Behind the Scenes at Edinburgh's Hogmanay


Behind the world's favourite New Year's celebration are a team of people squirrelling away to ensure that Hogmanay is as spectacular as it possibly can be. 

We caught up with three of the team behind the scenes to get their views on their favourite bits about Hogmanay. 


SARAH GARDINER: Producer of the Midnight Fireworks, the Loony Dook and the New Year's Day Triathlon

"What's special about Edinburgh's Hogmanay is the coming together of people from around the world who want to share a great time. There's a phenomenal openness. With other events, you go for yourself, but this experience is more shared. Instead of looking at one stage, you're looking at the sky and all the people around you.

"We work on the fireworks gently throughout the year. We have to consider the different sites and the creative themes of the festival, trying to create something that will be strong for the audience who'll be there on the night and for the broadcast audience. We have a watching audience of 1.5 billion people, so broadcasting is increasingly important and informs our choice of colour – some colours that work better to camera than others. It’s a very merry crowd and the excitement of blowing up your own work is always rather thrilling.

"Then, anyone who's mad enough to do sport on 1 January very often has had an early night and they're full of energy and up for a bit of fun. With the Loony Dook, there's fancy dress and a carnival atmosphere, it's very sociable and you hear all kinds of different languages chatting on through the parade. Then they all jump in the sea together.

"For me, it's a huge privilege to do something that helps people create memories that they talk about for years."

SHARON BURGESS: Event producer on Your Lucky Day

"Edinburgh's Hogmanay has a quality of enchantment ¬– everything from the Torchlight Procession to the Big Bang street-theatre finale. There's the warmth of good will throughout the city. People coming here get a warm welcome and we fill their time with interesting events. It’s not just shopping and going to a bar, it's also going to events that have been put together with real passion.

"Last year, we did an event called the New Year Games and that gave us the appetite to create another fun event inside some of Edinburgh's buildings of interest. This year it's called Your Lucky Day, and the chance element means people will keep an open mind, take their chance and experience something they may never have chosen. You may never have been to a ceilidh, for example, and here you'll be experiencing it on New Year's Day in a really splendid building.

"It's been great fun to put together because we're incorporating lots of genres – music, dance, performance – and appealing to a huge range of audiences. There's work that's never been seen, and that's very exciting, as well as work that's established and has already achieved huge plaudits. New Year is my favourite time."

Fireworks light up the sky at Edinburgh's Hogmanay JOHN ROBB: Event producer

"Edinburgh's Hogmanay is a unique event. We were the first to conceive it and we have had a constant team since the start – people who really love putting it on for the city. One of the joys is being part of a team who are constantly trying to work out the best way to keep ourselves proud of the event.

"With this team, we take the basic idea of an event on paper and manage all aspects of it: the creative side, the design, the health and safety and the operational aspects. It's never quite the same from one year to the next. For example, this year the Torchlight Procession is starting on Chambers Street instead of the High Street, so we have to conceive the event to go in a different direction, which is interesting and challenging.

"We have an Events Planning Organisational Group with representatives of the police, fire, ambulance, roads and local authority. Everything is discussed at our meetings and then taken back to subgroups who talk in greater detail. The traffic subgroup, for example, talks to the buses and taxis about road closures. It's a very well oiled machine and we never pick the easy option – it’s always what will work best."


Edinburgh's Hogmanay runs from the 30th December to 1 January with events such as the Torchlight Procession, the world-famous Street Party, the Loony Dook and a packed New Year's Day programme tailored to make the most of Lucky 13. 


Buy your Hogmanay tickets here>>

Edinburgh's Hogmanay, 30 December–1 January,


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