Performances & Activities




Until we have our updated list of Performances & Activities for 2016, please enjoy the 2015 listings:

Click here for Children’s Celebration Information
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African American Dance Ensemble
You are invited to join the African American Dance Ensemble for a First Night Raleigh favorite! Celebrate community spirit to the beat of ancient rhythms. The choreographic works of the African American Dance Ensemble depict customs, traditions and occasions of African life. For over a decade, Chuck Davis has taken annual trips to Africa to study African dance and art traditions. “In the village we humble ourselves as we dance and sing for the elders’ approval, which is never readily given. Our knees touch our shoulders as we… Read more →
Amelia Curran
Amelia Curran received her first Juno Award for Hunter, Hunter in front of an adoring hometown crowd in St. John’s, NL, in April 2010. The album, which solidified Amelia’s reputation as an heir to Leonard Cohen’s songwriting throne, also received a total of four ECMA nominations, 4 Music NL awards, 3 Music NS awards, a spot on Exclaim’s Wood, Wires & Whiskey coveted year-end and a place on the 2010 Polaris Long List. With the release of Spectators in 2012, Amelia was once again nominated for a Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year. The album is a meditation on… Read more →
With its open-armed energy and elegiac grace, “AUGUSTINES” marks a colossal leap forward for Votiv/Oxcart recording group Augustines – no mean feat considering the extraordinary power of their breakthrough 2011 debut, “RISE YE SUNKEN SHIPS.” Songs like “Now You Are Free” and the plaintive “Walkabout” are both immediate and engaging, joining joyously unrestrained arrangements with singer/guitarist Billy McCarthy’s signature affective lyricism. “AUGUSTINES” marks a milestone on Augustines’ amazing journey, the work of a gifted band ascending to… Read more →
The Barefoot Movement
Heartfelt, energetic, and down home. Heralded by CMT Edge as “one of the most promising bands on the bluegrass scene,” the music of the Nashville based group The Barefoot Movement is as down to earth as their intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off, and stay a while.

All the worries and frustrations of the world melt away as the charming four-piece acoustic band takes… Read more →

Comedy Worx
Since 1989, Comedy Worx has been entertaining the Triangle area with big laughs! Each weekend, this improv group presents a show of two comedic teams that compete and try to earn points by making the audience laugh. Each team performs different scenes and plays different games based on the audience’s suggestions. Comedy Worx is the South’s longest-running improv… Read more →
“Displaced” by Seed Art Share
Join us downtown for First Night Raleigh! A family of aliens is time-locked in Raleigh on New Year’s Eve. They need your help to find their spaceship, the Nexus and get back home. Grab your smart phone and walking shoes and travel with the zany characters of “Displaced” on the search for secret symbols in this original multi-media theatre experience! The story begins at the City of Raleigh Museum and concludes at the NC Capitol.

Written especially for First Night Raleigh, Raleigh author Ian Finley invites you to this interactive… Read more →

Durham Street Piano Player
This Durham street piano player takes the piano out of the parlor and onto Bicentennial plaza just for First Night Raleigh!… Read more →
El Gleno Grande
A one-man show along with “noble steed” Sigfrido, Glenn Singer (“El Gleno Grande”) is renowned for his physical comedy and audience interplay. With a career spanning nearly 20 years, he has performed on six continents.

Using hilarious optical illusions and conversing with the audience, El Gelno Grande’s spoof of a circus equestrian act will have you laughing. Appealing to all ages, we look forward to having him at First Night Raleigh 2015!… Read more →

Fooly Cooly
DJ duo consisting of 25 year old Raleigh natives Funkss and Chocolate Rice in a mix of electronic dance music. With a monthly dance party at Neptunes Parlour and having played Bonnaroo 2014, we’re excited to welcome them to the First Night Raleigh stage!… Read more →
Fortunate Ones
Fortunate Ones are Andrew James O’Brien and Catherine Allan. Their earnest blend of acoustic folk/pop and roots, bare-bones arrangements and delicately precise harmony allows for the intimate musical conversations that make their performances so special.

