritime theme, and will run until January 25.