BE TOGETHER! That is the invitation issued today to residents and visitors, to friends old and new by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay organisers as they announce a raft of top artists, musicians, authors, puppeteers, street performers, drummers and superstar DJs from Scotland and across the world as part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. Be Together is more than an invitation, it’s the core thematic that runs throughout the 2019 programme which explores Scotland and Edinburgh’s relationship with itself and the rest of the world as the international spotlight shines on Scotland’s capital.
Marking the 27th edition of the world’s best New Year Party, the three-day festival combines much loved Scottish traditions with the very best contemporary artists and acts from across the world in Edinburgh, the home of Hogmanay. Celebrations are officially ignited on the 30th December with the iconic Torchlight Procession in partnership with VisitScotland, the family friendly event which sees a cast of thousands joined by pipers, drummers and fire performers to forge a river of light through Edinburgh’s historic heart, culminating in Holyrood Park. Following recent tradition, torchbearers will collectively gather in formation in Holyrood Park to create the outline of a hugely symbolic image of two people joining hands, captured from the air and beamed across the world. There is also a platform for local bands to entertain the crowds in Holyrood Park, culminating in a stunning fireworks display.
50p from every ticket to the Torchlight Procession will be donated to OneCity Trust, a charity so important in fighting inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh. McEwan Hall hosts Hogmanay over the three days of the festival, opening with last year’s smash hit Symphonic Ibiza. DJ Andy Joyce returns to Edinburgh with the live 20 piece Scottish Pops Orchestra to put a new spin on famous Ibiza club anthems on 30th December.
As the main events get underway on the 31st December, families have the chance to celebrate their own Hogmanay in the early evening with Bairns Afore which this year is headlined by legendary comic duo, heroes of children’s TV, Dick and Dom! Dick V Dom DJ Battle sees the quadruple BAFTA Award winning hosts behind the decks as they battle it out to see whose TUNES are the best! The 60-minute musical battle culminates in its very own spectacular ‘midnight’ fireworks moment… at 6pm, allowing families to take their children home to bed before the late-night revelling gets underway.
Edinburgh’s world-famous Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker, directed by Bradley Hemmings (London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony, Greenwich & Docklands International Festival) features a non-stop six hour party as Princes Street is transformed and animated by a host of international, UK and Scottish artists. Collaboration and artistic exchange remain at the heart of the festival as Scottish companies work alongside European acts to create bold new performances, as supported by Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council’s PLACE fund. Edinburgh’s Circus Alba will join forces with French multi-disciplinary immersive experience Compagnie Remue Ménage to create new performance work to delight and enthral Street partygoers. In another international exchange, Edinburgh’s Harbingers Drum Crew collaborate with Germany’s ‘Gentle Giants of Light’, Dundu to produce a unique street performance which fuses puppetry, sound and light.
Netherland’s street theatre company, Close-Act Theatre brings its distinctive ‘i-Puppets’ to cut a path through the street, offering the perfect selfie opportunity! Also joining the international showcase is France’s Picto Facto, providing ‘a stroll between nonsense and fantasy’ with spectacular illuminated inflatable creations taking to the street. The UK’s Avant Garde Dance Company brings the forefront of London’s innovative Hip Hop/ Contemporary Dance scene to Edinburgh featuring the company’s distinctive dynamic performance which mixes a myriad of disciplines in an energetic performance. Also from the UK, vanguards of contemporary juggling, Gandini Juggling brings its ground-breaking style demonstrated by a virtuosic ensemble of radical jugglers who seamlessly intertwine the most innovative contemporary juggling with fresh theatrical performance.
No Street Party would be complete of course without a brilliantly eclectic music line-up, featuring the best Scottish and UK talent to keep the party going all night long!
The legendary Marc Almond headlines the Waverley Stage this year. The hugely popular singer-songwriter will perform a selection of his greatest hits with his band.
Opening for Marc is a young singer-songwriter from Fort William, Keir Gibson whose excellent debut single Eyes Wide is creating waves already. We’re also delighted to welcomeThe Ninth Wave, frontrunners of Glasgow’s indie/glam movement, with triumphant sets at Isle of Wight, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Jocktoberfest, HebCelt and King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution. After Marc Almond takes us up to The Bells, Edinburgh’s good-time ska godfathers PorkPie take the stage after midnight to keep the party going
The Johnnie Walker Stage plays host to Hogmanay regular The Great Calverto, opening for Radio 1 DJ and presenter of Love Island: The Morning After, Glasgow bornArielle Free – followed by the return of the Mac Twins after last year’s triumphant set no one wanted to end, taking us through The Bells and into 2020.
