by Neal Wallace
Edinburgh is known across the world as the place to be when it comes to new year celebrations.
This year it’s set to become even bigger, with the addition of a “One Day”, a day of celebration to mark the 1/1/11. The event, funded by the Scottish Government’s expo fund, will showcase the best in Scottish talent, with poetry, singing and music in a free, unticketed concert in the afternoon.
Hogmanay organiser Peter Irvine said: “We are delighted that the Scottish Government’s Expo Fund has enabled us to pull together one of the strongest line-ups of Scottish writing and musical talent probably ever assembled to play over one afternoon. This roll call of talent demonstrates that the power of the word and the song is alive and well in Scotland.”
Fife-born singer KT Tunstall will headline the event with the “Resolution Concert” at the west Princes St. Gardens. Tunstall herself has handpicked the line-up, which includes Scottish artists Kassidy, King Creosote and Silver Columns. The capacity of the concert is just 3,000, a tiny proportion of the 100,000 revellers expect to descend on the city this new year.
A full programme has been announced for “One Day”, to be hosted in the newly name Mound Precinct on Princes Street Gardens. The event will begin with a reading of new year haikus by some of Scotland’s top poets, including Alan Spence and Andrew Greig.
The main stage will then host “Scotland’s Number Ones”, with exclusive performances by Scotland’s 2010 award winning musicians, before Tunstall’s headline show.
Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said Hogmanay is a time when Scotland “shines on the world stage”, stating that it generates £29 million for the Scottish economy. She added: “One Day adds a dynamic and innovative edge to our traditional festivities, highlighting the best of contemporary Scottish music, culture and creativity. It will help cement Scotland’s global reputation as a fantastic visitor destination and the best place in the world to see in the bells.”
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations date back to the ancient Anamistic practices of sun and fire worship in the deep mid-winter, which later evolved into the great Roman winter festival of Satumalia.
Thousands of years on, Edinburgh now plays host to one of the world’s biggest parties. The event in its current form was first organised in 1993, after the highly successful “Summit in the City” conference a year earlier.
The 1996/97 street party drew a crowd of 300,000, leading to safety concerns and since then the party has been a ticketed. The capacity is now limited to 100,000, with around 20,000 expected to attend the “One Day” celebrations.
Irvine said he was confident the event would be a success, saying that “it will be One Great Day in Edinburgh to remember.”