Edinburgh's Hogmanay Street Party Cancelled

This is a copy of the Press Statement from the City of Edinburgh Council following the cancellation of Edinburgh's Hogmanay

1 January 2007


Edinburgh's Hogmanay Royal Bank Street Party was cancelled in the interests of public health and safety last night due to severe weather conditions within the city centre.

Events cancelled were the Royal Bank Street Party, the Concert in the Gardens, and the Ceilidh in the Gardens. However less severe wind conditions in the few minutes before midnight allowed six of the Seven Hills fireworks to be set-off, with a restricted firing of fireworks on the seventh hill, Castle Hill.

However a day of events is going ahead today (1 January 2007). This includes a series of outdoor activities at Holyrood Park.

The decision to cancel last night’s events was taken by all agencies involved including the City of Edinburgh Council, Unique Events and Lothian and Borders Police.

This followed two nights of successful events that had already taken place. The Torchlight Procession on 29 December attracted 15,000 people and more than 10,000 attended the Night Afore International (30 December).

Those who bought tickets, packs or passes for last night’s cancelled events by credit or debit card, on-line from the official web site, from Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Box Office at The Hub, Castlehill, Edinburgh, or from the Box Office and Shop at East Princes Street Gardens will receive an automatic refund within 28 days.

Those who booked tickets from all other official ticket outlets should contact their point of sale (ie Tickets Scotland on 0870 220 1116; Ripping Music at 91 South Bridge, Edinburgh; and Usher Hall Box Office on 0131 228 1155).

Andrew Holmes, Director of City Development for the City of Edinburgh Council said: "Although we were confident throughout the day that Edinburgh's Hogmanay could take place, the weather forecast deteriorated significantly in the course of the evening and we were experiencing local wind funnelling in Princes’ Street, leaving us no option but to cancel the Royal Bank Street Party.

"This decision was not taken lightly, however public safety concerns were the most important factor in coming to this conclusion.

"The weather experienced did not cause any structural damage to the stages, which proves just how robust our infrastructure has become since improvements were made following the cancellation of the event three years ago. However the wind speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour within the event arena meant that it was impossible to have any of the performers appearing on any of the stages."

“At this stage it is too early to clearly identify what the total cost of the cancellation of the Royal Bank Street Party will be, as there may be additional costs associated with last night’s weather. However we have £2million worth of insurance cover and are already working with our insurance agent.

““This is only the second time in the 14 years of the festival's history that we have had to cancel and it is a bitter blow that we have had to cancel one of the country's most iconic events. Although we can never be completely certain of the weather at this time of year, Edinburgh is Scotland’s capital city and the home of Hogmanay and we will always celebrate the occasion.”

Tom Halpin, Deputy Chief Constable, Lothian and Borders Police said: "I regret the cancellation of this Hogmanay party which was only agreed after a great deal of deliberation. Unfortunately the weather forecast worsened and in the interest of public safety it proved impossible to continue with the planned programme of events. The area remains closed off to the general public but will be reopened as soon as it is safe. We learn from every experience and look forward to next year's event which I'm sure will be a great success."

The Rt Hon Lesley Hinds Lord Provost of Edinburgh said: “The paramount concern in all our minds was for public safety. Reluctantly, this meant that some very difficult decisions had to be made. I hope that people understand the reasons behind our decisions and had a good night anyway.

“This only the second time in festival’s history that any aspect of it has had to be cancelled. However, it is worth remembering that Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is a four day festival. Today, Edinburgh started the New Year with a day of free family fun events throughout the city. We had a fantastic start to Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations with the Torchlight Procession, which was enjoyed by around 15,000 people. The following night, residents and visitors to the city experienced the intentional flavour of the Night Afore International, a fiesta of colour, sound and light with a German themed street arts extravaganza and the world’s longest Strip the Willow.”

Pete Irvine, Director of Unique Events said: "Obviously we are massively disappointed. It would be hard to describe how much work goes into this event and there is a huge team of people feeling very sad and deflated, but we will live to fight and entertain the world another day."