Having spent a whole summer visiting many festivals far and wide through out the UK, this year I decided to swap my annual New Year's Eve plans, which normally consist of sitting at home with a multi pack of beers and Jools Holland's yearly Hootananny, swapping this for the daddy of new years festivals and one of the biggest inner city festivals on the planet, Edinburgh's annual Hogmanay celebrations. With a reputation you cannot buy, folk law always states that this really is THE place to be when the clock strikes 12.
It was clear to see that the Hogmanay Party was strong as soon as i boarded my train at Crewe Station, people were dressed ready for a big night, and were starting to get warmed up for it, the vibe was warm friendly and mainly slightly tipsy, i pulled into Waverley station, and exited the station to a huge 'festival' security style fence blocking off the whole of Princes Street, for those of you who have never visited Edinburgh before, this is the main shopping street and throughfare of the city centre, to gain entrance into the Hogmanay street party you must obtain a street party ticket, 25 pounds entitles you to enter the vast street party which runs the length of princes street, all of the christmas markets in Waverley gardens and all of the adjoining streets, 3 of which host major stages, providing a great array of acts to accomodate most music tastes.
The main stage on Waverley Bridge was this year to host The Charlatans, elsewhere Ceilidhs, jazz stages and festival favourite djs, Guilty Pleasures where to be found entertaining huge crowds, all in all 75,000 tickets are sold for this gigantic event.
The headliner of the whole evening however was left for a Scottish native star, on the Concert In The Gardens stage, the honours to ring in the New Year were left to Paolo Nutini. To access this concert you had to buy a Concert In The Gardens ticket, this is the only area you cannot access with a standard Hogmanay ticket.
I spent most of my evening wondering and searching every corner of the street party, the Old Town Ceilidh was one of my favourite experiences, with young and old dancing together, faces new and old coming together to welcome the new year together as one.
Due to the mass of people, i would not advise people to come with aspirations of seeing many acts, due to the time it takes to move around, its best enjoyed finding a great spot where you can get a spectacular view of the castle for the hourly fireworks. Edinburgh doesnt belive in one set of spectacular fireworks, they start at 9pm, on the hour every hour building the excitement. After seeking out the spot i would like to see in the new year,i nipped off to watch the start of Paolo Nutini. It was clear to see that the chance to headline Hogmanay was a huge deal to Nutini, entering the stage at 11.20, looking humbled and gracious, he didn't mess around, opening with recent hit, 'Funk My Life Up' and firing through a salvo. After 20 minutes of his set i headed back to Waverley Bridge, where The Charlatans had just started their 15 minute break, all the music stops 5 minutes before midnight, as the countdown is started.
As the clock struck midnight, the night sky above the imposing castle turned into a fiery inferno full of nothing but magic, with a wonderful soundtrack mixed full of many of the artists sadly taken away in 2016. After a mesmerising 10 minute display and a huge singalong to Queens 'Don't Stop Me Now' The Charlatans re-entered the stage for a further 40 minutes. I decided to leave after 20 minutes to avoid a bit of the human traffic en route to find the night bus, all of which are free covering Hogmanay night.
All in all i would recomend Hogmanay to anybody to come and discover and enjoy, there really is something for everyone!
Just the one complaint though i didn't hear Auld Lang Syne once!
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tickets on sale at 9am Tuesday 12th September