New Year in Edinburgh: The Hogmanay ’19 review

by Ana Blinstrubaite

New Years Eve

Since I had never been to a street party before, I had no idea what to expect from what was meant to be the largest street party in the world!

Now, however, I can officially say I’ll be going every year!

Early in the day, we headed over to meet Franz Ferdinand at their pre-gig press conference. They were set to headline Edinburgh’s Concert in the Gardens.

Frontman Alex Kapranos told us “there is no party like a party in Scotland!” and he couldn’t have been more right.

Scotland’s favourite indie band recently finished the tour following the release of their latest album (Always Ascending) last February, and were now about to headline Edinburgh’s Hogmanay for the very first time!

Talking to the executive producer of the festival Martin Green, new band member Miaoux Miaoux seemed more than excited about the event.

He added that they couldn’t have imagined a better way to greet the new year as this would be one of the biggest crowds they have ever had to perform to.

Franz Ferdinand at the Concert in the Gardens later that night

The BBC reported that over 160,000 people were expected to descend on the city for Hogmanay ’19. The street party was a 60,000 ticket sell-out, and 10,000 attended the Concert in the Gardens.

Whilst the street party was scheduled to start at 19:30, the city started celebrating with the Bairns Afore event at the West Princes Street Gardens.

This was an early firework display dedicated to families with children. As you can imagine, by the time it was half 7, thousands of revellers were more than ready to enter the chaotic world of Johnnie Walkers Street Party.

The street party was hosted by Love Island’s Aftersun DJs the Mac Twins, Vistas, Gerry Cinnamon, Snap!, DJ Trendy Wendy, Miracle Glass Company and more!

Franz Ferdinand’s headline set was supported by Metronomy and Free Love.

Metronomy at the Concert in the Gardens

I have been to so many summer music festivals but have genuinely never seen anything like this.

Among the street party attendees was a collaboration of street artistry – reminding me of Boomtown’s actors and productions were stilted figures and flat dancers.

We spent our last hours of 2018 by the Waverley Stage – the likes of Vistas and Gerry Cinnamon provided the greatest mood for the occasion. The crowd were genuinely loving every part of it.

Gerry Cinammon

As the bell struck midnight everyone joined in for the legendary Auld Lang Syne. A mesmerizing fireworks display was accompanied by the beats of a German techno band called Meute.

Midnight moment at Concert in the Gardens

The celebrations then continued throughout Princes Street as thousands of people danced around and wished random strangers a Happy New Years Eve.

I’d say overall, the night was a HUGE success! I’m forever grateful to have experienced this and wish for all my friends, family and readers to make their way to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay next year!

New Years Day

As I woke up with the worst hangover ever, I realised that I had missed the traditional Loony Dook – I guess this is something I can save for next year.

At the Loony Dook, the bravest and boldest that did manage to attend made their way into the waters of the Firth of Forth.

I did however, make it to the incredible performance of Capercaillie.

A collaboration of the most traditional sounds, not something I imagine most people my age being overly excited about, but the crowd were loving it and I think my parents would have loved it just as much.

Galician multi-instrumentalist Carlos Nunez was the following act at McEwan Hall with a totally immersive performance.

Him and his fellow band mates not only created a time-travelling production of traditional folk sounds but managed to get the audience on their feet, dancing along to a multitude of Spanish melodies.

Overall, I would say Edinburgh’s Hogmanay provides an exceptional atmosphere for people of quite literally any age.

After speaking to some of my friends I realised that some of them didn’t bother buying tickets in favour of what they thought they could witness for free from George Street or the Royal Mile.

This of course, wasn’t the case. They reported back to me saying they couldn’t see most of the fireworks and that they wish they had bought the tickets.

I would definitely advise anyone who is festival crazy like myself to just simply go for it!

It is worth every penny; for those worried about how much drink you’re allowed to bring through, no questions were asked as long as you were using plastic bottles. And trust me, there is something for everyone.

Prior to the event, I was worried that it would be way too busy. I’d been warned to stay away from Princes Street (how ironic, I know). I thought that it would be impossible to get through the crowds, and don’t get me wrong there were loads of people, but this definitely wasn’t a problem. So if you’re planning on going next year, bring your friends and your drinks and definitely don’t hesitate.

I think the only issue that concerned me had to be finding a toilet – I mean if you’re drinking and making your way through the crowds when you need to pee, you need to pee! So if anyone plans on going next year definitely keep in mind that the festival covers a VERY large area. If you’re stuck at the front of the stage and end up needing to use the toilet, like me you’ll be dragged over the pit and end up having to walk all the way back round!

Apart from that, I loved every second of it and look forward to Hogmanay 2020!

Missed our Hogmanay day one review? Hogmanay kicked off on Sunday 30th December with some amazing events including Symphonic Ibiza and the torchlit procession.

Image credits: Hogmanay

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