No one loves to party on New Year’s Eve quite like hardy northerners. No matter how low temperatures dip, several thousand partygoers always show up at New Year’s Eve Downtown, ready to boogie and sing Auld Lang Syne.
Events Edmonton, the festival’s non-profit producer, hosts the celebration’s 10th anniversary. This year it partnered with Chopin 2010 to display a 10-minute midnight fireworks demonstration choreographed to the composer’s famous Polonaise.
“We’re always looking for a new angle. Last year it was the [University of Alberta’s] 100th anniversary and we partnered with the University of Alberta and had green and gold fireworks,” said general manager Giuseppe Albi.
The family friendly, non-alcoholic festival follows its familiar format with the wildly popular outdoor main stage on Winston Churchill Square and three smaller indoor stages in Edmonton City Hall, Stanley Milner Library and CBC Centre Stage.
Designed to keep party-goers warm, the outdoor stage gradually ramps up the heat as the evening progresses with country singers Hanson Jeans, the rock experience of Sugar Rush and the beach-blasted Catalyst’s calypso, reggae and rock and roll sound.
“In between sets at 9:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m., the art gallery will have a spectacular light up for 10 minutes. What you’ll see from outside is the entrance, the atrium and the stairwell, a big glass showpiece with a light element Aurora Borealis.”
The Edmonton City Hall stage, with a kids’ craft area, balloon artists and a roving magician, is also the main venue for the polished verve of country band All The Rage in Dallas.
At the Stanley Milner Library, a craft area and clowns share the spotlight with Simon-Marc, a piano soloist performing some of Chopin’s works and Myrol, featuring Jeff King, Reba McEntire’s guitar player.
And the U-22 CBC Stage highlights rock musician Lyra Brown, bluegrass multi-instrumentalists The Command Sisters and folk singer Joe Nolan.
St. Albert Transit offers free rides starting at 6 p.m. from Village Landing transit exchange. The last bus leaves at 1:45 a.m. and in Edmonton, the final bus departs at 2:10 a.m. from the Law Courts Building.
Below is a list of the night’s goings-on:
Sir Winston Churchill Square
• 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Street dance on the square
Square Main Stage
• 9 to 9:45 p.m. Hanson Jeans a.k.a. Kidd Country Bill Hanson with his three children Billie, Brett and Camryn create a fresh twist of country, top 40 rock and a dash of heavy metal.
• 10 to 10:45 p.m. Sugar Rush – Fronted by Thea Neumann, this rock band delivers an eclectic vocal line-up packaged with high-energy showmanship.
• 10:45 to 11:45 p.m. Catalyst – Boogie to the steel pan stylings of calypso, reggae and rock and roll.
• Midnight – 10-minute pyrotechnic and fireworks display.
Edmonton City Hall
• 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. Supervised kids’ craft area, balloon artists and a magician.
• 9 to 11:30 p.m. All the Rage in Dallas, a high-energy country band.
Stanley A Milner Library
• 9 to 9:30 p.m. and 11 to 11:30 p.m. Simon Marc
• 9:45 to 10:45 p.m. Myrol featuring Jeff King
CBC Centre Stage
9 to 9:45 p.m. Lyra Brown
10 to 10:30 p.m. The Command Sisters
10:45 to 11:30 p.m. Joe Nolan