To celebrate the start of 2017, and to launch the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh’s birth as the world’s leading festival city, it was today announced that the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Midnight Moment will showcase the drama of Edinburgh’s historic cityscape to the world with a spectacular laser and light show supported by the Scottish Government and the City of Edinburgh Council.
The laser and light show from Edinburgh Castle will be part of a unique Midnight Moment to welcome 2017 and year-long celebrations of Edinburgh as a festival city. In addition to the world-renowned Edinburgh’s Hogmanay fireworks display that lifts from the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens and Calton Hill, Unique Events – who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council – are working with Scotland’s leading lighting designer Grant Anderson, Edinburgh-based lighting specialists Black Light and Funktioncreep as well as renowned pyrotechnicians Titanium Fireworks, to create a truly memorable moment. The show will be enjoyed by the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors who fill the streets and spaces of Edinburgh at midnight, will be visible in the skies for up to 30 miles around the capital and will be broadcast to 200 countries and territories around the world.
This unique Midnight Moment will usher in 2017 as the 70th anniversary of the very first Edinburgh Festivals. The Festivals began in 1947 as an initiative for humanity, at a time when inhumanity had done its worst through the extended global conflict of WWII. A beacon of enlightenment and creativity was lit, based on a profound belief in the power of culture to build international trust and understanding. From those beginnings, Edinburgh has now grown into a year-round festival city with twelve major festivals attracting attendances of 4.5 million each year from around the world: attendances on a par with the FIFA World Cup and second only to the Olympic Games.
Through the Festivals, Scotland’s capital has become an unparalleled platform for cultural excellence and international exchange. And in addition to the Midnight Moment, Edinburgh’s Festivals are coming together over Edinburgh’s Hogmanay three day programme to participate in events and activities to mark the start of what will be a remarkable festival year in Edinburgh and a centrepiece of the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland is the world-renowned home of Hogmanay and while there is a wide variety of exciting local Hogmanay celebrations up and down the country, the spectacular of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has the special addition of marking the start of Edinburgh Festival’s 70th anniversary in 2017.
“To help celebrate the 70th anniversary, Scottish Government has provided £90,000 funding towards this year’s Midnight Moment, a visual and memorable extravaganza to welcome in 2017. Edinburgh’s Festivals contribute £313 million a year to the Scottish economy as a whole, and the 70th anniversary is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the valuable cultural influence of our well-loved festivals.”
Cllr Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “The first of the Festivals to celebrate 70 years since the birth of the world’s leading festival city in 1947, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay promises to deliver a colourful and truly international countdown to 2017. The 24th anniversary of Hogmanay will feature flavours of all of the city’s major festivals as it heralds this milestone year. We hope you can join us as we mark the 70 year anniversary of Edinburgh, The Festival City – the world’s platform for art and culture – starting with a New Year’s celebration like no other.”
Ken Hay, chair of Festivals Edinburgh, said “We are determined to use this 70th anniversary to ensure that Edinburgh’s Festivals play a lead role in shaping the future and inspiring new generations – and so we invite the world to join us in Edinburgh during 2017 as we put people and culture centre stage.”
All of Edinburgh’s Festivals will be participating in the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. As part of the Sprogmanay activities, families with young children are invited to decorate a giant cardboard Dazzle Ship with the Edinburgh Art Festival at the National Museum of Scotland from Friday 30 December to Sunday 1 January. Scottish storytellers from the International Storytelling Festival will be found throughout the Museum over the three days and the science buskers from the Edinburgh International Science Festival will be dropping in with mind-boggling experiments and dazzling science demonstrations.
In addition, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who accompany the Edinburgh International Festival fireworks every August, bring lively, pop-up performances and musical activities to Sprogmanay at the National Museum, while Andy Cannon and the Imaginate Festival present performances of Tales of a Grandson, a time-travelling adventure through Scotland’s past accompanied by composer and musician Wendy Weatherby.
The Tattoo Dance Company and an accompanying Piper from the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Pipers Trail will entertain premium package guests at the start of the Torchlight Procession on 30 December and, in partnership with the Edinburgh International Book Festival, The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess will be in conversation with Vic Galloway on their shared passion for music, vinyl and playing live at Festivals.
The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival has worked with Edinburgh’s Hogmanay to programme the Mound Stage at the World Famous Street Party on 31 December, presenting James Brown is Annie, Brass Gumbo & Blues n Trouble; Edinburgh International Film Festival offers classic films at the Edinburgh Filmhouse on New Year’s Day and a long-term collaboration with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe sees the Edinburgh’s Hogmanay box office hosted by the Fringe Shop on the Royal Mile.
Penny Dougherty and Al Thomson, Directors of Unique Events, said “As the final festival of 2016 and the first of 2017, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will bring in the New Year with an extra special Midnight Moment to launch the 70th anniversary year of Edinburgh as the world’s leading festival city. A full light and laser show will complement our world famous midnight fireworks, visible across the skies of Edinburgh and beyond. We are proud to be one of Edinburgh’s Festivals, working with our friends and colleagues across the Festival family to keep our small city on the world stage, welcoming the world to the Home of Hogmanay.
Paul Bush, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said “Scotland is the home of Hogmanay and people come from all over the world to experience Edinburgh’s packed three-day programme of events. It’s fitting as we head into Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology that the arrival of Edinburgh’s 70th anniversary as a world leading festival city will be celebrated during Edinburgh Hogmanay’s Midnight Moment. This will add both a memorable and spectacular element to the Hogmanay celebrations, as well as playing a valuable role in promoting Scotland as the perfect stage for events.”
Leonie Bell, Director, Arts and Engagement, Creative Scotland, said: “Creative Scotland is looking forward to the 70th anniversary year of Edinburgh as a festival city, heralded by this specially commissioned Midnight Moment during Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. The spectacular light display will mark the start of a special year celebrating Edinburgh’s status as the world’s leading festival city recognised globally for its art, culture and creativity. It also provides a moment to celebrate the founding ethos of the Edinburgh International Festival, that of creating “a flowering of the human spirit” in the Scottish capital.”
Stephen Duncan, Director of Commercial and Tourism at Historic Environment Scotland, who manage Edinburgh Castle, said: “Edinburgh Castle has been the backdrop for some of the most memorable moments in Scottish history and this is equally true of its contemporary role – providing the stage for year round, world-class events and celebrations. It’s exciting that the castle, the most iconic of Scottish landmarks, will once again help signal the start of the New Year in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. A role made doubly special as we mark the 70th anniversary year of Edinburgh as a leading festival city and the addition of the Midnight Moment, in what promises to make for a truly unique and memorable event as we welcome 2017 and Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”