Once again it’s time to party. The world did not end on Dec. 21. So get off the couch, dust off those dancing shoes and head to the New Year’s Eve Festival in downtown Edmonton to usher in 2013.
Traditionally, the blissful mayhem is reminiscent of a winter Mardi Gras with live music, street performers, dancing, stilt walkers, fire twirlers, games, activities and on-the-go cuisine.
It’s all capped with a fabulous explosion of fireworks at midnight. And best of all there are no paid tickets required to this alcohol-free tradition.
This year the Sir Winston Churchill Square shindig is headlined by Campus Thieves, an energetic rockin’ fivesome featuring St. Albert’s Ryan McGale as lead vocalist and keyboardist.
“We feel privileged and grateful. But we also feel it’s very deserving. We work hard and our talent shines through,” says McGale, a Bellerose High graduate.
Rounding out Campus Thieves is Caleb Steinwandt, Codie Fetter and brothers Mac and Spencer Huddleston.
St. Albert’s dynamic country-rock duo Jessy Mossop and Stephen Lecky will perform at 10 p.m. Joining them is Allyson McIvor (drums) and Johnny Morano (bass).
Sandwiched in between Campus Thieves and the Mossop-Lecky band is electronic dance music Get Recked, western singer Jasmine Singh and country faves Hey Romeo.
Campus Thieves was recommended to the Events Edmonton organizing committee through Brenda Rains of Dynasty Records Canada. She met the band after their spectacular 2011 Music Centre Canada Battle of the Bands win.
Part of the group’s mass appeal is the diverse rhythms and sounds of their songs from the psychedelic imagery based You and I to the intoxicated rock-infused The Chaser to the 80s beat pop Organ Donor.
“We’re very unified and we have some strong artistic views. We like to explore unique forms of music, and we don’t have the same vibe for each song. We want to explore our universe,” says McGale.
The band has been in rehearsal for the New Year’s celebrations for a month. Keeping in mind that it’s a special event, they are blending songs from their album, some covers and a few new tunes they haven’t played before.
While this is the first time Campus Thieves performs at the festival, the Mossop-Lecky duo is on their second go. Last year, in combination with the Metropolis Winter Festival, the pair sang in the backdrop of the pyramid shaped city hall.
“We are all very excited to do this. Last year we performed earlier, so there weren’t as many people. This year we hope there will be a good crowd,” said Mossop, who is looking forward to sharing the outdoor stage with Hey Romeo.
At city hall, the entertainment starts at 8 p.m. with musician-storyteller Norman Foote, former St. Albert Children’s Theatre actor Sean Sonego and a roster of young country singers including Payton Klassen, Brendan Guy, Cassidy Zahar, Olivia Wik and Candice Ryan.
Comedy magician Brian Lehr squares off in city hall’s north foyer with two set gigs starting at 7 p.m. followed by airbrush face painting with Chiklit.
And in the Stanley Milner Library, Captain Thunderpants hosts both a stage show and a kids’ parade.
For detailed festival information go online to www.eventsedmonton.ca.
There is limited parking available in downtown Edmonton, therefore St. Albert Transit is supplying bus service. On New Year’s Eve, the last bus to Edmonton departs St. Albert from Village Tree Mall at 1:45 p.m. The last bus, No. 210, departs Edmonton from the south side of Winspear Centre at 2:10 a.m.
For up-to-date transit information visit www.ridestat.ca.