30 Dec -
1 Jan 2020,
Since 2017, Underbelly has produced Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council - one of the biggest New Year celebrations in the world.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 18-19 was better than ever before with new events added to the festival, including Symphonic Ibiza which brought Ibiza classics accompanied by a 22 piece orchestra to the iconic McEwan Hall, two concerts in assosication with Celtic Conncetions, and a free family Ceilidh. The soundtrack to Scotland's New Year was provided by Scottish indie superstars Franz Ferdinand, who headlined the Concert in the Gardens with support from Metronomy and Free Love. The world famous Street Party, showcased Scottish and Eurpoean musicians, street theatre artists, dancers, choirs and aerialists. And the midnight fireworks was set to a soundtrack by German band Meute.
The three-day festival opened on 30 December 2018 with the stunning traditional Torchlight Procession where 20,000 participants alongside 20,000 spectators blazed a trail down Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile and into Holyrood Park. Families, friends, residents and visitors from 49 countries marched alongside pipe, drum and dance bands from across Scotland, including Edinburgh Samba Band, Glencorse Pipe Band and Hawick Scout Pipe Band generating a blistering beat to accompany the blazing Procession. Leading the charge was a 40 strong cast from Scotland’s pioneering Celtic Fire Theatre company, PyroCeltica, who’s Highland Warriors showcased a dazzling array of fire skills featuring fire fans, huge flaming claymores and fire staffs, set to the booming beats of the Harbinger Drummers.
Marking the conclusion of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, young people were firmly at the heart of the Torchlight Procession and the opening of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay as part of #ScotArt, the national youth participation project which engaged 100s of young people across Scotland. #ScotArt Young Champions who have led the project, each carried a banner emblazoned with their regional symbol joined the young pipe and drum bands at the head of the Torchlight Procession down the Royal Mile into Holyrood Park where the Procession formed the distinctive outline of Scotland lit by thousands of torches. The #ScotArt sculptures then came together to form a heart shape at the centre of this outline of Scotland, creating a spectacular finale to the Year of Young People 2018 with an iconic visual moment shared with the world.
Early on 1st January, 1,100 'dookers', many in costume raising money for charity, braved the icy waters of the Firth of Forth at South Queensferry for a traditional, bracing dip to start the new year. And as dusk fell on 1 January, Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, celebrated its rich literary heritage and that of Scotland with projections across buildings and landmarks across the city. In a nod to Robert Burns’s poem Sketch New Year’s Day, Message from the Skies sees six authors pen letters to Europe.