First Night Boston, New England’s longest-running New Year’s Eve celebration, has announced its full performance schedule for its New Year’s Eve broadcast, featuring an array of performers from Boston and beyond across all genres of music.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 and continuing until 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, a stream of musical and artistic performances will showcase a diverse range of talents for audiences celebrating from home as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt everyday life.
Held every year since 1975, First Night Boston is an annual celebration of the city’s arts, culture, and people. Since 2015, the event has culminated with lights, fireworks, ice sculptures, and music in Copley Square.
“First Night Boston has been a cherished tradition for more than four decades, and a celebration of this size simply doesn’t just cancel,” said Dusty Rhodes, event director. “This city is packed with brilliant artists and rising stars who depend on events like First Night to showcase their talents, and we’re thrilled to move part of the show online and to the air.”
In addition to the online stream, a special First Night Boston broadcast will air on NBC10 Boston from 7 to 8 p.m., and on NECN and NBC Sports Boston from 11 p.m. to 12:01 a.m.
The show kicks off at 6 p.m., and the first hour will feature performances from the Greater Boston Chinese Cultural Association, jazz from the Makanda Project, a booming organ performance from the Church of Christian Science, and a dance set by North Shore’s Guardians of Isadora.
From 7 to 8 p.m., it’s the Boston Youth Chamber giving way to highly acclaimed pianist Yelena Beriyeva, while Boston Gay Men’s Chorus closes out the hour after additional performances by GBCCA and Makanda Project.
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The Skating Club of Boston kicks off the 8 p.m. hour with a lineup of figure skating routines from Olympic hopefuls. Hyde Park’s Sweet Harmony performs their first of two upbeat sets before vocalist Maddi Ryan takes the stage, and East Boston’s Veronica Robles represents Boston’s first all-female mariachi band.
The countdown continues with rising star Alli Haber kicking off the 9 p.m. hour, before giving way to the African and Caribbean beats of Zili Misik. The all-men quintet On the Outside performs a short set before the local Dempsey Sisters and Mandi Crimmins rock the house.
The fifth hour features segments from Lori McKenna and Kemp Harris shot at Boston’s Boch Center, while Boston hip-hop artist Nancia drops some beats with local scenes.
Performances from rockers Sons of Levin and soulful Of Sea and Stone bring us to the 11 p.m. hour, when NECN and NBC Sports Boston pick up the final countdown.
The online stream will resume after midnight with some of the evening’s most popular performances re-airing until 2 a.m.
In a normal year, hundreds of thousands of guests visit Copley Square and the surrounding area on New Year’s Eve. The event showcases Boston’s beauty in a night of light, music, and First Night Boston is supported entirely by contributions from the corporate community and the general public.
Event sponsors for 2021 include the City of Boston, Xfinity, Conventures, The Boston Foundation, The Greater Boston Visitors and Convention Bureau, Strega Entertainment, and NBC10 Boston.
Donations can be made to help support the event at the event website, www.firstnightboston.org.