Thousands to set Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 19 alight at Torchlight Procession

 Thousands to set Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 19 alight at Torchlight Procession

Image credit: David Cheskin

On 30th December the historic streets of Edinburgh’s Old Town will flow with a river of fire as thousands gather for the magical Torchlight Procession, providing a suitably magical start to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. 

Families, friends, residents and visitors will join 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 this year is a 40 strong cast from Scotland’s pioneering Celtic Fire Theatre company, PyroCeltica who’s Highland Warriors showcase a dazzling array of fire skills featuring fire fans, huge flaming claymores and fire staffs, set to the booming beats of the Harbinger Drummers.

#ScotArt – Marking the conclusion of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, puts young people at the heart of the Torchlight Procession and the opening of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Following months of debate and discussion with 100s of young people across the county, the 14 incredible #ScotArt wicker sculptures capturing the pride, passion and creativity of Scotland’s young people across its regions will form the fiery heart of Scotland, creating a spectacular finale to the Year of Young People 2018 with an iconic visual moment to be shared with the world.

Scotland Outline Edinburgh Hogmanay Torchlight Procession Map
Image credit: Hogmanay

#ScotArt Young Champions who have led the nationwide youth engagement project, each carrying a banner emblazoned with their regional symbol join young pipe and drum bands at the head of the Torchlight Procession down the Royal Mile into Holyrood Park where the Procession will form the distinctive outline of Scotland lit by thousands of torches. The #ScotArt sculptures then come together to form a heart shape at the centre of this outline of Scotland. As the heart is lit, young people are placed at the country’s beating heart symbolically representing a collective national youth voice, offering symmetry to the #ScotWord project delivered to herald the arrival of 2018 and book-ending the Year of Young People events programme.

Following the grand #ScotArt collective moment, those gathered can keep warm by dancing to an evening of top entertainment, including performance from PyroCeltica, DJ Calverto, The Torches and a very special headline performance from Stephanie Cheape, Scotland’s new vixen of dark pop before the night comes to a sparkling end with fireworks lifting from Calton Hill at 9 pm.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay renews its partnership with One City Trust, donating 50 pence from every ticket sold for the Torchlight Procession to the Trust as the Torchlight Procession Charity Partner.

Image credit: Steffi Rettinger

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “The Torchlight Procession is Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s iconic opening event and this year will close the Year of Young People with ScotArt. We’re expecting tens of thousands on the Procession and as spectators. At the finale on Holyrood Park, the torchbearers will form the burning outline of Scotland and in the middle. The ScotArt sculptures, which have been designed by young people across Scotland will be put together in a heart shape and set alight. The image will rightly place young people and their creativity right at the heart of Scotland. 

“This year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has a fantastic line-up of events for young and old under the banner We Love You, a celebration of Scotland’s long-standing cultural ties with Europe. From our Concert in the Gardens headliner Franz Ferdinand to Carlos Nunez at the McEwan Hall, Massaoke at Bairns Afore to Gerry Cinnamon and Snap! at the Street Party, and the Loony Dook to our 6 writers creating love letters to Europe in Message from the Skies across the city, the programme is diverse, exciting and fresh. We look forward to welcoming you all.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “It is a special moment to lead such a breath-taking torchlight procession through Scotland ’s capital and to see people come together from all over the world to celebrate the start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. You see the city at its best and you can’t help but feel proud of its streets and its people. This year, the event has raised much-needed funds for the OneCity Trust and involved young people from all over Scotland to welcome the Year of Young People 2018. I want to thank every single young Scot involved. Well done.”

Looking forward to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 19 Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald, Event Commander for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “Police Scotland is committed to ensuring that the public have an enjoyable evening this Hogmanay but also stay safe.

“We urge members of the public to plan their evening in advance and know how they are going to get into the city centre and home again. It can be cold and windy so dressing for the likely weather conditions is important.

“To make sure you get entry to the event arena as quickly as possible, people should not bring large bags with them. There will be searches carried out so please allow time for this to happen.

“Safety is a top priority for Police Scotland and we ask revellers to act responsibly and not let their enjoyment of the evening be ruined by over-consumption of alcohol. We urge people to look after each other, family and friends.

“The Street Party is a lively occasion and our officers will provide a high-visibility presence, both within the event arena and the surrounding areas, and can be approached with any concerns or enquiries.

“On behalf of Edinburgh Division, I would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Hogmanay and New Year.”

Edinburgh's Hogmanay Loony Dook Girls
Image credit: Chris Watt

Gregory Wolverson, Met Office Advisor said, “The weather for this year’s Hogmanay celebrations is expected to be fairly settled; with it remaining mild for the time of year and mostly dry, although breezy at times. 

Sunday looks to be a nice evening for the Torchlight Procession; with conditions staying mild, fairly breezy and perhaps just a few spots of drizzle.

ogmanay itself is also likely to be mostly dry and mild for the time of year, but remember to bring some warm layers if you are outside all evening.

It should then be a nice brisk start to the new year with bright skies and turning a little cooler; perfect conditions for the Loony Dookers!”

Year of Young People 2018 is a celebration of Scotland’s incredible young people, while giving them a lounder platform for their voices to be heard.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is supported by City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland International Events Programme and Scotland’s Winter Festivals Fund and the Year of Young People 2018 Events fund and Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Festivals Expo Fund, all working together to create a bold new Hogmanay for Scotland.

Main image credit: David Cheskin