Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party could be dropped as part of plans to reimagine the city’s winter festivals.
Edinburgh City Council is seeking new producers for Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay festivals from 2022-2025.
For the Hogmanay celebrations, producers are being asked to deliver the traditional aspects, including a “significant midnight moment” which could include fireworks, drones, lighting or some other major spectacle.
However, they will not have to provide a street party.
The tender specification document states: “Whilst previous events have incorporated live music and a large street party, the contractor is not obliged to repeat this format but must propose alternative entertainment that maintains or increases the media and audience impact.”
The traditional Hogmanay street party in the Scottish capital has been cancelled for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, but normally draws crowds of tens of thousands of people.
Producers will also be asked to extend Hogmanay Festival events and activities to other parts of the city outside of the centre, such as light installations at Granton waterfront and Leith.
Historically, Edinburgh’s Christmas has taken place over a six-week period from around the third weekend in November to around January 6 and has featured activities including a market, fairground, family attractions and an ice rink.
The council wants to see Christmas celebrations distributed more widely throughout the city centre to avoid overcrowding, and the introduction of alcohol-free times and/or areas.
It also wants to improve the environmental sustainability of the event, including through the local sourcing of products and minimising use of greenspace.
The specifications were devised in response to the findings of a major independent survey into the future of Edinburgh’s Winter Festivals conducted last year.
Edinburgh City Council leader, Adam McVey, said: “Through our citywide conversation with residents, businesses and stakeholders last year, it was clear that there was overwhelming support for the continuation of Christmas and Hogmanay celebrations in the Capital, but with a revised format.
“More than 8600 people and 35 organisations responded to the survey, with 87% expressing support for a Christmas celebration and 86% for Hogmanay.
“I’m confident that by acting on residents’ feedback, we can remain the home of Hogmanay and ensure our Christmas events, enjoyed by so many across the city, continue in a way that balances residents’ needs and aspirations for how they should look and feel in future.”
The tender responses will be used to draw up a shortlist for further consideration, and the council hopes to have a producing partner in place by the summer.
For Hogmanay, the successful contractor will be required to “maintain the city’s Hogmanay Festival status as a world class event that promotes the city internationally”.
Council depute leader, Cammy Day, said: “Our winter festivals are internationally renowned and, from our conversation with the city, we were pleased that the majority wanted the capital to keep its place on the world map for Christmas celebrations and as home of Hogmanay.
“As well as contributing to the wellbeing of our residents, our winter festivals deliver real economic impact, benefitting tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors in particular.
“With these new contracts, we want to continue to provide inclusive, high-quality, festive celebrations, further enhance the city’s reputation and allow the benefits to be shared across our town centres and communities.”