2019 First Night® Springfield

This year’s First Night Springfield is the city’s 32nd annual New Year’s Eve Celebration of the arts, presented by the Springfield Area Arts Council on December 31, 2018.

First Night originated in Boston in 1976 as a family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Springfield’s First Night was the first in Illinois and remains the longest running.

We will open First Night events on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve—Monday, December 31—with FREE children’s hands-on creative activities and entertainment in three areas from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Springfield High School.

First Night also has a dedicated venue for teen bands at the Black Sheep Cafe Stage at Kari Bedford Photography, 314 East Monroe Street.  The Black Sheep Café has established itself as a popular spot for young people in Springfield, presenting innovative music by local bands.

The traditional First Night fireworks display will begin at 8:00 PM at Fourth Street and Capitol Avenue.  Sponsored by Horace Mann, the fireworks are designed by Nostalgia Pyrotechnics under the direction of Carl Steinmacher, and he produces a great display each year.  Following the fireworks, we will begin the next round of First Night performances at 8:30 PM.  We will wrap up the event at 11:15, so that attendees will have time to get home or to a favorite spot to ring in the New Year.

First Night admission wristbands  :  For adults, the cost is $18 when purchased before December 30th or $20 at the door.  Tickets are $5 for children ages 5 through 18.   Wristbands are available in-person at the Hoogland Center for the Arts box office or online.


List of Performers

Art Gallery
Buckhart Road   5:00 p.m.
Curt Smith         6:00 p.m.
Mark Mills         8:30 p.m.
Colin Helton      9:30 p.m.
Casey Cantrall  10:30 p.m.

Kari Bedford Photography
Black Sheep Café    6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Board Room at HCFTA
Mike Anderson                        5:00 p.m.
Springfield Poets and Writers  6:00 p.m.
Top Hat Tellers                         7:00 p.m.
David Tell                                 9:30 p.m.

Club Room at HCFTA
Pam Brown    5:00 p.m.
Kevin Lucas    6:00 p.m.
Ocean State   7:00 p.m.
Chahrm          8:30 p.m.
Randy Erwin    9:30 p.m.

Dining Room at HCFTA
All-inclusive Stage and Gallery     5:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church
Levi Tucker                    5:00 p.m.
Lowder and Manning    6:00 p.m.
Dandelion Pickers          7:00 p.m.
Ian Wick                         8:30 p.m.
Ben Bedford                   9:30 p.m.
Last Acre                      10:30 p.m.

Lincoln Public Library
Debbie Ross Band      5:00 p.m.
Square of the Roots   8:30 p.m.

LRS Theatre (Bank of Springfield Stage) at HCFTA
JDS Dazzlers                                              5:00 p.m.
Springfield Dance Theatre                         6:00 p.m.
Springfield Ballet Company                       7:00 p.m.
Muni                                                          8:30 p.m.
The Gold Center Treasure Box Drawing    9:15 p.m.
Springfield Theatre Center                        9:30 p.m.
Muni                                                         10:30 p.m.

Springfield High School
Rebecca Muzzarelli                                     1:00 p.m.
Springfield Dance Center                            1:00 p.m.
Troy Roark                                                   1:45 p.m.
Dance Party w/ Sesame Street Characters  2:30 p.m.
Mark Russillo                                               3:00 p.m.
Randy Erwin                                                3:00 p.m.
Mark Gifford 4:15 p.m.

Theatre Three (Maynerich Financial Stage) at HCFTA
Richard Landry and Snowball                   5:00 p.m.
Central Illinois Irish Dancers                     6:00 p.m.
Capital City Improv                                   7:00 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
James Edward Snow                                 9:30 p.m.

FREE FIREWORKS  (presented by Horace Mann) 

4th Street & Capitol                                 8:00 p.m.

Venue Change

Performances scheduled for the Lincoln Home Visitors Center have been moved to First Presbyterian Church (at the corner of Seventh Street and Capitol Avenue).  Same musicians and same times, just a different place.

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is closed because of the federal government shutdown.

Happily the kind folks at First Pres have opened their lovely red doors to us.

click schedules to enlarge


In loving memory of Lisa “Lu” Cannon

Alice Campbell Staffing
BJ Grand Salons, Inc.
By-Pass Auto Body
Capital City Speakers Bureau
Doug Kamholz
Hanson Professional Services
John Allen and Patti Hodges
Joe McMenamin, Ward 7 Alderman
Jones-Blythe Construction
Misty Hagstrom
Nancy Cook
Penny Wollan-Kriel
Phyllis Eubanks
Springfield Poets and Writers
Steve Bedford/State Farm
Steven Bryant
United Community Bank
Warren-Boynton State Bank

Abraham Lincoln Home National
Historic Site
Color World of Printing
Courtney Wick (entertainment
Greg Walbert (First Night®
Springfield artwork/theme)
Hoogland Center for the Arts
Illinois State Museum (Springfield HS children’s crafts sponsor)
Illinois Times
Kari Bedford Photography
Lincoln Library
Lincoln Memorial Garden
Misty Hagstrom (First Night®
Springfield program design)
Northside Children’s Community Library
Nostalgia Pyrotechnics/Carl
“Boom-Boom” Steinmacher
Ronda Brinkman (children’s
activities coordinator)
Scott Brandt (volunteer coordinator)
Springfield Dance
Springfield High School