The Fishguard New Year’s Eve Street Party is one of the UK’s top New Year’s Eve parties, drawing 4000 people to Fishguard to see in the New Year. Here’s the story behind it – and what to expect this year.
Back in 1999, a group of Fishguard locals decided to celebrate the Millennium in style by holding a street party in the town. It was a relatively low-key, low-budget event with local bands playing on a stage on the back of a lorry, but it went down well, and the town got a taste for it.
Almost 25 years later, it’s still going strong and has grown to be one of the top New Year’s Eve street parties in the UK. It draws people from all over Britain and from much further afield: Julie Mosdell, Chairlady of the Fishguard and Goodwick Community Events Association (FGCEA), which organises the party, says some visitors even come from Australia. A total of 4000 revellers are expected this year.
“It takes a full year to plan,” she says. “We usually have a meeting in January to do a debrief of what’s just happened and then we have February and August off but apart from that, we meet every month to plan the next event.”
These days, the A487, a trunk road that runs through the heart of the town, is closed off for the event. The Market Square sits at the centre of the party, with a stage hosting acts throughout the evening.
“This year we start with a local band called Sorted who play ska music and are very popular with the locals,” says Julie. “Then we have the headline act come on at about 10.30. We’re going back to the 80s this year with the Essential 80s covers band, a five-piece band who will play until midnight. Then as the clock strikes 12 we’ll have a piper in full regalia playing Auld Lang Syne.
“After that, we’ll have a 15-minute firework display which is sponsored by Stena Ferries who are the main employees in town and a big sponsor for the event.”
All the surrounding bars, pubs and restaurants will be open serving from outside bars, with the local chip shop staying open until the small house and the Royal Oak open until 6am.
“We want the local businesses to benefit from it,” says Julie. “Usually December and January in the town are very quiet, so the income they get from this is very welcome. We have one street trader with us this year – a burger van – but apart from it’s all local businesses staying open and selling their food and drink. The B&Bs benefit too because people stay over.”
For families with young children, the festivities kick off during the day with fun activities – including bouncy castles – at the Town Hall in the afternoon. These will be free for people with wristbands for the evening event, but people who are not attending in the evening have the option to pay on the door.
Julie is looking forward to seeing everybody enjoying a fun and safe New Year’s Eve, with faces old and new gathering for the festivities.
“We have people that have attended every year so since it started, and wouldn’t dream of being anywhere else,” she says. “For value for money, you can’t beat it: the wristbands cost just £5. And once this year is finished, we’ll get to work planning a very special 25th anniversary event for 2024/25!”