Organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay have praised the “good-natured” crowds who descended on the city centre, as it emerged just a handful of arrests were made and only eight people were taken to hospital.
Four were detained – all for “minor disorder” – out of the 75,000 who crammed into Princes Street and surrounding thoroughfares. Lothian and Borders Police chiefs said there had been no serious incidents in the capital overnight.
A spokeswoman for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said only eight revellers were taken to hospital for treatment.
Almost 500 stewards and security guards were on duty at the event, for which thousands of people snapped up tickets throughout the day, with large queues snaking towards the main box office on the Royal Mile.
Graham Sinclair, assistant chief constable, said: “This year’s street party has been a fantastic success, and I’d like to thank everyone who attended for co-operating with police and stewards to ensure a safe and enjoyable start to 2013.
“I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support of our colleagues from the council, emergency services, and the organisers, tonight and throughout the planning process.”
A police spokeswoman added: “A lot of planning obviously goes into the event, and four arrests out of a crowd of 75,000 is a very good result. There were no issues of any significance elsewhere in the city.”
Health chiefs said 177 people were treated between 9pm and 8am by A&E staff, but described the figure as “pretty average” for Hogmanay.
An NHS Lothian spokesman added: “We would like to thank the majority of people for taking advice about wrapping up well and taking care of themselves and those they were with.”
Despite recent blustery weather, the conditions were perfect, with just a handful of showers during the four-hour street party, which included the main concert at the Ross Bandstand and an open-air ceilidh on The Mound.
Blasts of fireworks were fired off Edinburgh Castle rock every hour from 9pm, before a five-minute display at midnight, accompanied for the first time by a soundtrack from Scottish bands, including Biffy Clyro and Primal Scream. Then there was a mass rendition of Auld Lang Syne, before the live music got under way again from four stages.
Organisers said the revamped street party – which had seen stages in Princes Street make way for giant video screens playing hits from the past 60 years – “worked brilliantly”. The “Rewinder” element of the programme had been billed as an attempt to create the world’s biggest open-air nightclub.
The spokeswoman said: “There seemed to be a party next to each of the big screens, and it felt much easier to move about the street party than normal.”
Glasgow rockers Simple Minds played before and after the Bells in Princes Street Gardens. Other acts included Admiral Fallow, Lau, the Maccabees and OK Social Club.
Footage of the midnight fireworks display was seen by a billion people in 150 countries.
The three-day festival is now said to be worth £32 million to Scotland’s economy. Pete Irvine, artistic director for producers Unique Events, said: “Once again, we have shown that Edinburgh is the true home of Hogmanay.
“Unlike just about every other city around the world, we have much more than a fireworks display. We are able to steal a march on places like Australia and New Zealand with the coverage of the torchlight procession, and Sydney is the only other place that has a big event on New Year’s Day.”
The city council ploughs £1.1 million into the three-day festival, which is also supported by the Scottish Government.
Steve Cardownie, festivals and events champion, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations have long been the envy of cities across the globe..”
Elsewhere, Big Country and Treacherous Orchestra played Inverness’s free Hogmanay concert in the Royal Northern Meeting Park. The Proclaimers headlined at Stirling Castle.
However, there was no major celebration over the Bells in Glasgow, where the city council had ruled out any official festivities after 10pm.