- Edinburgh’s Hogmanay responds to Covid-19 with innovation and the first fully online celebration in the festival’s history
- Fare Well is a new poem by Jackie Kay that bids farewell to 2020 and wishes a better year for 2021
- Narrated by David Tennant and others, Fare Well underscores the UK’s largest swarm drone display, recorded in the Scottish Highlands and cut to spectacular views above Edinburgh
- Visit www.edinburghshogmanay.com to witness the spectacle for yourselves from 7pm on 29 December
Edinburgh, Scotland – Filmed in the Highlands near Spean Bridge, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay tonight hosts the premiere of the first instalment of its 2020 online celebrations, entitled Fare Well. A visually captivating and emotive experience for online viewers, Fare Well sees 150 individual drones take to the skies to deliver the UK’s largest swarm drone show.
This air has heather and malt on its breath
as it sighs, puffed oot after a year of death,
under the blue mask of its flag. The Saltire’s
been a warning cross. Dinny come too near.
The first drone display of this magnitude in the UK, Fare Well is Edinburgh Hogmanay’s innovative response to how to close the door on 2020 and celebrate the start of 2021.
Fare Well brings to life an exciting new piece of writing by award-winning poet and Scots Makar, Jackie Kay. Taking inspiration from what we’ve been able to do and not do during 2020, Jackie writes about the way that the air carries airs, music, the virus, chants and hymns. Despite the trauma of the months gone by, we can and must still hope. Hope for the future, hope for a new year and hope for each other. Part One of Fare Well looks at the year gone by – the funerals and weddings cancelled, the griefs and despairs which have been collective, with a feeling that the world has become a village.
All along the lit paths lights go ootSmall notes fall from the air.
And you cannae forget the year’s goodbyes
The endless waves the old year sent
Using sophisticated AI software to choreograph their movements, the drones reached an altitude of 150m and top speeds of up to 25mph to form images created by Scottish illustrator, Gary Wilson. Reflecting both the words from Jackie’s poem and the surrounding nature of the Highlands, the drones depict a series of images including a stunning Stag galloping across the scenery and the Saltire Cross. Lending their voices to the first part are renowned actors David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond and Lorne MacFadyen; with 25-year-old native Gaelic speaker Winnie from the Isle of Skye completing the line-up, all to a musical score from Skye-based Celtic fusion band, Niteworks.
Let us remember and never forget
That we won’t let our hopes fizzle out
Someone hears the Bereavement Song through till dawn
And someone reads the lost stories of the stars.
Fare Well is split into three, 5-minute parts, that can be viewed online at 7pm on each of 29th, 30th and 31st December.
The stay-at-home event series is FREE to watch and streamed at edinburghshogmanay.com so Hogmanay fans all over the world can tune in from the comfort and safety of their homes.
Exclusive behind the scenes and ‘making of’ content will also be available to accompany the shows on www.edinburghshogmanay.com.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors of Underbelly and producers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, commented:
As 2020 draws to a close, it was important both to reflect on the year gone by and to look ahead to a better new year. Over the last four months we have been innovating with an amazing team to design and produce this world-class event in Fare Well, which viewers from around the world can tune in to watch this Hogmanay.
Every year we celebrate Edinburgh’s unique position as being the Home of Hogmanay and while we can’t gather in person, this online event gives us a moment to collectively join together to reflect and bid fare well to 2020.
We would like to extend our enormous thanks to partners City of Edinburgh Council, the Scottish Government, EventScotland and Creative Scotland. We will be sitting down with our families to watch part one tonight and can’t wait to reveal the rest of the story on the 30th and the grand finale on Hogmanay itself.