Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 is better than ever before with new events, including the family friendly Bairns Afore and a new look ceilidh at the foot of the city’s iconic castle, an extended fireworks display which will rival any other city in the world this New Year, and a revamped and animated Street Party that keeps the celebration going all evening.

The three-day festival opens on 30 December 2017 with the stunning traditional Torchlight Procession which this year blazes a new path seeing the river of light weave its way through the historic heart of the city around Holyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament before culminating in a stunning visual moment in Holyrood Park: #ScotWord project.

Marking the start of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will celebrate Scotland’s young citizens at the Torchlight Procession and give them the limelight on a Scottish and global stage. A Scotland wide engagement campaign co-designed and led by young people will seek to reach their peers in Scotland between the ages of 8 and 26 over the autumn/winter period this year in a quest to find #ScotWord. This one word will form the fiery finale of the popular Torchlight Procession on 30 December sharing with the world the answer of Scotland’s young people to the question “What makes you most proud to live in Scotland?”. Underbelly is working with Young Scot, the Scottish Government and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate to realise the project. Young Scottish singer and songwriter Nina Nesbitt leads the engagement campaign.

On 31 December, local and visiting families have the opportunity to celebrate New Year together in West Princes Street Gardens at Bairns Afore. The family friendly celebration includes an hour of entertainment and culminates in its very own ‘midnight’ fireworks moment… at 6pm, allowing families to take their children home to bed before the late night reveling gets underway.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay renews its partnership with One City Trust, donating 50 pence from every ticket sold for the Torchlight Procession to the Trust as the Torchlight Procession Charity Partner for 2017. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay will also make 300 free tickets for Bairns Afore available to the Trust to maximize the opportunity for young people around Edinburgh to get involved and celebrate Hogmanay. One City Trust is dedicated to fighting inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s Street Party is the only night long celebration that makes that midnight moment last with a 6 hour street party bringing the spirit of carnival and animating the length and breadth of the Princes Street arena in a hugely revamped programme for one of the world’s great parties.

From the moment the doors open at 7pm, till after the midnight bells have fallen silent, bands and DJs on stages, street performers and dancers, acrobats, disco divas and fire eaters will all combine to make it the party of a lifetime. Every great party needs a host and we’re delighted that the 2018 Street Party will be hosted by Sanjeev Kohli (Still Game, BBC). Scotland’s own Struan Leslie joins the creative team as director of the Street Party bringing his extensive experience across TV and stage productions.

Ringing in the New Year, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay sees the longest, biggest and best fireworks display for years – set to music and once again launched from Edinburgh Castle.

Underbelly is engaging an internationally renowned creative team of sound, light, audio visual and production designers to produce celebrations on the 31st December. The team is led by Martin Green, one of the UK’s leading live event producers, Head of Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and currently the CEO and Director of Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festival doesn’t stop when the bells finish ringing. On Monday 1 January 2018, the brave, the foolhardy and the generous dive into the chilly Firth of Forth for the Loony Dook, raising money for a huge range of charities in the process.

As dusk falls on 1 January, Edinburgh, the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature, celebrates its rich literary heritage and that of Scotland with projections across buildings and landmarks across the city. In a nod to Robert Burns’s poem Sketch New Year’s Day, Message from the Skies sees literary star Val McDermid join with dramaturg, Philip Howard of Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based projection company Double Take Projections and some of Scotland’s best soundscape artists to create and write a new short story which will lead audiences on a trail around Edinburgh. Message from the Skies runs until 25 January 2018 in a celebration of the Bard’s day too. Message from the Skies is a joint commission by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Edinburgh International Book Festival and is developed in partnership with Edinburgh City of Literature and is supported by Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals EXPO fund.

Edinburgh is the world’s festival city with internationally renowned festivals year-round and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicks them off at the beginning of every year.

Underbelly was awarded the contract by City of Edinburgh Council to produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay this spring and 2018 will see the first event under its direction. Underbelly was born out of Edinburgh, at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2000, and is known in Edinburgh already for its purple cow shaped Fringe presence and a successful 4 years of Edinburgh’s Christmas. Underbelly produces major outdoor events across the world including West End Live and Pride in London, the 2nd largest annual event in London other than the Marathon and which sees over 1 million people create a massive party atmosphere in London.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 is supported by City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Government through the Edinburgh Festival’s Expo Fund, EventScotland International Events Programme and Scotland’s Winter Festivals Fund and the Year of Young People 2018 Events fund, all working together to create a bold new Hogmanay for Scotland.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, said: “We are humbled and thrilled to be delivering a new programme for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay in 2018. Edinburgh can claim to be the home of New Year festivals and we will work hard to ensure that the programme delivers something fresh and exciting every year to keep residents, UK visitors and international tourists flocking to this world famous Festival City through the winter months.