The new High Street stage features an all Scottish line up. After a special guest opener, Scottish indie rock heroes Idlewild, now cultural icons, play a set of greatest hits and new material before the high energy of The Snuts – with their great live performances and massive indie tunes, word about the West Lothian foursome is spreading like wildfire. After midnight get ready for the Edinburgh-based six-piece Celtic fusion band Shooglenifty with sounds ranging from electronica to alt rock.
After a hugely successful Hogmanay debut last year, the Silent Disco returns to Market Street offering Street Partygoers the chance to don their headsets and dance the night away to two channels of top tunes!
Edinburgh’s own, The Mac Twins also return as Hogmanay Hosts to keep partygoers on track through the night and to guide revellers through the packed programme of music and street performance from the minute they step through the gates at 7:30pm until Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Lone Piper, Louise Marshall sounds the end of the celebrations and pipes audiences out and away safely home.
Johnnie Walker returns as sponsor of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Street Party, this year sees each ticket holder over the age of 18 receive a welcome Johnnie Walker Premix Highball Cocktail.
50p from every Street Party ticket sold will be donated to the Brain Tumour Charity, an organisation Underbelly raises money for year-round, and for which it raised over £40,000 this summer. Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer for children and adults under 40 and increased funding for research is desperately needed. Around 500 children and young people in the UK are diagnosed each year but diagnosis times of childhood brain tumours are longer in the UK than in many other countries. The Brain Tumour Charity’s HeadSmart campaign aims to reduce brain tumour and brain cancer diagnosis times to four weeks or less.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay headline act, Academy Award, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning artist, DJ and producer, Mark Ronson is set not only to become the first ever DJ to headline the concert in the gardens but will also create a new soundtrack to accompany the world famous Midnight Moment fireworks as they explode spectacularly from Edinburgh Castle and welcome 2020 in banging style!
For those who fancy joining hands with friends old and new for a traditional fling, Ceilidh under the Castle returns to what is arguably the best possible ceilidh location in the world in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. A selection of Scotland’s best ceilidh bands – Sleekit Beasties, Skyte! And Cool Ceol Ceilidh Band – will keep audiences warm and spinning all the way up to the Midnight Moment fireworks, and what better way to celebrate Hogmanay in true Scottish fashion.
The magical and much-loved Candlelit Concert in St Giles’ Cathedral returns on the 31st December with a baroque theme including Bach’s stunning Christmas Oratorio and Vivaldi’s sparkling Dixit Dominus.
A new addition to the line-up on 31st December is a superb programme of events at the stunning McEwan Hall. For those who are keen to get the party started early and join in with celebrations on the other side of the world, G’Day 2020 with internationally renowned soul singer with hits such as the monster summer track ‘This Girl’, Kylie Auldist gets the party started at 11.30am to coincide with the celebrations in Australia. Continuing the celebration in proper big band style is Ronnie Scott’s Big Band in Concert featuringLiane Carroll, one of the UK’s finest jazz singers, ticket holders can also enjoy the Street Party, if they have the energy! For those eager to keep the party going after The Bells have fallen silent, there’s the first Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Official Afterparty, with a late-night set from international music producer and DJ Judge Jules.
As New Year’s Day dawns, and Scotland’s celebratory Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 begins, what better way to clear any foggy heads from the night before than with a swift dip in the Firth of Forth?! The much loved, long held traditional Loony Dook returns to the beautiful shores of South Queensferry which sees thousands of brave souls decked out in the finest fancy dress take the plunge into the icy waters to welcome in the New Year, raising thousands of pounds for a range of charities in the process.
Back in Edinburgh, the cultural celebrations continue at Edinburgh’s majestic McEwan Hallas the collaboration with Celtic Connections which began last year, continues with Eddi Reader. Following last year’s success, the First Footers Family Ceilidh, a free of charge family Ceilidh also returns to McEwan Hall from 11.30am on the 1st.
As dusk falls on January 1st Message from the Skies returns to illuminate Edinburgh’s buildings, streets and monuments until Burns Night on the 25th January 2020, this year taking inspiration from Scotland’s coasts and waters and looking at the central role they’ve had and continue to have in moulding Scottish identity. Marking the beginning of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, Message from the Skies 2020 sees five Scottish authors; Charlotte Runcie, Irvine Welsh, Kathleen Jamie, Kayus Bankole and Robin Robertson pen a love letter to Scotland, exploring how we regard ourselves as a coastal nation while considering how the world sees us. The letter will be a living letter, animated and brought to life through a set of new and unique collaborations with composers, visual artists and artists working to realise the letters in live animation which will then be projected across the city.
