Edinburgh Hogmanay boss says ‘balance’ needed in access row

Fireworks in Edinburgh Image copyright PA Media

The co-director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has said a balance has to be struck in the needs of local people and visitors.

Ed Bartlam of Underbelly was speaking after the event which ushered in 2020, which he said had been a success.

The days leading to the event saw some residents of the city centre voice concerns about access restrictions.

Mr Bartlam said he had seen many local people joining visitors in enjoying what is described as “the UK’s biggest street party”.

He said: “Balance is the key word. You’ve got to find the balance of viewpoints.

“There’s a view of some people in the city that there’s too many events related to tourism.

“But there’s a huge majority, I think, that just love these events, love Hogmanay.”

Mr Bartlam added: “It’s our job to continue to improve the infrastructure, continue to make it easier for residents and citizens of the city, and that we’ll continue to do without losing the vibrancy and the scale of the event.”

DJ Mark Ronson headlined the event during which he created a “mega mix” soundtrack to accompany the fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle.

Hogmanay events were also held in other parts of Scotland, including Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness and Stirling.

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Media captionRevellers gather for the fireballs procession in Stonehaven
Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Members of the PyroCeltics performed at a street party in Edinburgh
Image copyright Ian Georgeson
Image caption Mark Ronson was headlining the Princes Street Gardens event for the first time

Approximately 100,000 visitors were expected to attend events across Edinburgh over the three days of the Hogmanay festival.

TV stars Dick and Dom took to the stage in Princes Street Gardens early on Tuesday evening as crowds gathered, playing music and introducing the first firework display of the night.

Performances from Idlewild, Rudimental and Marc Almond also took place on stages throughout the city centre.

Image copyright Ian Georgeson
Image caption Organisers used 3.3 tonnes of fireworks for the midnight spectacle over Edinburgh Castle

More than 3.3 tonnes of fireworks were installed at Edinburgh Castle for the midnight display, with organisers saying the forecast clear skies meant the event would be seen in “high definition”.

Street theatre, circus acts and musical performances were on show across more than a dozen streets in the Scottish capital, including the city’s main thoroughfare Princes Street and its adjacent gardens.

There had been criticism of the event’s organisation, amid uncertainty around how many passes residents were allowed, with Underbelly – which also runs events at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – accused of creating “unnecessary confusion” by the council leader.

They were also criticised for replacing a nativity sculpture with figurines for a whisky company.

The festivities began in the city on Monday as 40,000 people joined a torchlight procession which culminated in them forming the shape of two humans reaching out a “hand of friendship”.

Image copyright Tim Edgeler
Image caption The festivities began on Monday with a torchlight procession

Leading the parade down the Royal Mile and into Holyrood Park was a 40-strong cast from Celtic Fire Theatre company PyroCeltica.

The three-day festival in Edinburgh will continue into New Year’s day with a Loony Dook in South Queensferry as well as a series of events in the city centre.

Stirling hosted two fireworks displays, one of which was for families as part of its winter festival, while Inverness hosted over 10,000 people in Northern Meeting Park for the city’s free Hogmanay party.

In Aberdeen, a street party with live music was held at Schoolhill, while BBC Scotland broadcast live from Stonehaven for the traditional fireballs parade.

A planned outdoor Hogmanay party in Dundee’s City Square was transferred to a city centre nightclub, with acts including Eddi Reader and The View singer Kyle Falconer.

Image copyright David Shanks
Image caption Work begins on Aberdeen’s Hogmanay celebrations

Over 10,000 people are expected to gather in Northern Meeting Park later for Inverness’s free Hogmanay party.

The Red Hot Highland Fling – which has a reputation for being a family friendly event – was first staged 10 years ago.

It will feature some of the top acts from contemporary Celtic music including Skippinnish and Torridon.

For the ninth year running tonight’s event is being hosted by comedian Craig Hill.



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