Hogmanay: Tens of thousands ring in 2019 at Edinburgh street party

The Fireworks were a particular highlight. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
The Fireworks were a particular highlight. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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AROUND 80,000 people gathered in Edinburgh to party through the bells in to 2019.

Official events including the Street Party and Concert in the Gardens - headlined by Scots indie rockers Franz Ferdinand - sold out as revellers descended on the capital from all over the world.

The sold-out family event, Bairns Afore, in West Prince Street Gardens, set the tone with live band Massaoke finishing with a version of Bohemian Rhapsody for 6500 people before an early stunning fireworks display.

READ MORE: 80,000 descend on Edinburgh for Hogmanay

Some 50,000 people ignored blustering winds to gather in the city centre for the Street Party hosted by Love Island’s Aftersun DJs The Mac Twins and featuring bands, DJs and street performers from Scotland and mainland Europe.

Cult favourite Gerry Cinnamon sent thousands of fans wild on Waverley Bridge with songs like “Belter”, before Franz Ferdinand burst in to their set West in front of more than 10,000 revellers at Princes Street Gardens, stopping to declare: “See you next year”.

The count down to the bells was led by hosts the Mac Twins in Prince Street before an incredible fireworks display from Edinburgh Castle.

Franz Ferdinand then restarted the party with their version of Auld Lang Syne before continuing with more of their hits as the party continued in to the night.

The Glasgow-based “Take Me Out” band was booked to play in 2003 -- just a year after they formed -- but ended up playing to just a few dozen people in a flat in Marchmont after the official programme was cancelled due to the weather.

Frontman Alex Kapranos said: “It’s the biggest party in the world. I don’t think there’s a party quite like the party you find in Scotland -- and in Scotland there’s no bigger party than Edinburgh.

“It’s amazing. I can’t think of a better backdrop or place to play for all these people and have a good time. I’m totally honoured to be a part of it.”

The Concert was kicked off by Glasgow-based Free Love and Mercury Music Prize nominees Metronomy before Franz Ferdinand took the stage.

Their set, packed with hits from “Take Me Out” to this year’s “Always Ascending”, was only punctuated by the annual countdown to the bells and the iconic midnight fireworks display -- 3600 pyrotechnics weighing 3.3 tonnes that lit up the sky to a soundtrack from German band Meute.

Elsewhere, revellers joined hands to jig, fling and be flung in a ceilidh under Edinburgh Castle, while others enjoyed a Candlelit Concert in St Giles Cathedral.

Charlie Wood, co-director of organisers Underbelly, said: “In total, there are 80,000 people out there -- it’s been a sell-out.”

Speaking around 7pm as the party got underway, Wood added: “The early feedback has been great. Everyone’s very happy and Edinburgh is alive. The amazing firework display is going to blow everybody away.”

Wood said sales of tickets for the 26th staging of the official Edinburgh Hogmanay soared in countries across the EU after a charm offensive was launched to celebrate Scotland’s relationship with the rest of Europe.

The theme of the event was “We Love You” - a love letter to Europe in the year when Britain is set to leave the EU. Tickets were sold to more than 80 countries worldwide.

He added: “This is the year that we say to Europe ‘we love you’, and celebrate our European ties.”

More than 160,000 people have descended on Edinburgh for the official programme of Hogmanay 2019 events, spanning three days.

Highlights included the stunning Torchlight Procession curtain-raiser on Sunday night -- a trail of fire more than a mile long from the castle to a finale in Holyrood Park, where thousands of torch-bearers formed an outline of Scotland in flame, with a love-heart in the middle.

The official Hogmanay celebrations were first organised in Edinburgh 25 years ago. It has been estimated that this year’s celebrations may have reached a staggering one billion people across the world, watching on television or online amid record interest from international media.

While revellers battled blustery conditions, predicted rain never materialised.