It’s been 22 years since Dundee held a Hogmanay party to remember, and the time is right for it to make a comeback
Like a lot of people, I was delighted to hear WinterFest is returning to the city for a second year.
Last year’s event was a fantastic success.
But the one thing missing from the plans is a Hogmanay celebration in the City Square.
Dundee was a city that excelled at Hogmanay celebrations in the past.
The City Square was always packed full of revellers as each year ended and a new one began.
My mum and dad were among the crowds who used to gather there.
Mum remembers people heading out to pubs and clubs, before making their way to the City Square to see in the bells and then scattering off to parties across the city.
And Dundonians had been doing it for generations by then.
My dad recalls my gran and grandad going down to the square in the 1940s and 1950s when it was “packed to the rafters”.
Dundee Hogmanay hasn’t happened this century
The tradition of Hogmanay parties in Dundee continued all the way to the Millennium.
But unfortunately there hasn’t been one in the City Square this century.
Instead we’ve had to watch as places like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Inverness hold major celebrations for Hogmanay while the centre of Dundee looks bleak and empty in comparison.
There have been many attempts to revive Dundee’s Hogmanay celebrations. But unfortunately, all of the proposals have led to a dead end.
However, now it feels like time to get the party started once again.
Dundee’s appetite for winter festivities has bounced back, as WinterFest showed last year.
The programme brought £2.6 million into the economy and thousands of visitors into the city.
And it showed Dundee has what it takes to hold a major celebration.
So why not include the return of the traditional Hogmanay celebrations as part of the WinterFest line-up?
Let’s do Hogmanay the Dundee way
There is a great opportunity for Dundee here.
Edinburgh might have positioned itself as Scotland’s Hogmanay city, but the festivities there have grown more and more crowded and expensive.
Meanwhile Dundee’s reputation as a visitor destination has been building all the time.
A Hogmanay party would be a great way for Scotland’s friendliest little city to show everyone a warm welcome.
And WinterFest gives us that platform.
🚨🎄 #BREAKING: Dundee WinterFest is set to return on November 19 this year as part of the city's Christmas celebrations!
😍🙌 Following on from last year which generated £2.6 million to the local economy, this year is set to bigger than last! Exciting! pic.twitter.com/NTiPXKER4X
— Dundee Culture (@DundeeCulture) August 24, 2022
It doesn’t need to be huge.
We just need to play to our strengths and make it a Hogmanay that locals and visitors alike can enjoy.
With a main event at the City Square and the WinterFest activities at Slessor Gardens, there would be something for everyone.
It’s a chance to put on a different and even bigger celebration than Dundee has held in the past.
And as Dundee’s winter festivities move up a gear, there’s never been a better time to end the decades-long wait for a Hogmanay to remember.