First Night Northampton 2017
Happy New Year! You're invited to attend First Night — Northampton's most beloved signature event. On Saturday, December 31st, the Center for the Arts and PeoplesBank welcome you to the 32nd edition of our city-wide New Year's Eve party. Since 1985, First Night Northampton has filled the Paradise City with a 12-hour, family-friendly festival of the arts culminating in a traditional ball-raising from the roof of the Hotel Northampton. Gather with friends, neighbors and visitors at 20 terrific downtown venues for an astounding array of entertainment presented by hundreds of talented performers. Our efforts are supported by generous local sponsors and dedicated volunteers. One hundred percent of proceeds benefit community arts.
Our noon kick-off at the Academy of Music offers twice as many thrills with TWO performances of SHOW Circus Studio's eye-popping Holiday Party. Or join the action at "The Great Race of the Tortoise & the Hare," presented by Paintbox Theatre at 1 and 2 pm at Theatre 14. Don't miss a repeat of last year's double feature starring the A2Z Yo-Yo Team and Mad Science of Western New England in the 2-4 pm slot at John M. Greene Hall. Our performance program is filled with hours of excitement for kids and adults. In the afternoon, enjoy jugglers, magicians, dancers, puppets, a cappella voices plus classical and contemporary music from solo to quintet, acoustic to electric. We even have a guitar orchestra! Jam with Sam at Forbes Library, or sing along with the Nields at their family show in First Churches Sanctuary. Treat yourself to the Valley Light Opera, making a fourth First Night appearance with two performances of "Hansel and Gretel," a delightful kid-sized version of the Humperdinck classic, 4 and 5 pm at Theatre 14.
Fireworks at 6:15 top off the afternoon and signal the start of the evening entertainment. The City of Northampton hosts a fabulous display that lights up the sky from the roof of the central parking garage. You can see the fireworks from all over town. After that, the festivities continue with a diverse range of offerings, including back-to-back performances by the beloved Northamptones at the Academy and capped by a single show starring one-man wonder The Suitcase Junket with Lula Wiles. Feel like dancing? Stroll down Conz Street where you'll discover rockabilly stompers L'il BeeDee & the Doo-Rites at the World War II Club. Or walk up Green Street to catch the high energy Senegalese beat of Boston band M'Bolo at Hallie Flanagan. Prefer to sit back and listen? First Night favorite Brooks Williams makes a solo appearance at The Parlor Room, while dynamic duo Evelyn Harris and Miro Sprague jazz up the night at First Churches. As for trios, why not take a magical trip to the Caribbean with the rhythms of Jose Gonzalez and Criollo Clasico at Edwards Church?
Later, it's time to gather at the Hotel Northampton for the iconic raising of the ball. D.J. Johnny Memphis pays homage to our unique COUNT-UP by spinning up-beat tunes that will have you dancing in the streets by midnight. A single bargain-priced button opens the doors to every event at every venue. Buy one early at a local vendor or online, and check out the companion performance schedule as well as the logistical tips that follow.
"Like" our Facebook page to keep up with the excitement. And stay tuned for our First Night Northampton 2017 iPhone App, coming soon!
FIRST NIGHT LOGISTICS
Parking: On First Night, there is free on-street parking. All of Northampton's municipal lots are free EXCEPT for the downtown parking garage. Smith College parking lots and the Smith College garage on West Street are complimentary and open to the general public. There are also lots at Forbes Library, the Northampton Senior Center, and the World War II Club.
Please remember that access to and from the E.J. Gare Parking Garage will be restricted from approximately 5:45pm to 6:45pm because of the fireworks display. The same is true for the adjacent municipal lots. Similarly, King Street parking is restricted during the evening in order to empty spaces adjacent to the Hotel Northampton for the ball-raising. Please do NOT park at bagged meters or in areas that are clearly marked as restricted.
Button Sales on Saturday, December 31st: Of course, the easiest and most economical plan is to buy your First Night button in advance. Online sales continue until midnight on Friday, December 30th. There are no additional fees for buying buttons online. Locations for purchasing buttons on December 31st are limited. Your best bet is the First Night box office located on the second floor of Thornes Marketplace, open from 10 am until 9 pm with payment by cash or check only (ATM available). You can also purchase buttons downtown at State Street Fruit Store (credit cards accepted) and the Hotel Northampton. They are for sale (cash) at the door of these performance venues: Academy of Music; Theatre 14 at Smith College; World War II Club; Northampton Senior Center; John M. Greene Hall. They are also sold at Cooper's Corner in Florence and A.J. Hastings in Amherst.
At the venues: In order to accommodate our audiences and to make things easier for the volunteers, please cooperate by lining up at entrances in an orderly fashion and exiting the venues after each performance. This also keeps things running on time. Note: Many shows are offered twice, so if you don't make it into the first one, you'll probably catch the second.