Categories: Entertainment

New Year’s Eve countdown begins

HEADLINER – Hip-hop artist My Name is Kay will be the featured act at Events Edmonton's New Year's Eve party.

Where do you party for the New Year’s Eve countdown?

Just kiss the old year goodbye and ring in 2014 with a roar of a massive crowd and an exploding fireworks show at Events Edmonton’s New Year’s Eve Downtown Festival.

This free, non-alcoholic family festivity is poised to kick-off at Edmonton’s pyramid-shaped city hall. By 7 p.m. kids’ crafts and activities, theatre, magicians, puppetry, balloon artists, face painters and music will be in full swing.

“This year we’ve downsized a bit for children’s events,” says Events Edmonton general manager Paul Lucas. “We didn’t feel the library was being utilized all that well and it was difficult to program. As for the entertainment outside, normally it started at 9 p.m. We found crowds weren’t coming that early so we backed it up to 10 p.m.”

Full-throttle dance music will rock the night starting at 10 p.m. in Sir Winston Churchill Square with three exciting pop and hip-hop artists: Bryan Finlay, Grandtheft and My Name Is Kay.

Born and raised in Cape Breton, Kay Boutilier, better known by her stage moniker My Name is Kay, is a controversial pop/hip-hop artist. Now based in Los Angeles, she is a viral discovery. Her first debut single My Name is Kay spiked into a YouTube sensation with 480,000 hits and charted on the Canadian Hot 100.

With several albums and singles to her name, she’s also guest appeared on the albums of numerous heavy hitters such as Diplo, Steve Aoki, Cobra Starship, Robbie Rivera and Static Revenger.

The Toronto-based Grandtheft, one-half of Team Canada’s DJs, has established himself with an eclectic club sound. Respected as one of the best live DJs Canada has to offer, he tours 150 dates a year. His remixes and live sets have supported huge acts such as U2 and Arcade Fire. He’s performed at many big events including Parliament Hill and was one of the official DJs to Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics.

The lone local performer is Bryan Finlay, a hip-hop artist featured in Billboard Magazine and as one of Bell’s 2012 Media Emerging Arts. He’s released a couple of EPs and has performed alongside recording artist Kreesha Turner, Shiloh and Juno Award winner Q-Benjamin.

“Our entertainment this year is very dance focused. In previous years we had bar bands. This year we’re trying to cater to the hip-hop crowd. It was very successful last year. Mind you, we were blessed with very good weather,” Lucas adds.

Crowd estimates for last year reached 35,000 visitors. On average the crowd count rests at 25,000.

Ice skating in front of city hall and food concessions will be available throughout the evening.

St. Albert Transit will provide extended service on Route 201 to Edmonton and back. Extended bus service will only run from Village Transit Station leaving at 6:45 p.m. and will run every hour until 1:45 a.m.

New Year’s Eve trips to St. Albert depart the north side of Edmonton City Hall at 10 minutes past the hour. The last two trips are at 1:10 a.m. and 2:10 a.m. and arrive at Village Transit at 1:40 a.m. and 2:40 a.m.

All service after 6 p.m. on December 31 will be free.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.