Tens of thousands gather for Edinburgh Hogmanay street party spectacular

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Tens of thousands of people have been gathering to welcome in the new year at one of the world’s biggest street parties against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.

The city’s Hogmanay celebrations are going ahead as planned despite the city experiencing some of the worst conditions brought by Storm Dylan earlier in the day.

Princes Street, where celebrations are set to take place, was temporarily closed to pedestrians in the afternoon due to “weather-related debris” but is open again for Sunday evening’s street party.

Underbelly, which is producing the event for the first time, is promising the “best party ever” for the 75,000 people attending, with live music, DJs, street entertainment and the “ultimate fireworks display” from Edinburgh Castle.

Rag’n’Bone Man is headlining Concert in the Gardens, with Declan McKenna and Nina Nesbitt as support acts, while those performing on the three Street Party stages include The Human League, Sacred Paws , Treacherous Orchestra and Huey Morgan.

People from around the world have travelled to Edinburgh to enjoy the atmosphere of the street party, which also features street performers, dancers, acrobats and fire-eaters.

Jack Kozak and his mother Cynthia have come from Atlanta, Georgia to experience the event as a way of celebrating his graduation.

Ms Kozak said: “We’ve heard that nowhere in the world does New Year’s Eve celebrations like Scotland and Edinburgh specifically. We went to Friday’s torchlight procession and it was amazing so everything we’ve seen so far is pretty incredible.”

Her son said: “It’s a lot more than what we do in the states, shoot off a few sparklers in the back yard!”

Betty and Jason French, from Wichita, Kansas, are enjoying the festivities as part of their honeymoon.

Mr French said: “We’re very interested in the celebration of Hogmanay, we heard it’s a spectacular festival.”

Fireworks were launched from Edinburgh Castle at 9pm, and will also be set off at 10pm and 11pm in a countdown to midnight, when a soundscaped fireworks display will entertain the audience for the first nine minut es of 2018.

Underbelly commissioned Niteworks, a band from Skye, and film and theatre composer and sound designer Dan Jones to create a ” soundscape” for the midnight fireworks show for the first time.

Kevin Haughey, from Hull, who is visiting with six friends, said: “We’re enjoying the friendly atmosphere, people are so friendly. We’ve never done anything like this before but it’s really really good. Every corner you turn round there’s something new so it’s really good.”

Police said they will be using local and specialist resources including armed officers to protect the public and act as a deterrent.

Chief Superintendent Kenny MacDonald, Divisional Commander for Edinburgh, said: “Please do not be alarmed by the presence of these professional and highly-trained officers. They are being deployed purely as a precaution.”

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations run for three days, drawing in an estimated 150,000 people from elsewhere in the UK and around the world.

The events include a torchlight procession through Edinburgh on December 30 and the Loony Dook on New Year’s Day, when hardy people take a dip in the chilly Firth of Forth.

Elsewhere in Scotland, celebrations include a street party at Schoolhill in Aberdeen featuring live music from The Mersey Beatles and The Banjo Lounge 4, before a fireworks display from His Majesty’s Theatre rooftop at midnight.

Stirling will host its “biggest ever” midnight fireworks display, focused around the castle, while in the fireball ceremony in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, around 40 people will parade up and down the High Street swinging flaming balls around their heads to welcome in the new year.

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