January 4, 2021



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 oot

Small 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.

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