Edinburgh Hogmanay plan to go before councillors next week

Plans for this year’s Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be brought before city councillors next week.

Doubts have been cast over the UK’s “biggest New Year’s Eve street party”, with many events cancelled over the last few months in response to Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown measures.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime programme with John Beattie, Edinburgh City Council deputy leader Cammy Day confirmed discussions were happening ahead of an all-party group meeting on Tuesday July 21.

He said: “I accept it will be something quite different but it will be quite as exciting.

“It’s unreasonable to say we’ll have 100,000 people lining Princes Street on Hogmanay but what can we do to have communities across the city celebrate New Year and Christmas and for tourists who do want to come here to know there will be events happening across the city.

“Will there be so many big en masse events? That is unlikely but can we have things like the markets spread all across the city? Can we have displays all over the city?

“All these things are being considered behind the scenes. We do have to make that decision quite imminently about what we do at Christmas and New Year.”

The celebrations to bring in 2020 welcomed an estimated 100,000 visitors to the city centre with performances from Idlewild, Rudimental, Marc Almond and Mark Ronson.

Edinburgh Fringe shop
The Edinburgh Fringe shop and ticket office on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile during lockdown (Jane Barlow/PA)

In April it was confirmed summer festivals including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe would be cancelled, with a further announcement last month of extra funding to help it “bounce back” in 2021.

Mr Day added: “I know a number of festivals who can’t do their usual big events are trying to be creative.

“We need creative minds to come together to still keep Edinburgh high on that map for Christmas and New Year so we remain an international city.

“How do we still have some internationally significant programme on over Christmas and New Year that doesn’t have 80,000 to 100,000 people in one street?

“That’s the dilemma for us to resolve. So we’re trying to be creative and I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan for next week.”

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