“From the new culmination of the Torchlight Procession with Scotland’s young people’s chosen word being created in blazing torches to the extended midnight fireworks, the new Bairns Afore for families, the re-booted Street Party carnival and the almost month long project Message from the Skies illuminating the city’s dark January nights, we are confident that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 will offer lots of ways for people to enjoy this Must Do globally famous event.

“We’re proud to be working with some very talented people on Hogmanay including one of Scotland’s finest writers Val McDermid, executive producer Martin Green and our Street Party director Struan Leslie, our young ambassador Nina Nesbitt, and the very entertaining Hogmanay Host Sanjeev Kohli as well as organisations including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, One City Trust, Young Scot and our partners City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government, EventScotland and Creative Scotland.

“There is of course more to announce including the bands and musicians who will take to the stages on 31 December to entertain us, but tickets are now available so book yourself into the place to be this Hogmanay and look forward to saying ‘I Was There’.”

Minister for Winter Festivals and Burns Night Alasdair Allan, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a cornerstone event in the Winter Festivals and a brand leader in New Year celebrations around the world, showcasing all the many facets of Scotland’s rich and vibrant culture. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has provided £200,000 through our EXPO Fund to support ‘Message from the Skies’, new outdoor extravaganza that will be launched on 1 January as part of this year’s Hogmanay.

“Hogmanay hugely contributes to promoting Scotland as a fantastic visitor destination, a host of the world’s major events and a dynamic country rich in culture and creativity. Most importantly, it enhances Scotland’s reputation as a place where everyone is assured a warm welcome, whether they are visiting the country, are here for business or to study, or have chosen to live and work here.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “One of the annual highlights of Edinburgh’s event calendar and one which enhances Scotland’s reputation as the perfect stage for events, this year’s Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations will herald the start of Scotland’s 2018 Year of Young People and showcase a variety of brand new elements designed to appeal to a range of audiences.

“We are delighted to be supporting Underbelly with their exciting and ambitious plans for Edinburgh’s 25th Hogmanay celebrations. There are many places in the world to spend New Year, but few can match the uniquely authentic cultural experience which Scotland offers to thousands of visitors and locals alike each year.”

Martin Green, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Executive Producer said: “It’s an honour to play part in the production of this year’s Hogmanay celebrations. One of the greatest events in the world, it is exciting to work with the team to ensure it maintains its place as a must-go global event.”

Struan Leslie, Street Party Director said: “I am excited to be directing the Street Party at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018. It is a great opportunity to bring together all the elements of a traditional Hogmanay and remix and chop them about to create whole evening of twists and surprises to welcome everyone to ‘our house’. Building on the success of the last 24 years of celebrations will be like First Footing the whole city, as Edinburgh welcomes the world to 2018, in a party starting at 7pm and finishing at 1am.

“To realise all this, and other secret surprises, I am delighted to be collaborating with an amazing team of international and Scottish artists who will each bring world renowned skills in music, design, lighting, fireworks and performing arts.

“In the words of that Scottish icon, Andy Stewart, ‘Come in! Come In!’ – it will be lovely to see you!”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This year Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrates its 25th birthday so it’s fitting that it will be the biggest party ever staged in Scotland’s great capital city. The fireworks display is being extended with new events like Bairns Afore and Message from the Skies plus favourites such as the Torchlight Procession and Loony Dook. There will be something for everyone not just to see but to take part in. Come along and experience what Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is really about!”

The Lord Provost, Councillor Frank Ross, on behalf of the One City Trust said: “I’m delighted that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is partnering with One City Trust with money from Torchlight Procession tickets going to the charity and with 300 ticketys being donated via One City Trust to the young people of Edinburgh. Scotland’s great Capital has much to be proud of, however there are many people who do not have access to the privileges living in Edinburgh brings and modest sums of money can bring about huge changes to their lives. One City Trust’s important community projects support those people affected by social exclusion whether it is homelessness, prejudice or poverty.”

Nina Nesbitt, Scottish singer-songwriter and #ScotWord Ambassador said: “I’m proud to be part of the #ScotWord project as I’m passionate about helping the younger generation of Scotland have access to great opportunities and build a better future together.”