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Castle event off because of winds


Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle

Fireworks go off over Edinburgh Castle

Hogmanay celebrations on Stirling Castle's esplanade have been cancelled due to high winds.

A live outdoor concert had been due to take place on the esplanade with music from The Waterboys, Skerryvore, JJ Gilmour and Model Aeroplanes, followed by a fireworks display to welcome in 2015.

However the event has been cancelled as high winds mean public safety could not be guaranteed, police said.

The joint decision was taken following a mutli-agency meeting.

Chief Inspector Paul Rollo, Stirling policing commander, said: "Hogmanay is one of the highlights of the year in the city, and the joint decision to cancel the street party was only taken after lengthy discussion and deliberation with the organisers.

"We prioritise the safety of people attending an event and with the poor weather conditions right now with winds far stronger than expected, unfortunately this could not be assured. This event has been planned for some time and the conditions have deteriorated on the night.

"People with tickets who are on their way to the castle should not attend as they won't be admitted. Many other premises in the city may have ticketed events and so please do not assume you will be able to get into another venue.

"Buses and taxis are running to get you home safely. Police remain in the city centre to assist revellers welcoming in the New Year, and we would remind them to do so with respect for others."

No ticket holders had been admitted to the esplanade area when the event was cancelled.

Elsewhere Hogmanay celebrations have got under way in Scotland's capital as thousands of revellers arrived to bring in the new year.

Up to 75,000 people are expected to gather on the streets of Edinburgh for the world-famous event which will see Lily Allen headline the Concert In The Gardens.

There will be five live stages throughout the city, with 13 acts performing including Soul II Soul and Twin Atlantic.

Four fireworks displays will be held - at 9pm, 10pm, and 11pm before the five-minute spectacle at midnight.

Early celebrations got under way in the city last night with a torchlight parade when a cast of thousands carried flaming torches through the historic Old Town.

Organisers said tickets for events have been bought by those in more than 70 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Mauritius, Slovakia and South Africa.

Wilson Peery, 33, from Oregon, USA, travelled to Scotland especially to attend Edinburgh's street party.

He said: "I came here in 2008 and made a split second decision to come back this year with a group of friends. We all just decided to come.

"I just really like the energy and the fact that there are so many things to do. The torchlight procession is something special."

Fergus Campbell, 23, from Birmingham said: "We came here just to experience Hogmanay after hearing so much about it and the atmosphere is brilliant.

"It's our first time in Edinburgh and we're especially looking forward to seeing the fireworks off the castle, that's the main thing."

Michelle Thornton, from Queensland, Australia, travelled to the city with a group of friends and said: "There's a crowd of us that just decided to come here for Hogmanay because we heard that it's the best party in town.

"It's been absolutely fabulous, we're loving it. We're definitely coming again, we're having an absolute ball."

Pete Irvine, director of organisers Unique Events, said: "With a fantastic line-up across five stages, Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the UK's biggest outdoor winter music festival - come and join us for a rocking good party to welcome 2015."

Parties and fireworks displays will be held across the country, with Aberdeen hosting free live music on Union Terrace from performers Flaxman, The Jellyman's Daughter and Funk Connection.

In Aberdeenshire, around 12,000 people are expected to turn out for events including Stonehaven's Fireballs Ceremony and Open Air in the Square.

Police have urged people to act responsibly while out this evening.

Chief Inspector Richard Craig said: "The festive season is a fantastic period of the year and Hogmanay is a traditional time of celebration. We want to encourage people to enjoy themselves, have fun with their friends and family members but to be safe and responsible."

Party goers have been told to expect a dry evening with temperatures above freezing, as the country prepares to say goodbye to one of the warmest years on record.

In a statement on its website Stirling Council said the event had been cancelled on the grounds of public safety.

It said: " The decision was made at an emergency meeting at 8.30pm this evening, when the windspeed had increased.

"The concert site was experiencing gusts of wind over 30 metres per second. These gusts were causing structural damage to the stage and were blowing over portaloos etc."

It added: "Obviously this is the last thing we would want tonight but the safety of our audience, the crew and the performers is paramount and could not be guaranteed with the exceptionally strong gusts of wind."

The council said that ticket holders will be fully refunded.

A spokesman for event organiser Zisys Events said: "We deeply regret the necessary cancellation of Stirling's Hogmanay Event.

"The Esplanade, while a totally stunning venue, is on a very high and open site and is exposed to extremes of weather.

"Gusts of over 100mph were recorded, which exceeded the safe limits for the stage.

"Other facilities on the site, such as signage and portaloos, were also adversely affected by the high winds.

"The site became unsafe for the public and the decision was made to cancel the event before the gates officially opened."

"We sincerely apologise for any disappointment and inconvenience caused."

It is thought around 3,000 tickets had been sold for the Stirling Castle esplanade event.

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