EDINBURGH’S HOGMANAY CELEBRATED 25th ANNIVERSARY WITH... ‘THE BEST STREET PARTY EVER’ WITH HEADLINE PERFORMANCE FROM 'RAG 'N' BONE MAN' AND EXTENDED STUNNING MIDNIGHT FIREWORKS DISPLAY WITH THE SPECIAL NITEWORKS SOUNDTRACK!'
From dusk till dawn, transforming Scotland’s Capital for one night only, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is back. Crowds of locals, and those just visiting for the day bustling through events within Princes Street Gardens to unite in the celebrations for one night only. Fun for all the family with a range of events, from baby disco to Edinburgh’s greatly coveted street party - marking the 25th anniversary of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in style.
Let there be light, with an innovative torchlight procession. Edinburgh was taken by storm on the 30th December. Princes Street was shut off for this event, much to the inconvenience of many locals who had difficulty in their usual routes getting home. The swarm of torch bearers dominated the streets, within high spirits to spell out the word ‘Braw’. This new edition to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay proved a hit, it allowed the heart of Scotland to be visible for the world to see. It was lit.
Festivities were continued with the help of a charismatic host Sanjeev Kohli. A permanent career in the spotlight would serve this gentleman well, a real life diamond in the ruff. Projected onto big screens across the event, sporting fetching pink tartan, Sanjeev effectively guided us through the progression. Bouncing from different crowds, with humour in tow, he was a true ray of sunshine on a bitter night. An excellent example being how enjoyable he made the Ceilidh under the Stars. Couples, family and friends having the courage to dance on the big screen with his encouragement – only he could make doing the polka a new craze!
We can’t see Edinburgh’s Hogmanay without taking a look at all of the live acts of course. The music sets the foundations for a lively atmosphere. The Concert in the Gardens was set to be a triumph. I am happy to say I was more than happy with how everything turned out on the night. As always The Concert In The Gardens sold-out, The acts as follows were Nina Nesbitt performing at nine, Declan McKenna at ten past ten and closing with Rag’N’Bone Man at half past eleven.
Let’s start with Nina, not a bad performance all round. Arriving promptly, Nina introduced the crowd to a glimmer of her new upcoming album ‘Modern Love’. I could describe it only as fitting that her first song ‘The Moments I’m Missing’ was performed in and written about Edinburgh. Growing up in Balerno, an Edinburgh local, she was home. First debuted exclusively for The Brits in June 2017. The emotional depth in her performance was enriched once she moved onto ‘The Best You Had’ and ‘Empire’. Both having a hidden deeper meaning, the first being based on moving on from a relationship but remaining on your ex partner’s pedestal. The second, is about having a crazy, wild dream that you’ll do anything to achieve and having to face the harsh setbacks. ‘Empire’ was written to empower, listening to this song will make you feel like you can do anything. Despite the excellent set of six songs Nina performed, there was a downfall to her performance. Whilst closing with ‘Somebody Special’ her intention being for the crowd to join in with a singalong. With spirits soaring, success was slowly, but surely achieved. For a young musician, this shows quite a power to captivate her audience. A major well done is deserved for closing her set In the best possible way.
Declan followed Nina’s crowd pleasing tactics, by catapulting himself off stage and running to meet his fans. As a supporting act, he gave a lively performance. Mckenna said it himself on stage “A friend of mine said to me, I only have one well known song”. Declan was having a small problem with how cold his hands were getting and trying to play guitar, but he soldiered on and did not allow it to alter his performance. For a musician so early in their career, he has come on leaps and bounds. Declan is definitely a required taste, I’d be happy to see playing at Wickerman or Glastonbury in the future. His stage presence was strong. He came out looking a little nervous, but soon settled in with his band. Jamming out on his golden guitar, he seemed content enough. The black and gold simplicity of his stage set up, looked glamourous and once completed, it was understandable the duration it took to create the slick minimalism.
After a lengthily intermission from deconstructing Declan McKenna’s stage, this year’s headline act had arrived. “I NEVER get to play a New Year’s Eve gig and the first one is in f***in’ Edinburgh,” marvelled Rory Graham – aka Rag ‘n’ Bone Man said as he approached the stage to beaming fans of his. For him, you could tell this was the moment he had made it in his career, almost as if this was a childhood dream of his to perform to such a large crowd on a tremendous occasion. His set included ‘Grace’ and ‘Skin’ as well as ‘Human’ (his most renowned tracks). He sang each song the only way he knew how, by giving it everything. His music is as deep as the ocean, in turn as were his vocals. Particularly when singing ‘Grace’ it was evident to see the smouldering tones within his vocal belt, reaching highs and oozing slowly to create depth. I believe Rag'n'Bone Man was big enough to be this year’s headliner, as he brought in a wider audience. It’s usually a rarity to see the older generation getting into the music scene, so it definitely added a pleasant surprise for me.
Also other music across Event Arena in legendary Street Party took place with a fantastic line up of bands across the three stages in the Street Party arena included Sacred Paws, a lively dance set from Niteworks and Human League who drew a bumper crowd to the Waverley Stage, Barns Courtney, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5 and Treacherous Orchestra on the East End Stage, the Mac Twins and Huey Morgan who got the crowd jumping at the fantastic new Castle Street DJ pod.
Finally the big moment arives.... Bam, bang, Boom… the fireworks are set off at midnight. Tradition dictates the perfect ending to a phenomenal night. The countdown ticking, party goers all gathered round to get an idyllic view of the different colours and shapes exploding. Shades of emerald green to candy pink, the people of Edinburgh in awe. Undeniably making the annual event all the worthwhile. Many Edinburgh locals took to Arthur’s Seat, in order to enjoy the display even further. Those watching on from the street party were still luckily able to capture an invaluable view. A real community was built here tonight, and I can say I was there.
The stunning fireworks display can be rewatched below:
This year's festival was a success as has been in previous years. We can't wait for next year's festival already. It was also a global success for new event promoters 'Underbelly' who took over from Unique Events this year.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of City of Edinburgh Council said:
“The day started with a storm and ended with a bang – without a doubt this was the BEST PARTY EVER. Our 9 minutes fireworks choreographed to Niteworks’ and Dan Jones’ score was truly spectacular and who will forget Rag’n’Bone man leading 75,000 in Auld Lang Syne? What a special way to ring in 2018.
“We’re particularly proud of the first Bairns Afore event – it was quite magical to see families looking up and enjoying their very own midnight moment together and at 6pm in the evening!
“Our specially built DJ booth had crowds dancing in the street and under the Mac Twins and Huey Morgan right through to the wee small hours.
“It’s been spectacular and we’d like to thank all those who came and made the party such a great night for Edinburgh and Scotland.
“We’re tired and happy but tomorrow morning we will be flinging ourselves into the River Forth for the Loony Dook. It’s going to be braw!”