Edinburgh's Hogmanay: Where the wild things are
Nowhere on the planet does Hogmanay like Scotland – and nowhere in Scotland does Hogmanay like Edinburgh. As one year turns into the next, Scotland's capital city turns into party central. Revellers from all over the world gravitate here for that extra dose of New Year craziness. If you want to see in 2012 in the wildest way, then Edinburgh's Hogmanay is for you.
Grabbing the headlines is the most rocking gig of the year: the Concert in the Gardens featuring Primal Scream. It is 20 years since Bobby Gillespie's band released Screamadelica, an album they have been playing in its entirety on their anniversary tour this year. For Edinburgh's Hogmanay they will be doing that for one last time, marching through dance-rock classics such as Movin' On Up, Loaded and Come Together as the midnight bells approach. Then, to get 2012 off to an unbeatable start, they'll be running through three decades' worth of greatest hits. "It will be a brilliant end to the best year we have ever had," says Gillespie.
On the same stage earlier in the evening, there'll be Glasgow's Sons & Daughters, promising an "up-tempo party" set, as well as London's Bombay Bicycle Club, bringing a Different Kind of Fix in the midst of their current world tour.
That's not the end of the rock action, however. Up on Princes Street, they've programmed the biggest street party line-up ever, taking place over five stages as the midnight bells approach. Depending on which stage you're at, you can bring in the New Year with Friendly Fires, Mark Ronson, the Vaccines or the Peatbog Faeries, while at the Mound Party Stage you can enjoy the comic capers of the Cuban Brothers and Frisky & Mannish.
For a more traditional – and more energetic – alternative, you could get on your dancing shoes for the Keilidh, an evening of non-stop hooley fun on a purpose-built outdoor dance floor on the Mound Precinct. Don't worry if you're not up to speed with your Gay Gordons and your Strip the Willows: the ceilidh caller will take you through the jigs and reels move by move. The whole event is powered along by the hip-swinging sounds of Hugh MacDiarmid's Haircut, Ceilidhdonia and the Sensational Jimi Shandrix Experience.
Elsewhere in town, you can enjoy the extravagant club spectacular of Vegas! with a Grand Hogmanay Ball over three floors of Adam House in Chambers Street or you can head to Summerhall, the city's newest venue, for New Year in the Courtyard in which eight DJs will be spinning house, electro, drum'n'bass and more. Meanwhile, Mark Ronson is hanging around for an official Edinburgh's Hogmanay after party at the HMV Picture House where the beats keep coming until 5am.
For those who’ve got the stamina, the thrills and spills continue on New Year's Day. Out at South Queensferry, in the shadow of the Forth Rail Bridge, the Loony Dook is a charity event in which ordinary people take an unseasonable swim, many of them in fancy dress. For the past 25 years, the more foolhardy revellers have realised the best way to shake off that Hogmanay hang-over is by taking a dip in the icy waters of the Firth of Forth. They round off their chilly morning exercise with a Dookers Parade at 11am before hitting South Queensferry's pubs, cafes and restaurants.
After that, you can head back into town where the Filmhouse is showing Trainspotting (1.30pm), the ultimate Edinburgh come-down movie. Part of a special Hogmanay series of films set in Edinburgh, the adaptation of the Irvine Welsh novel is a shocking and shockingly funny vision of the city's 1980s heroin culture.
After that, you're allowed to have a lie down.
Edinburgh's Hogmanay, 30 December 2011–1 January 2012