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Edinburgh’s Hogmanay to celebrate European ties as UK prepares for Brexit

Festivities include a torchlight procession, street party and fireworks.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will celebrate the ties between Scotland and the continent as the UK prepares to leave the EU, organisers have announced.

Franz Ferdinand and Capercaillie are among the Scottish bands performing while the street party will feature acts such as French performance artists Compagnie Transe Express.

Youngsters will play a part in the festivities to mark Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 drawing to a close.

The three-day festival opens on December 30 with the traditional torchlight procession, which sees a river of light weave its way through the heart of the city before culminating in a “stunning” visual moment in Holyrood Park where the procession will form the outline of Scotland lit by torches.

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Ceilidh dancing on the Royal Mile during Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Young pipe and drum bands will lead the procession and giant wicker sculptures created by young people through the #ScotArt project will form a heart at the centre of it.

On December 31, bands, DJs, street performers, dancers, acrobats, disco divas and fire eaters from Scotland and mainland Europe will be performing at the street party, which starts at 7.30pm.

There will be music across three stages, with Gerry Cinnamon headlining the Waverley stage, Judge Jules headlining the DJ stage in Castle Street, and Elephant Sessions on stage in South St David Street.

Franz Ferdinand will headline the Concert in the Gardens at the foot of Castle Rock, supported by Metronomy and Free Love, while some of the country’s top ceilidh bands will play at Ceilidh under the Castle.

At midnight, German band Meute will provide the soundtrack to the fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle.

The event is being produced by Underbelly for the second year running.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of the 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 … 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.”

On New Year’s Day more than 1,000 people are expected to take place in the Loony Dook in the Firth of Forth to raise money for their chosen charities.

The McEwan Hall will be a Hogmanay venue for the first time, hosting three major concerts – Symphonic Ibiza on December 30 and Capercaillie and Carlos Nunez with special guests on January 1.

Message from the Skies asks six leading writers – Billy Letford, Chitra Ramaswamy, Kapka Kassabova, Louise Welsh, Stef Smith and William Dalrymple – to each write a love letter to Europe.

Co-commissioned with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, it runs from January 1 to 25.

Martin Green, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay executive producer, said: “It’s an honour to have another opportunity to lead the creative team on the world’s greatest street party.

“It’s appropriate that this year we have chosen to say loudly and proudly to our European friends – ‘we love you!’”

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