Note: Details and Schedule Follow this Gallery of First Night Performers
Gallery: “A New Dimension”
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Arts announced the lineup and details for Saratoga First Night 2020, a citywide arts and music festival for people of all ages. Thousands will gather downtown on Tuesday, Dec. 31, as Saratoga Arts hosts over 60 performing groups in venues throughout the city, with a 5K road race kicking off the night.
This year’s First Night theme is A New Dimension—and the festival kicks off the new decade with a new feel and a host of performing acts new to Saratoga Springs this year.
Throughout the evening at the City Center, First Night revelers will journey through time with the Joey Thomas Big Band, a Grammy-nominated swing group that plays everything from Big Band music of the 1930 and 40s to horn music of the 60s and 70s—as well as classic rock and contemporary hits of today. They share the headlining stage with Wild Adriatic, a rowdy blues-rock band with an explosive live performance to keep the dance party going. Also, at the City Center, Saratoga’s legendary rock band The Figgs, pop-rock favorites Sirsy and high-school heavy metal band Reprise play side stages.
Progressive string quartet Blind Crow, a crew of virtuoso pickers, brings their infectious rhythms, technical proficiency and insane energy to Caffè Lena. New York City’s acclaimed Chinese Theater Works appear at Lake Avenue School to perform “Tiger Tales,” a shadow puppet performance drawing on Chinese folktales and literature. Over at the Saratoga Arts Gallery, DJ and emcee Sime Gezus warms up the crowd with chill beats.
Other acts bringing new energy and perspective to First Night 2020 include jazzy-funky jam band Let’s Be Leonard and Tambourelli & Her SuperTrips, led by a vocalist with a powerful and captivating presence reminiscent of Janis Joplin. Guitarist and composer Nick Millevoi (John Zorn, Nels Cline) unveils his Desertion Trio, which fearlessly explores the history of instrumental electric guitar music. Drank the Gold is a new duo from Saratoga Springs with a rising reputation and an innovative take on traditional old-time North Atlantic folk music.
Returning acts this year include favorites the McKrells, one of the region’s most influential and best-loved Celtic acts. The North & South Dakotas pay homage to the spirit of old-time American music and mountain folk with a harmony-rich sound. Robanic Reggae Band gets funky with a colorful range of Caribbean music, including old-school reggae, calypso and the latest dancehall sounds from Jamaica. And darkly nostalgic singer-songwriter Belle-Skinner brings her hauntingly beautiful pop to New Year’s Eve.
A $20 button provides admission to all of the performers—which also includes surf music, storytelling, skateboarding demos, country line dancing, face painting, martial arts, tarot reading, barbershop singing, Shakespeare improv, punk and party bands, educational animal shows, Saratoga Youth Symphony and much more.
The city of Boston originated the idea of First Night in 1976 as an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration filled with arts, music and other festivities. The concept spread around the country and the world. Here in the Capital Region, Saratoga Springs hosts the only remaining First Night celebration—considered one of the largest and longest-lasting in the Northeast.
For more information, visit Saratoga-arts.org
As of Dec. 1, Buttons are available at Saratoga Arts on 320 Broadway and at other area businesses, including select Price Chopper and Market 32 stores.
First Night Saratoga is a kids-in-free event—one child aged 12 and under will be admitted free with each paid adult. Buttons can also be purchased in advance at Saratoga-arts.org