I grew up watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve every year on TV. I always wondered what it would be like to huddle in Times Square to watch the ball drop at midnight. But somehow when I looked at the bundled masses chattering their teeth as they listened to the “big name” rock-and-roll line up, the winter chill made the idea of trekking to Times Square unimaginable.
This year I’m finally getting the chance to celebrate the New Year by taking to the streets for a celebratory block party. There will even be a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer performing. But this year, I can leave the parka and long underwear at home because this year’s party is going to be “famously hot.”
Columbia’s 2012 Famously Hot New Year is ringing in a new holiday tradition. On Dec. 31, the city’s revitalized Main Street will become a pedestrian party zone.
The music lineup is sure to make this New Year’s Eve rock. The live music begins at 7:30 p.m. with a performance by the Columbia-based Motown, jazz and R&B group Terence Young and the Finesse Band
, who have shared the stage with legendary acts like The Temptations, Ashford & Simpson and the O’Jays. Then at 8:20, Pinna’s
blend of funk and classic rock will take the stage, followed by local band Josh Robert and the Hinges
, with their blend of rock, country, blues and soul.
At 11, rock-and-roll legend George Clinton
takes the stage along with Parliament Funkadelic. Clinton began his career in the 1960s, finding early success in Motown with a doo-wop group called the Parliaments. In the 1970s he became one of the innovators of the soul sound, with more than 40 R&B hit singles. Today he is a successful record producer, one of the most sampled musicians in Hip Hop, and the certified grandfather of funk, recording new hits with the likes of Sly Stone, El DeBarge and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In addition to the great musical line-up there will be fireworks, beer, wine and champagne vendors, an ESPN Zone playing college bowl games and “Resolution Row,” with vendors offering help with keeping your resolutions. During the big midnight countdown, Columbia will drop the state’s trademark Palmetto tree and crescent moon.
Perhaps the best thing about the Famously Hot New Year celebration is that general admission is free. Party-goers looking for the VIP treatment can purchase $100 passes to the Grey Goose Crescent Lounge, which will provide light hors d’oeuvres, private bathrooms, exclusive concert viewing and a full bar. You can find out more and buy tickets here.
Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the party will continue until 1:30 a.m., when gates close.
Several hotels in Columbia are offering special New Year’s Eve packages; for more information click here.