Arts & culture

Hogmanay Hit-List

The theme of this year’s Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations is ‘Be Together’, with top headliners and brand-new events. There’ll be musicians, authors, puppeteers, street performers, drummers and superstar DJs, as the most famous street party in the world brings us into 2020.

Torchlight Procession. Credit: Ian Georgeson

The 27th edition of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will start on 30th December with the beautiful Torchlight Procession, where pipers, drummers and fire performers form a fiery stream of light from the centre of the city to Holyrood Park. Following recent tradition, torchbearers will gather in formation in the park to create the outline of two people joining hands, captured from the air and beamed across the world. There will also be local bands performing and a fireworks display. 50p from every ticket to the Torchlight Procession will be donated to OneCity Trust, the charity fighting inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh.

McEwan Hall hosts three days of events, opening with hit musical performance Symphonic Ibiza on 30th December. There will also be new events this year at McEwan Hall on 31st December. You can celebrate with the other side of the world from 11:30am with soul singer Kylie Auldist, followed by performances from Ronnie Scott’s Big Band in Concert, featuring jazz singer Liane Carroll. There will also be the first Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Official Afterparty, with a late-night set from international music producer and DJ Judge Jules.

Symphonic Ibiza. Credit: Roberto Ricciuti

Now for the Street Party. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay headline act, DJ and producer, Mark Ronson will become the first ever DJ to headline the concert in the gardens. He’ll also create a new soundtrack to accompany the world famous Midnight Moment fireworks as they explode from Edinburgh Castle.

Credit: Ian Rutherford

Marc Almond will headline the Waverley Stage this year. The legendary artist, who came to prominence with Soft Cell, will perform a selection of his greatest hits with his band.  Opening for Marc is Fort Willam singer-songwriter Keir Gibson and Glasgow indie/glam band The Ninth Wave will also perform.

The Johnnie Walker Stage plays host to Hogmanay regular The Great Calverto, opening for Radio 1 DJ and presenter of Love Island: The Morning After, Glasgow-born Arielle Free, followed by the return of the Mac Twins.

The new High Street stage features an all Scottish line-up. After a special guest opener, Scottish indie band Idlewild will play a set of greatest hits and new material before a performance from West Lothian foursome The Snuts. After midnight, the Edinburgh-based six-piece Celtic fusion band Shooglenifty will showcase sounds ranging from electronica to alt rock. After its Hogmanay debut last year, the Silent Disco will also return to Market Street.

Edinburgh’s Circus Alba will join forces with Compagnie Remue Ménage to entertain Street Party revellers, Edinburgh’s Harbingers Drum Crew are collaborating with Germany’s ‘Gentle Giants of Light’ Dundu to produce a unique street performance which fuses puppetry, sound and light, Netherland’s street theatre company Close-Act Theatre will brings its distinctive ‘i-Puppets’, while France’s Picto Facto spectacular inflatable creations will also take to the street. There’ll be hip-hop and contemporary dance from the Avant Garde Dance Company, and expert skills and theatre from Gandini Juggling.


50p from every Street Party ticket sold this year will be donated to the Brain Tumour Charity, an organisation Underbelly raises money for year-round.

As well as the street party revelry, the early evening of 31st December will see the Bairns Afore event take place, this year headlined by comic duo Dick and Dom. A 60-minute musical battle will culminate in its very own ‘midnight’ fireworks moment at 6pm, so families can take their children home to bed before the late-night partying gets underway. Ceilidh under the Castle also returns to its enviable location in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle. A selection of Scotland’s best ceilidh bands – Sleekit Beasties, Skyte! And Cool Ceol Ceilidh Band – will keep audiences warm all the way up to the Midnight Moment fireworks.

Credit: Roberto Ricciuti

The magical Candlelit Concert in St Giles’ Cathedral will also take place on 31st December, this year with a baroque theme including Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’ and Vivaldi’s ‘Dixit Dominus’.

The traditional Loony Dook returns to South Queensferry, where thousands of people in fancy dress will take the plunge into the icy waters on New Year’s Day for charity. Then it’s back to McEwan Hall for a second year of collaborations with Celtic Connections, this time with the inimitable Eddi Reader.

Loony Dook. Credit: Roberto Ricciuti

As dusk falls on January 1st, Message from the Skies will illuminate Edinburgh’s buildings, streets and monuments until Burns Night on the 25th January 2020. Marking the beginning of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, the event sees five Scottish authors – Charlotte Runcie, Irvine Welsh, Kathleen Jamie, Kayus Bankole and Robin Robertson – pen a love letter to Scotland. The letter will be a living letter, animated and brought to life through a set of collaborations with composers, visual artists and artists, and projected across the city.

Tickets on sale now at and (+44) 131 510 0395