PICTURES: Tens of thousands welcome new year with Edinburgh street party spectacular

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Tens of thousands of partygoers have welcomed in the new year in Edinburgh at one of the world’s biggest street parties.

The 75,000-strong crowd counted down the 10 seconds to midnight before a spectacular soundscaped fireworks display lit up the sky above Edinburgh Castle.

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Fireworks light up the sky in Edinburgh during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations.
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Revellers during the Hogmanay New Year celebrations in Edinburgh.

After the display ended partygoers burst into a rendition of Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the new year.

The city’s Hogmanay celebrations went ahead as planned despite the city experiencing some of the worst conditions brought by Storm Dylan on December 31.

Princes Street was temporarily closed to pedestrians in the afternoon due to “weather-related debris” but was open again for Sunday evening’s street party.

Underbelly, which was producing the event for the first time, had promised the “best party ever”, with live music, DJs, street entertainment and the “ultimate fireworks display” from Edinburgh Castle.

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Fireworks light up the sky in Edinburgh
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Revellers enjoying the funfair in Edinburgh on Hogmanay.

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

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

Jack Kozak and his mother Cynthia came 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, were 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, 10pm and 11pm in a countdown to midnight, when a soundscaped fireworks display entertained the audience for the first nine minutes 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 was 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 had said they would 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.