The Vermont Cynic

First Night festival returns to town


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Those remaining in Burlington over winter break shouldn’t worry about making New Year’s Eve plans.

First Night Burlington has  you covered.

First Night Burlington, Inc. is a private non-profit organization whose goal is “to bring the community together with an accessible, substance-free New Year’s Eve celebration centered on the arts,” according to the mission statement on their website.

The annual celebration is Vermont’s largest single day arts festival.

This year’s event will feature almost 100 artists and events spread across 18 venues, according to the organization’s website.

“First Night Burlington is about the arts, but it’s about so much more than the arts,” according to a Nov. 14  press release from Burlington Council woman Karen Paul.

“It celebrates our spirit, it celebrates our creative economy, our culture, our values, our commitment to children and families and encourages an accessible and healthy way to celebrate the New Year,” Paul said.

First Night Burlington Executive Director Tom Ayers said that the organization has made an effort to reduce prices and streamline the logistics of this year’s event in response to feedback from the community after last year’s festival.

“The cost of a First Night adult button has dropped to just $15 this year. That’s a 25 percent reduction from last year’s price of $20,” Ayers said. “And in addition, for the first time in 30 years First Night will be offering a student button for just $10, available to all students of all ages with valid student ID,” he said.

“Notable changes include scheduling all children’s and family performances earlier in the day and within adjacent venues, in order to make the festival more accessible to families with young children,” Ayers said.

Performances will also be grouped according to genre this year, which Ayers said will make Burlington’s First Night festival easier to navigate.

“Fans of particular performers and performance types won’t have to flit around quite so much at this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, because each of our venues will be specializing in a particular genre of performance,” he said.

This years lineup is set to include “International music at the Unitarian Church, jazz at the Flynn Space, classical sounds in the First Baptist Church, etc.”

Tickets and buttons for the event can be purchased from Burlington First Night’s website at www.firstnightburlington.com.

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First Night festival returns to town