Hogmanay preview: Seeing in the bells ... and much more

The Proclaimers will be at Stirling. Picture: Rob McDougall
The Proclaimers will be at Stirling. Picture: Rob McDougall
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What to see and where to be on Hogmanay


Stonehaven is long famous for its Fireball Festival, which has drawn crowds up to 10,000 to this small coastal town near Aberdeen. An additional event has been planned for this year, beginning at 2pm in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve with street dancers and a performance by Blazin’ Fiddles, and local bands from 8.30pm, followed by a lone piper at midnight and a closing set by Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

This was, of course, before the disastrous flooding at the weekend. At time of writing the organisers plan to push ahead with the town’s new year celebrations, although audience numbers will need to be scaled back. For updates, keep an eye on the Fireball Festival’s official website, www.stonehavenfireballs.co.uk, and on www.stonehavenguide.net


The Proclaimers are the headliners at Stirling Castle’s big Hogmanay concert this year, with support from Bags of Rock, Miniature Dinosaurs, Beat That and DJ Steve McKenna. Doors open at 8.30pm and, at time of writing, there were still some tickets available.

Also under the Stirling Hogmanay banner are Skerryvore’s festive shindig at the Tolbooth at 8.30pm tonight, and a New Year’s Day concert in the castle’s Chapel Royal at 2pm, called Folky Little New Year, with fiddler Lauren MacColl, singer Siobhan Miller and guitarist Ewan MacPherson (entry is free with tickets to the castle). For full listings and ticket information visit www.stirlinghogmanay.co.uk.


Comedian Craig Hill hosts this year’s Red Hot Highland Fling, Scotland’s biggest free New Year party. Big Country headline the outdoor show at the Royal Northern Meeting Park, with support Treacherous Orchestra, Whisky River Band and Skerryvore. The event starts at 7pm and is being filmed by BBC Alba and BBC Scotland.


The capital’s Hogmanay party is still the biggest by far in Scotland, particularly this year with no competition from nearby Glasgow.

The celebrations kick off on Sunday 30 December with the annual Torchlit Procession, which leaves Chambers Street at 6.30pm and reaches Calton Hill around 7.30pm. You can buy torches in advance for £6 or on the night for £7 – it’s advisable to book one in advance at www.edinburghshogmanay.co.uk, since up to 25,000 people are expected to the event.

On New Year’s Eve itself, the main event is actually several separate concerts. A Hogmanay Street Party ticket will buy you access to two of them – the Scottish stage, featuring Admiral Fallow, Lau and Shooglenifty, and the Waverley Stage, with the Maccabees, Reverend and the Makers and The OK Social Club.

Alternatively you can buy a ticket to the Keilidh, with Hugh Macdiarmid’s Haircuit, Brechin City Rollers and Ceilidhdonia. Tickets for this are more expensive but will get you access to the Street Party too.

You’ll need to buy separate tickets to go to the Concert in the Gardens, with Simple Minds, The View and Bwani Junction. Or if none of that appeals, perhaps you’d prefer the St Giles Cathedral Candlelit Concert, which this year consists of Vivaldi’s Magnificat and Parts 1 and 3 of JS Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.

If you’re up and about the next day there’s plenty more happening. New this year is Your Lucky Day, a free mini-festival taking place at secret locations across the city throughout the afternoon. Gather at the National Museum of Scotland at noon, and throw the lucky dice – the number you throw will determine whether you end up at a gig by Rachel Sermanni, a spoken word event with Alan Bissett, Jenny Lindsay and more, a lecture about luck from Richard Wiseman, or a Hogmanay Hoedown with country and western swing band the Mending Hearts.

Your Lucky Day will climax with a spectacular piece of street theatre about the beginnings of the universe by French company Plasticiens Volants, beginning at 13 Buccleuch Place at 5.30pm – this event is free too.

Other ways to spend the first day of the year in the capital include the return of Edinburgh’s Dogmanay, a free afternoon of sled-dog racing in Holyrood Park, from noon until 3pm. Or, at South Queensferry, there’s the Loony Dook, in which brave souls plunge into the freezing waters of the Forth to raise money for charity. The event takes place at a different time each year because of the tides – this year it’s at 1.30pm, which means you can sleep off the hangover and still make it in plenty of time.

• For more information on all official Edinburgh’s Hogmanay events, visit the website – www.edinburghshogmanay.com