Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival will feature a giant aerial ‘We love you’ message to Europe as organisers include a not so subtle reference to Brexit in this year’s annual New Year’s celebration.

In an image which is certain to be beamed around the world, producers Underbelly have decided to invoke Scotland’s cultural, social and historic ties to the continent in the run-up to the UK leaving the EU.

The message will be visible from the sky at the culmination of the popular torchlight parade, which yearly produces some of the most memorable shots of the festival.

Organisers said in a release announcing the full line-up for the event, which attracts 60,000 people to the capital: “Although 1 January 2019 marks the start of the year in which Scotland may leave the EU, we remain part of Europe and so Hogmanay 19 will be a celebration of our continental ties and our shared history and culture. Every year we welcome the world to ring in the New Year in the home of Hogmanay and celebrate our cultural connections with the world. 2019 is the time for us to celebrate our ties with Europe and ask the world to say – “WE LOVE YOU”.”

The three-day festival opens on 30 December 2018 with the traditional Torchlight Procession which sees a river of light weave its way through the historic heart of the city, down the Royal Mile, around Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament before culminating in a stunning visual moment in Holyrood Park.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is all about inviting the world to come on in and celebrate the end of one year and the start of a new and as we move from 2018 to 2019, there’s no better time to celebrate Scotland’s cultural ties with Europe.

“And it’s going to be quite the celebration. Scottish artists from Franz Ferdinand and Gerry Cinnamon on 31 December, Capercaillie on 1 January to writers sending love letters to Europe in Message from the Skies will celebrate alongside European artists including Meute, Snap!, Carlos Nunez, Transe Express and Compagnie des Quidams.

“We’re once again putting young people at the heart of the Torchlight Procession following the nationwide engagement programme #ScotArt, and with Bairns Afore returning on 30 December and our free family ceilidh First Footers on 1 January, we’re confident that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay offers something for everyone.

“Thank you to all our partners who have come together with us to create such an exciting and diverse Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 19 including our principal funder, City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government, EventScotland and Creative Scotland, Young Scot, Edinburgh International Book Festival and a welcome and thanks to Johnnie Walker who join us to present the Street Party.”

Programme highlights include:

  • The line-up for Street Party hosted by Johnnie Walker leads with Scottish and European bands, street performers and musicians including; Compagnie Transe Express, Meute, Snap! and Gerry Cinnamon.
  • Spend the 31st thinking you are seeing double with Street Party Hosts, The Mac Twins.
  • Concert in the Gardens headlined by Scotland’s favourite indie band Franz Ferdinand, supported by Metronomy and Free Love
  • Scotland’s best ceilidh bands play at the world’s most picturesque ceilidh dance with the Ceilidh under the Castle 
  • New Hogmanay venue, McEwan Hall, to host three major concerts – Symphonic Ibiza on 30th December and Capercaillie and Carlos Nunez with special guests on the 1st January, which also marks the start of a new collaboration between Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Glasgow’s Celtic Connections festival
  • First Footers Family Ceilidh a new, free of charge family Ceilidh on 1st January in McEwan Hall.
  • The iconic Torchlight Procession comes to a blazing finale with youth engagement project #ScotArt: bookending last year’s spectacular visual moment this time marking the end of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.
  • Bairns Afore returns giving families and young people the chance to celebrate New Year early in Princes Street Gardens with a very special family edition of Massaoke.
  • The iconic fireworks will once again stun with a specially created soundtrack by German techno-marching band Meute from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle at midnight on the 31st.
  • Co-commissioned with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Message from the Skies returns from 1 – 25 January 2019 and asks 6 of Scotland’s leading writers from the fields of poetry, journalism, fiction, travel, history and theatre – Billy Letford, Chitra Ramaswamy, Kapka Kassabova, Louise Welsh, Stef Smith and William Dalrymple – to each write a love letter to Europe.
  • The long-held tradition of the Loony Dook kicks off 2019 raising money for charity, alongside charity donations made with ticket purchases for Torchlight Procession (One City Trust) and Street Party (The Brain Tumour Charity).
  • WE LOVE YOU” opens with the burning heart of Scotland at the end of the Torchlight Procession on Holyrood Park, rounds off 30 December with Symphonic Ibiza in McEwan Hall; is delighted to welcome to the 31 December celebrations  Compagnie Transe Express, Meute, Snap! and Compagnie Des Quidams with more to be announced; on 1 January, ends the 3 days of celebrations with Carlos Nunez and special guests from the cream of the Scottish music scene; and finally, closes Edinburgh’s Hogmanay withMessage from the Skies and six love letters to Europe.


Tickets on sale now at edinburghshogmanay.com and (+44) 131 510 0395