Release your party animal!

The full programme of events and street party line up have been announced for Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2015/16.

edinburgh s hogmanay
Edinburgh' Hogmanay - Credit Lloyd Smith

This year's three-day event will invite revellers to ‘Release Your Party Animal’ and come to Edinburgh to enjoy the best New Year’s party on the planet.

Unique Events, who have produced Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council since 1993, have announced the Street Party line-up and full details of the festival which takes place from Wednesday 30 December 2015 to Friday 1 January 2016.

Edinburgh is the ‘Home of Hogmanay’, and organisers are expecting another sell-out event, welcoming 150,000 visitors to Scotland’s capital city over the three days, bringing an estimated economic benefit of over £40 million to the city (figures based on 2014/15 event). Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a key part of Scotland’s Winter Festivals celebrations.

The celebrations launch on Wednesday 30 December with the family-friendly Torchlight Procession as 10,000 torchbearers wind their way through the city streets lined with tens of thousands of spectators. The Procession, which is supported by EventScotland, will move from George IV Bridge towards the finale of the Son et Lumière display on Calton Hill which can be viewed from across the city and from the streets surrounding the hill. Access to Calton Hill will be exclusively available for torchbearers and their accompanying friends and family.

On Thursday 31 December, the musical line-up across the seven stages in the centre of the city promises to deliver an exhilarating party soundtrack for the anticipated 75,000 revellers. The flagship Concert in the Gardens (which sold out in a record 10 days) features headliners Biffy Clyro making their only UK appearance this year who are joined by very special guests Idlewild and Honeyblood for a very strong all-Scottish line-up.

There’s a new look to the world famous Street Party with an additional stage and screens, expanded entertainment zones and dedicated ‘Food & Drink Villages’. The Waverley Stage (Indie) will be headlined by Newcastle alt-rock band and Mercury Prize nominees Maxïmo Park, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their seminal debut album ‘A Certain Trigger’ with special guests, energetic punk duo Slaves and Glasgow funk outfit, the hotly tipped White.

Maxïmo Park said, “Where better to spend New Year's Eve than the Home of Hogmanay?! Edinburgh is a spectacular city at the best of times, but it undoubtedly outdoes itself at the turn of the year. The Street Party will be a double celebration for our band as it's ten years since our debut album came out, which guarantees a party mood.”

The new Castle Stage (Scottish) features performances from leading Scottish Celtic crossover bands Rura, Peatbog Faeries and a special 25th anniversary performance from Shooglenifty.

The Frederick Stage (Party) provides the soundtrack to the whole Street Party with DJ sets from BBC 6 Music’sCraig Charles, who presents his ‘Funk n’ Soul Show’, alongside Edinburgh’s own Simon Hodge. VJ’s Buttercup and Pixels mix cutting-edge visuals to accompany the dance tunes which are relayed on seven screens along the length of Princes Street and throughout the Street Party arena.

The Mound Stage (Cabaret), which alters position this year, features the Guilty Pleasures cabaret performers, fresh from their sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August. Guilty Pleasures offers a heart-thumping, show-stopping, disco-dancing, rollercoaster of a night’s entertainment featuring DJ’s, dancers, performers and audience participation.

The perfect ending to the event calendar for the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has signed up to Scotland’s Food Charter for Events. Organisers have created new refreshment and break-out areas around the Street Party arena including Market Street and the West End of Princes Street. The Mound Precinct, leading into East Princes Street Gardens, offers a food and drink experience, with retailers from the Edinburgh’s Christmas European Market on hand with a feast of cuisine beneath the exhilarating Star Flyer and Big Wheel attractions, offering revellers a sky-high view of the capital.

A new event for 2016 sees the annual sell-out ‘Keilidh’ move into its own exclusive outdoor arena on the Royal Mile to become ‘The Old Town Ceilidh’. The UK’s biggest outdoor ceilidh event becomes even bigger, with two live stages featuring the best in traditional Scottish music with performances from Cask Strength Ceilidh Band, Whisky Kiss, Ceilidhdonia and Sporran Again and ‘Ceilidh Makers’ will be on hand to make sure everyone knows the moves. Participants will also join together at 11.00pm to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the ‘World’s Longest Strip the Willow’. (The current record for the world’s biggest outdoor dance is already held by the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Festival.) Those wishing to participate in the record attempt should wear traditional dress – a kilt, tartan trews or a sash. The Old Town Ceilidh is expected to be a huge hit with the many overseas visitors to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and will feature its own Midnight Moment.

New Year revellers across Edinburgh and beyond will enjoy a feast of fireworks with countdown displays on the hour from 9.00pm, rising to the crescendo of the spectacular Midnight Moment as the fireworks lift from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. (The Castle display is extended east this year for the Ceilidh revellers in the Royal Mile.) The fireworks are followed by the world’s largest rendition of Auld Lang Syne as old friends and new join hands across the arena to sing Burns’ universal New Year anthem.

All stages are live from 9.00pm to 1.00am but the party starts from 7.00pm throughout the Street Party arena.

Free Hogmanay NightBus Services will once again run throughout the capital for revellers supported by sponsors Diageo and Lothian Buses. A much welcome journey home at the end of the festivities is part of the Join the Pact global responsible drinking initiative from Johnnie Walker which has secured over one million personal commitments from people across the world to never to drink and drive.

