January 4, 2021



Filmed in the Highlands near Spean Bridge, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay continues this evening with Part 2 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.


“The thoosand different blethers o’ the air

translate in thi wurld’s winds. We kin aw hear,

if we listen, that we ur aw Other

in yin way or anither;

As yon moon is a loved, familiar face

and aw that keeps us separate is space.”


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 and melds together one of the world’s new technologies: drones with one of the oldest art forms: poetry. Fare Well brings to life an inspiring 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 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.


Whilst part one of Fare Well looked at the year that’s gone by, the second phase turns to look at us today and to give thanks for the many acts of community and kindness displayed by so many across the country. Jackie Kay’s narrative takes an optimistic tone, reflecting on the good of the human spirit and the sense of togetherness that has emerged from 2020.


Part two of Fare Well includes images of “WE” in the skies above Edinburgh – a message from Scotland of universality and commonality – with “WE” translated into many languages including French, Gaelic, Arabic, Greek, Korean, Mandarin and Thai.

“And folk sing the wurld over

 blending the atmosphere;

music reaching oot to bless the air,

and now we ken oor neighbours’ names.”


Using sophisticated AI software to choreograph their movements, the drones from UK based swam drone pioneers, Celestial, reached an altitude of 150m and top speeds of up to 25mph to form images created by Scottish illustrator, Gary Wilson.  Reflecting Jackie’s poem, the drones in Part 2 depict a series of images including a whale, a selkie and an enormous SCOTLAND over Edinburgh Castle. Lending their voices to the second part are renowned actors David Tennant, Siobhan Redmond, Lorne MacFadyen, Scots Makar Jackie Kay, and 25-year-old native Gaelic speaker Winnie from the Isle of Skye. The film is set to a specially composed musical score from Skye-based Celtic fusion band, Niteworks.


“A grandfather cries his wife’s name oot loud,

An’ a grandmother faces tomorrow;

we send emojis through the ether,

to weather the storm; together, alone.”

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 from 30 December.


What's On