Alongside the main project, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will run a competition for schools, offering schoolchildren the opportunity to contribute their own letters, with four winners seeing their work writ large in their home city for an hour before the main project goes live each evening.
Message from the Skies is commissioned and presented by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, produced by Underbelly in partnership with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, and funded by Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals EXPO Fund.
As part of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, and alongside efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the festival itself, in a first for the Edinburgh Festivals, we are inviting our audiences to offset their journey to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in 2019. All donations to the environmental fund, which are calculated in accordance with the method of transport and length of journey, are made at the point of purchase when booking tickets via edinburghshogmanay.com and will be used to create new woodlands in Scotland in partnership with Forest Carbon. All woodlands are independently audited and certified under the UK Woodland Carbon Code.
Edinburgh is the world’s festival city with internationally renowned festivals year-round and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicks them off at the beginning of every year.
Underbelly was awarded the contract by City of Edinburgh Council to produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in 2017 and this is the third event under its direction. Underbelly was born out of Edinburgh, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000, and is well-known in Edinburgh already for its purple cow shaped Fringe presence and a successful six years of Edinburgh’s Christmas. Underbelly produces major outdoor events across the world including West End Live in London.
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2019 is supported by City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland’s International Events Programme, Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council’s PLACE fund and Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals EXPO fund, all working together to create a bold new Hogmanay for Scotland.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “Be bold. Be adventurous. Be here. And be together! For many years Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has seen residents and visitors from across the world come together to welcome in New Year in a wonderful and important cultural celebration.
“This year we are extremely excited that international superstar DJ Mark Ronson has created a soundtrack especially for the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay world famous midnight fireworks, as well as headlining Hogmanay in the Gardens. Rocking the Street Party will be the very best of Scottish talent, from The Snuts and Idlewild to Edinburgh’s own Mac Twins. And again the streets will be animated and transformed by some of the most exciting street performance companies from Scotland and Europe, working on a hugely exciting collaboration as supported by Scottish Government and City of Edinburgh Council’s PLACE Fund. The McEwan Hall plays a starring role throughout and we are delighted to continue our partnership with Celtic Connections, welcoming Eddi Reader on 1st of January. Message from the Skies returns to illuminate our winter nights with five unique collaborations between writers, artists and composers including Irvine Welsh and Kayus Bankole.
“As we continue work to reduce our carbon impact, we are pleased to become the first of Edinburgh’s Festivals to offer audiences the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint of visiting Edinburgh’s Hogmanay as part of an important new partnership with Forest Carbon. We are also hugely proud to continue our support of vital charities in Edinburgh and across the UK, including OneCity Trust, the RNLI and The Brain Tumour Charity.”
Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development Ben Macpherson said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is one of the cornerstones of Scotland’s Winter Festivals, enhancing our worldwide reputation as one of the greatest cities to start the New Year in.
“The Scottish Government is a long-time supporter of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, working with partners to ensure it continues to have the same massive international reach and demonstrates Scotland’s values of fairness, diversity and inclusion, as well as our unique culture.”
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay truly remains the place to be to ring in the new year and this year’s exciting programme is no exception.
“An internationally-acclaimed event, Hogmanay draws crowds from across the world but also remains uniquely ours. It brings new entertainment and attractions but also continues to honour our long-held traditions. So, whether you join the Torchlight Procession, spend your midnight moment as part of the biggest and best Street Party in the world or if you begin the next decade with a brave Loony Dook. Make sure to be here, be part of it and be together.”
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and we are delighted to be working in partnership with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on the Torchlight Procession. As ever the Torchlight Procession marks the start of the global New Year celebrations inviting visitors and locals alike to be part of this uniquely Scottish celebration of Hogmanay.
“Along with the wider programme, including this year’s special celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 during the Loony Dook and Message from the Skies, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is an amazing three days of fantastic events and festivities that reinforces the city’s reputation as the world-leading festival city.”
Nick Barley, Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival, said: “Message from the Skies has become an integral part of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations and we have once again enjoyed the challenge of selecting some wonderful Scottish writers whose words will light up the city in the dark days of January.”
Ewan Andrew, Managing Director of Diageo International Supply Centre said: “We are thrilled that Johnnie Walker will host the Street Party again this year as part of the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of Johnnie Walker and what better way to celebrate going into a new year than by welcoming visitors and locals to toast the year ahead together.”