SCOTTISH rock icons Simple Minds are to top the bill at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations to help mark the 20th year of the capital’s world-famous festivities.
• Simple Minds to headline Edinburgh Hogmanay party
• The View and Bwani Junction play support
• New Year’s Day mini-festival also announced
Jim Kerr’s band, who wowed revellers at T in the Park in the summer, have landed the headline slot for the first time, and are promising a set of their vintage hits stretching across their 35-year career.
The band, who started life as punk outfit Johnny and the Self-Abusers in the south side of Glasgow, went on to sell more than 60 million albums.
The View, Dundee’s indie favourites, and rising Edinburgh-based outfit Bwani Junction, will support the Glasgow band, who played the same venue, West Princes Street Gardens six years ago as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The “Concert in the Gardens,” tickets for which have already been on sale for months, has previously been headlined by the likes of Primal Scream, Biffy Clyro, KT Tunstall and Calvin Harris.
Kerr, who will be 53 when he takes the stage on Hogmanay, said: “We’ve played some iconic venues around the world - and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is right up there with the best of them.
“We are to excited to be coming home to Scotland, and Edinburgh, for this great celebration of the first 20 years of Hogmanay. It’s going to be a fantastic experience for us, and for the audience.”
Simple Minds’ appearance in Edinburgh - three years after a memorable show on the castle esplanade - will be sandwiched between concert dates in Australia and New Zealand, and a 28-date “greatest hits tour” of the UK.
Steve Cardownie, the city council’s festivals and events champion, said: “We’re celebrating 20 years of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay this year so I think it’s fitting we have one of Scotland’s best-selling and most enduring bands as our headline act.
“Those of us who can remember the 1980s will know their hits well, but I’m sure the younger generation will also be singing their hearts out.”
‘Your Lucky Day’
Meanwhile organisers of Edinburgh’s 2013 Hogmanay celebrations are hoping to avoid being cursed by the unlucky number this year – by using it to inspire a five-hour mini-festival across the capital on New Year’s Day.
Visitors will be invited to roll a dice to set them off on a trail through 13 theatre, dance, music, spoken word and food events.
Secret locations across the Old Town will be playing host to everything from a ceilidh to a country and western hoedown, a Latin American club and even an afternoon tea experience.
Performances from writer Alan Bissett, singer-songwriter Rachel Sermanni, fiddler Duncan Chisholm and psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman are also being staged.
Revellers for Your Lucky Day will begin the day at the National Museum of Scotland where they will roll dice to find out which event they will head to first.
There they will roll the dice again to determine their next stop, as they travel across the city taking part in the festivities.
Arts centres, church halls and other cultural venues are being transformed for the afternoon for the one-off event.
The £200,000 event – backed by the Scottish Government – is part of a drive to revive events in the capital on New Year’s Day after funding problems saw them scaled back in previous years.
The day will reach a climax when about 5,000 participants are expected to gather in Buccleuch Street for a spectacular show from French street theatre troupe Plasticiens Volants.
The event has been devised by Pete Irvine, artistic director of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations for the last 20 years. He said there had been a determined effort to boost the New Year’s Day line-up this year.
“The number 13 traditionally signals bad luck but we want to be much more positive about it,” he said. “We believe that you can make your own luck and we want people to be positive about the new year and go into it with confidence.
“It’s really the theme behind the event on New Year’s Day, which is a bit of a follow-on to one we did last year which had an Olympic-inspired theme and used four venues.
“This year we’re using 13 [venues] including the National Museum of Scotland, where people will have to start off their afternoon, and Buccleuch Street, where Plasiticiens Volants will be performing their brand new show, Big Bang.
“You won’t be able to visit all of the destinations in the one afternoon, but each venue should be able to take several hundred people. The idea is that you can visit several shows before going to the Big Bang theatre finale.”
The New Year’s Day programme is being further bolstered by the return of two popular events from previous year – husky dog races and a triathlon, both in Holyrood Park.
Thousands of hardy revellers are also expected to flock to South Queensferry for the traditional “Loony Dook” swim.