Organisers hope to avoid new year washout as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay returns

Organisers hope to avoid new year washout as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay returns

Organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay are hoping to avoid a new year washout, with heavy rain forecast to have passed by the time revellers ring in 2023.

The world famous celebration has been cancelled due to Covid for the past two years, but on Saturday a sell-out crowd of 30,000 are set to bring in the new year in Princes Street as part of the three-day event.

Al Thompson, director of organisers Unique Assembly, said the worst of expected bad weather should have passed, but he urged party-goers to wrap up warm for the festivities.

He said on Thursday: “It’s outdoors in Scotland in winter but I’m really pleased that we’re coming to the tail end of some unsettled weather this week, so from tomorrow right through to New Year’s Day we have got a clear run.

“It’s going to be cold but it’s going to be dry, and that’s the main thing.

“We’re just telling people to make sure that they wrap up warm and dress for the weather before they come out because the majority of the events are outdoors.”

As the clock strikes midnight and 2023 begins, the Met Office is predicting temperatures of 1C, with it dropping to 0C come 3am.

Celebrations kick off on Friday with Sophie Ellis-Bextor headlining The Night Afore Party in West Princes Street Gardens, hours after a rain warning is lifted at 2pm.

The weather warning, part of a series which covers most of Scotland, comes as the deadly bomb cyclone which sent temperatures plunging across the Atlantic makes its way across the UK.

Cammy Day, leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said Hogmanay celebrations are back with a bang, and tickets have been snapped up.

three people sat at a table giving a press conference
Superintendent David Robertson, left, Edinburgh council leader Cammy Day, and Penny Dougherty of Unique Assembly, give a press conference ahead of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay (Dan Barker/PA)

“It’s really good news that people want this to happen and it will be, as ever, I think, one of the biggest and best events in the world here in the capital city of Edinburgh,” he added.

He said hundreds of thousands of people will take part in festivities across the city over the coming days.

“The big bang that we’re going to have, bringing the festivals back and Hogmanay this year, will be a good benefit to the city both economically but also for us over the past two years not having such a great time, it’s a great feeling that the city’s back,” he said.

Workers are busy putting the final touches to the main stage for concerts in West Princes Street Gardens, where the Pet Shop Boys will help bring in 2023 as part of the Concert in the Gardens.

Organisers said all events on Saturday – the Concert in the Gardens, the Street Party, the Candlelit Concert in St Giles’, and the Festival of Ceilidhs Countdown to Hogmanay – had sold out.

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Limited tickets remain available for The Night Afore Party and the Final Fling on New Year’s Day, headlined by Tidelines with guests Elephant Sessions and Hamish Hawk.

On January 1 there are also a number of free performances as part of the First Footin’ celebrations.

Police Scotland Superintendent David Robertson said a major policing operation will be in place across Edinburgh, with extra officers on patrol.

“We will have a dedicated policing operation in place to support organisers and the council to deliver the street party event,” he said.

Edinburgh Trams will be running free late night services from midnight to 5am on Sunday between the West End and Edinburgh Airport.

Lothian Buses is offering a special Hogmanay ticket on its late night services.