Revellers Party Into 2016

1 January 2016, 08:17


Tens of thousands of revellers have celebrated Hogmanay on the streets at ''the biggest New Year celebration in the world''.

A crowd of 75,000 people counted down the last seconds of 2015 in Edinburgh and could be heard singing a mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne as they welcomed the New Year.

Revellers at the world famous street party had four stages of acts to choose from, with Biffy Clyro headlining the sold-out Concert In The Gardens and Idlewild and Honeyblood completing the stage's all-Scottish line-up, with the Waverley Stage also hosting Maximo Park.

The traditional midnight fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle was as spectacular as ever as the bad weather which had ravaged the country over the preceding days receded in time for the night's events.

This year merrymakers were also treated to a New Year message from British astronaut Tim Peake, who was beamed on to screens just before midnight.

The annual ''Keilidh'' was moved to its own exclusive outdoor arena on the Royal Mile to become the Old Town Ceilidh, where a world record attempt at the Strip The Willow dance was attempted.

Early celebrations got under way in the city last night with a torchlight procession involving 10,000 torchbearers.

Organisers said they welcomed visitors from more than 80 countries to the event.

Phil Carabot, from Melbourne, Australia, said: ``New Year has already happened back home but it's good to be somewhere different.

''It's the first time I've been away for 43 years and it reminds me a lot of home. I feel very comfortable, so it's great.''

Aditya Ravi, from Bangalore, India, said: ''I have to say this is a really nice city and I'm really enjoying my time here.

''The architecture is great the city is great, I'm enjoying the food and the whiskey and there's a street party on, so I'm having a great time.''

Fabien Charles, from Strasbourg, France, said: ``It's my first time in Edinburgh and it's wonderful. The people are so friendly I have really, really enjoyed it.

''I feel the atmosphere and it is very good. I definitely will be coming back.''

Manual Gomez, from Sevilla, Spain, said: ``This is the best party in the world. Next year I am coming back with all of my friends for sure.

Speaking before the main event started, Pete Irvine, director of Unique Events which produces Edinburgh's Hogmanay on behalf of the city council, said: ``Here we are in the festival city at the biggest new year celebration in the world, which is over three days.

''We had a great night last night with the torchlight procession and we are about to open the gates to the 75,000 people who have come from over 80 countries to spend Hogmanay with us.

''We have nine stages of live acts with Scottish music, contemporary music, DJs, funk and soul, amazing fireworks every hour and this year we've got a message from the International Space Station just before midnight.

''This is a unique atmosphere and we like to say we invented not just Hogmanay but New Year celebrations. We have Auld Lang Syne, we have pipe bands, loads of people in kilts and fancy dress but it's a very contemporary event with a traditional and authentic heart to it.

''It's the Scots at their most friendliest and we are amazingly good company - so this is the right place to be.''

Scotland's international development minister Humza Yousaf was at the celebrations with his family for the first time.

''I'm delighted to be here, the city is really buzzing and my wife and sister in-law are big fans of Biffy Clyro so we're looking forward to that later on,'' he said.

''I'll try and get to the ceilidh as I fancy a go at that world record attempt at Strip The Willow, so it's great there's lots to do and see and it should be a great night.

''The amount of accents and languages I've heard just walking around - it's a very international night and is a great advert for Edinburgh and the whole of Scotland. I'm always proud to be Scottish but this makes me extra proud.''

Elsewhere, a firework display was held in Aberdeen where around 3,000 people joined in the celebrations in the city centre.

Other major events in the north east included Stonehaven's Open Air in the Square, the Aberdeenshire town's fireballs ceremony and the Gig at the Brig in Ellon.

In Stirling, celebrations centred around a Carnival of Light and Sound with an evening parade through the city centre, family entertainment in King's Park and a fireworks display.


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