Rhode Islanders looking for a New Year’s Eve night out should turn no further than downtown Providence and the annual Bright Night festival that will showcase musical acts, artists and other performers at various locations throughout the city, according to this year’s first-time Director Alexandra Kreher.
Bright Night began in 2003 when a group of local artists banded together to offer an alternative to First Night Providence which that year cancelled its annual celebration due to financial difficulties.
The evening will feature opening ceremonies at the Bank of America City Center skating rink a midnight countdown at Kennedy Plaza.
PBN: This is your first year running Bright Night. What inspired you to take over the event?
KREHER: It was more of an honor bestowed on me. After being a volunteer for last year’s Bright Night’s Got Talent competition and helping contribute to its success I was asked to take on the entire festival. While I realized it was an involved commitment, event planning is one of my talents so I decided to take on the challenge.
PBN: What have you learned in organization this year’s festivities about putting such an event together?
KREHER: I have realized how important networking is. Most of my meetings with the Bright Night organizing committee consisted of us throwing around names and contacts and collaborating on public relations, advertising, and marketing. Planning this festival has confirmed for me that pre-planning is key and that you can never be ‘too early’ when it comes to getting organized to execute a festival of this size.
PBN: Why should Rhode Island residents come to this festival instead of making other New Year’s Eve plans?
KREHER: Bright Night has something for everyone: children, teens, adults. Whether you want to attend a music or dance concert, a magic show or a storytelling show, this has festival has it all. We have many veteran performers who have been with the event since it began as well as a number of new artists including The Rice Cakes, winners of WBRU’s Rock Hunt last year.
PBN: Why is this event important to the state’s hospitality industry?
KREHER: Bright Night is the largest New Year’s celebration in the state, with over 100 performers in 13 venues. Each of the artists brings their own following, including many from out of state which draws more people into the city. This results in more people circulating through downtown, going to restaurants and staying in hotels in the area. In addition to artist supporters, there are also a number of Bright Night fans from all around Rhode Island and throughout New England. I even got a call the other day from someone in Washington, D.C., who was interested in the festival.
PBN: What’s new this year that Bright Night goers haven’t seen?
KREHER: The Blue Album, a Weezer tribute band, and The Rice Cakes will join the program at RISD auditorium – a slight twist on the traditional Bright Night schedule. We will also feature an antique fire truck display during our Family Day program at the R.I. Convention Center, provided by the Rhode Island Antique Fire Apparatus Club. But we also have this year’s versions of BIG NAZO, the Banished Fools, and the Extraordinary Rendition Band, all veterans of the festival.