On Friday 1 January 2016 the ‘Stoats Loony Dook’ celebrates its 30th anniversary and sees 1,250 ‘Dookers’ in fancy dress, ranging from the weird to the wonderful, welcome the New Year with a dip in the River Forth at South Queensferry. Thousands of spectators are expected to line the streets to watch the Dookers parade through the town before plunging into the chilly water under the shadow of the world famous Forth Bridges. This year the event is supported by Stoats, who’ll be there on the day, warming everyone up with free bowls of energising porridge, giveaways and a fabulous fancy dress competition. Registration for the event is now open at £10.00 (includes £1 booking fee and a 10% donation to the South Queensferry branch of the RNLI.).

On New Year’s Day, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay presents Scot:Lands – incredible new worlds hidden in beautiful buildings and outdoor spaces in the city’s Old Town, where audiences can discover the very best in music, art and theatre, created and curated by Scotland’s most innovative artists, arts organisations and musicians: a festival in itself – all free. Scot:Lands is supported by the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund and the full programme will be in early November.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Festivals and Events Champion at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations continue to be the envy of the world and once again we’re going to be THE city to be in to bring in the bells. The countdown to this New Year will have a distinctly Scottish feel with scores of home-grown musical talent and the striking Old Town featuring as the setting for the new ‘Old Town Ceilidh’, where revellers will be tested to perform the longest Strip the Willow dance in the world. As part of the event’s new-look layout, the bigger arena will help revellers to sample this year’s abundance of live entertainment. From the Torchlight Procession straight through to the Street Party’s fireworks on the hour every hour and the Loony Dook on 1 January, the 2015/16 three day event will be spectacular.”

The Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said: “We are the home of Hogmanay and there is nowhere in the world that celebrates New Year like the Scots. As the bells strike midnight the eyes of the world turn to Edinburgh and Scotland and I warmly invite people from near and far to visit and join the celebrations. Attracting over 150,000 visitors - and with many thousands more watching from home - Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a key event within Scotland’s Winter Festivals and our world leading programme of festivals. As well as benefitting our economy, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay promotes Scotland as an all year round visitor destination and marks the start of 2016, our Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

“This year’s programme demonstrates Edinburgh's cultural vitality and rich heritage. It’s fantastic to see community events like the Torchlight Procession and the Loony Dook going from strength to strength. Scot:Lands also returns this year after record levels of participants last New Year’s Day. We will be supporting this exciting cross-genre programme of events again this year through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.”

Pete Irvine, Director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said, “Today we announce the strongest line-up we’ve ever had at the Street Party and with a big Scottish presence. Each stage offers decidedly different music and the whole party will get down (and up) to a funk and soul classic soundtrack from Craig Charles on the Frederick Party Stage, broadcast on seven screens.

This year we go full Hogmanay circle, back to the Royal Mile for the new “Old Town Ceilidh” – stages, screens, bars, fireworks and dancin’ in the street around the Cathedral in an unforgettable Scottish experience. We’ll be encouraging everybody to help us break the world record for the biggest outdoor dance which we set on 30 December 2000. So, join us at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and release your party animal.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is an incredibly important occasion for Scotland, helping to promote our reputation as the perfect stage for events and Edinburgh as the world’s leading festival city to a global audience. The festival continues to grow each year and the 2015/16 programme of events looks set to be the strongest yet, with more than 150,000 visitors expected to take to the streets of the capital over the course of three days. I can think of no better way to welcome in the New Year than what is sure to be a grand celebration of Scotland’s rich cultural heritage, supported by some of our finest performers and artists.”

The award-winning social media campaign #Blogmanay returns to showcase the unique experience of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, whilst using the festival as a gateway to explore and discover the delights of visiting Scotland, the ‘Home of Hogmanay’ in winter. Locals, visitors, businesses and attractions across the city and beyond will be producing a huge bank of live digital content – blogs, reviews, videos, photographs and tweets, highlighting Edinburgh & Scotland as a premier winter destination. This year guest bloggers will be joining #Blogmanay from across Europe, North America and China to experience the very best of Scotland as part of the award-winning campaign, which since 2013 has generated over 225 million twitter impressions.

This year Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has partnered with Unicef, the world's leading children's organisation, to raise vital funds for their work to protect children affected by disasters and conflicts, like the one in Syria. Ticketholders will have the chance to be part of the first ever New Year's 'Big Resolution' – a unifying moment to help keep vulnerable children safe from danger.

Tickets for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Concert in the Gardens are already sold-out. Tickets for the world famous Street Party, The Old Town Ceilidh, and pre-booked Torches for the Torchlight Procession, are on sale now.

Street Party tickets are priced at £25.00 (including booking fee).

Early bird tickets for EH postcode residents are still available at £19.00 (including booking fee).

Old Town Ceilidh Tickets are priced at £45.00 (including Booking Fee).

Torches for the Torchlight procession can be pre-booked (priced at £10.00)

And registration for the Stoats Loony Dook is also open (£10.00 including booking fee and 10% donation to the South Queensferry branch of the RNLI).

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is produced on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council by Unique Events, working with partners Underbelly who present Edinburgh’s Christmas attractions and events. 

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