As part of the New Year festivities in Edinburgh, I was asked by the lovely people behind the celebrations to write about everything that goes on this time of year as part of #blogmanay. Yesterday I wrote about the breathtaking Torchlight Procession, but last night I went to the biggest jewel in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay crown – The Street Party – where tens of thousands of people descended on the city centre to mark the beginning of 2016.
This is where Edinburgh brings in the New Year quite unlike anywhere else on earth. With great music, good people and FOUR fireworks displays, this is one of the best places in the world to bring in “The Bells”.
The Princes Street Party
Arguably the biggest and most popular part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is the Princes Street Party – which sees tens of thousands of people gather in the city centre of Edinburgh to bring in the New Year. However, we don’t just stand and freeze while we wait for the midnight fireworks to start – there are lots of things to see and do to get you in the party spirit!
For the 2015/16 celebrations there were four stages, each showcasing a different genre of music so there really is something to satisfy everyone. Whether you’re into the hottest new bands, dance and funk, foot-stomping Scottish folk music or just a DJ playing some good ol’ cheese, you’re bound to find something that will get you up and dancing.
If you’re not up for a boogie, you can also have a wander round the Edinburgh’s Christmas market, which keeps its doors open for the festivities. In fact, if you’re feeling particularly brave, you could have a go on the hair-raising Star Flyer!
The Old Town Ceilidh
This was a new addition to the celebrations for 2015/16, but it seemed to go down really well so hopefully it will be back for next year! Taking place in the heart of the city’s Old Town around the grand setting of St Giles Cathedral, the Ceilidh got hundreds of people up and dancing to live traditional Scottish music.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric here, especially when the crowds had an attempt at the world’s longest “Strip the Willow” dance. At the time of writing, it’s not clear yet whether the record has been officially broken, but with a huge “Willow” that snaked all the way around West Parliament Square and down the Royal Mile, it’s probably safe to say that it has been!
The Concert in the Gardens
Taking place in the picturesque Princes Street Gardens, this is probably the highest profile part of the Street Party celebrations. Typically the Concert in the Gardens tickets sell out weeks in advance, and this year was no different thanks to an absolutely banging line-up: Honeyblood, Idlewild and legendary headliners Biffy Clyro.
Admittedly this was my first year experiencing the Concert in the Gardens, as the ticket price was usually out of my student/entry-level job budget, but I was delighted that I was able to see this year’s event. Biffy Clyro were absolutely fantastic and the setting was just breathtaking, right under the shadows of Edinburgh Castle.
The guys who organise Edinburgh’s Hogmanay alway secure a great set of performers for the Concert in the Gardens stage so if you’re think of going along next year, keep an eye out for announcements and be sure to book your tickets well in advance!
The Midnight Moment
No matter what bit of the Street Party you find yourself in, all eyes go to the Castle when the clock strikes midnight. After three “warm up” displays at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm (yes, seriously) there was an absolutely breathtaking fireworks display that lasted for around 5-10 minutes. Every year the stops are pulled out and 2015/16 was exactly the same. This bright and colourful pyrotechnic performance had everyone in the entire city spellbound.
I might be slightly biased… but in my opinion Edinburgh is one of the best places to celebrate New Year in the world. The Street Party atmosphere is second to none and should be on the bucket list of every savvy traveller. So… same time next year? 😉
This post is the second of a three part series on #blogmanay, brought to you by the lovely people behind Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Unique Events, and is supported by ETAG, Marketing Edinburgh, Rabbies Tours and co-creators Haggis Adventures. Even though I have been asked to cover these events by the organisers, it doesn’t change the fact that I think Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is rather quite good.