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Hogmanay re-imagined as city invites new ideas

Edinburgh Council may scrap its traditional street party

Alcohol-free attractions may feature in ‘reimagined’ Hogmanay celebrations as Edinburgh considers alternatives to its famous street party.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic and the city council is seeking new producers for its Christmas and Hogmanay festivals for the next four years.

They are being asked to deliver the traditional aspects, including a “significant midnight moment” which could include fireworks, drones, lighting or some other major spectacle.

However, the tender specification document states: “Whilst previous events have incorporated live music and a large street party, the contractor is not obliged to repeat this format but must propose alternative entertainment that maintains or increases the media and audience impact.”

Producers will also be asked to extend Hogmanay events beyond the city centre and introduce alcohol-free times and/or areas. It also wants to improve environmental sustainability, such as local sourcing of products.

Christmas activities in the city have taken place during a six-week period and have included a market, fairground, family attractions and an ice rink.

But some residents have complained about “disneyfication” and cheapening of the city, while there is also criticism of overcrowding, damage to green spaces and anti-social behaviour.

Commenting on feedback to public consultation, Adam McVey, the council leader, said: “It was clear that there was overwhelming support for the continuation of Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in the capital, but with a revised format.

“More than 8,600 people and 35 organisations responded to the survey, with 87% expressing support for a Christmas celebration and 86% for Hogmanay.

“I’m confident that by acting on residents’ feedback, we can remain the home of Hogmanay and ensure our Christmas events, enjoyed by so many across the city, continue in a way that balances residents’ needs and aspirations for how they should look and feel in future.”

The council hopes to appoint producers by the summer.

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