Less known is Corner Brook, Newfoundland’s other city, the sturdy west coast blue-collar mill town situated… Read more →

Gospel Music
Join us at First Baptist Church on Wilmington Street as we once again bring gospel music to fill the rafters! Two separate performances!… Read more →
High School Improv
Are you ready for laughs, beautiful faces, and the most accidentally hilarious stuff you’ve ever heard? Then swing by and enjoy family-friendly scenes filled with the wit and whims of the students of Enloe High School’s improvisational… Read more →
In the Pocket
JoThis amazing student/adult collaborative jazz-rock ensemble hails from Durham and does it all! From jazz, swing, rock and roll, R&B, funk, soul, disco – you name it. The final result is a polished, high energy and deeply satisfying musical experience… Read more →
Josh Dumbleton & Jonathan Randazzo Trombone Organ Concert
ESUMC organist Josh Dumbleton and NC Symphony Assistant Principal Trombonist Jonathan Randazzo team up to present a special program of music for organ and trombone. While many pieces have been written specifically for brass ensemble and organ, in comparison a relatively small amount exists for trombone and organ. You are cordially invited to come and help usher in the New Year by hearing uplifting music that stirs the soul. The 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. programs are identical in programming… Read more →
The Lang Sisters
The Lang Sisters is a band formed in 2012, by Chloe and Jessica Lang. Chloe, 16, and Jessica, 12 , enjoy playing everything from bluegrass, country, and folk.

They have recently been named as Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars (… Read more →

Latin Music with Ricardo Granillo Trio
¡Bailamos! Get your groove on to the sounds of Latin rhythm… Read more →
The Love Language
Based in North Carolina, The Love Language was formed in Raleigh in 2008 by singer-songwriter Stuart McLamb. The band features a rotating cast of talented musicians who never fail to impress. McLamb has established his band as an extroverted community art project made by responsible citizens of a loosely packed scene who know that he will match whatever they contribute… Read more →
Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra
This three-man orchestra seamlessly weaves trance based blues music, harkening back to John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf, with a drunken minor swing comparable to some of Tom Waits’ darker works. Marty O’Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestra deliver an enthralling and passionate performance, which often leaves them out of breath and the stage littered with… Read more →
North Carolina Opera Singers
North Carolina Opera was formed in 2010 from the merging of Capital Opera Raleigh and The Opera Company of North Carolina. It is dedicated to presenting operatic performances at the highest level throughout the Triangle. It also has a robust education program that brings opera to schools across Wake and surrounding counties. North Carolina Opera brings international level artists to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and also… Read more →
Old Man Luedecke
Old Man Luedecke isn’t afraid to put his neck on the line. His latest album, Tender Is The Night, goes beyond his beloved solo, banjo-driven folk tunes. Driving a Nashville band from beginning to end with his recognizable voice, this is an artist honing his cunning lyrical flair – tenderly pushing the boundaries of his storytelling with his unique mix of folk, bluegrass and pop hooks.

Old Man Luedecke has a penchant for language. Based in Chester, Nova Scotia, the award-winning roots singer-songwriter’s latest album, Tender Is The Night, gives nod to… Read more →

Out of This World Creations by Greg Carter
Walk into this temporary installation just for First Night Raleigh featuring the magical sculptures and creations of Raleigh Artist Greg Carter. His whimsical and colorful creations will be beautifully displayed and will provide the perfect backdrop for that special First Night Raleigh 2014 Selfie!

Greg has over 10 years of experience as… Read more →

Paperhand Puppets
Since 1998, Paperhand Puppet Intervention has been using cardboard, corn starch, bamboo, your old house paints, and other assorted junk to create giant puppets, masks, shadow plays, and performances for all ages. They tell stories, beat drums, paint cardboard, sew cloth, get sweaty, push… Read more →
PopUp Chorus
Founded by arts entrepreneur and event promoter, Lauren Bromley Hodge, the PopUp ChorusSM launched at Motorco in Durham, NC in January 2014. Seamus Kenney, musician, composer and middle school chorus teacher, artfully conducts the… Read more →
It’s a RAD RAD Revolution
It’s a RAD RAD Revolution is a collaboration between Renay Aumiller Dances (RAD), iPhone’s SIRI and the video game, Dance Dance Revolution. Aumiller utilizes the endearing frankness of SIRI and the game itself as a tool to dictate pure fun for everyone – come dance with… Read more →
Sidecar Social Club
From the main stage of Raleigh, NC’s prestigious Artsplosure in May 2012 to back to back annual performances in Dizzy Gillespie’s hometown of Cheraw at the SC Jazz Festival, the five member amalgam known as Sidecar Social Club has quickly developed a loyal and tenacious fan base. Regular monthly gigs at Raleigh’s Humble Pie, C-Grace, and the NC Museum of Art for the… Read more →
Sonic Escape
A duo of Juilliard graduates that uses every part of the performer – fingers, mind, voice, and story – to reshape the live music experience.

Sonic Escape’s virtuoso members have traveled the world in roles as diverse as soloing at Carnegie Hall, fiddle-dancing in Riverdance, jamming with Beale Street blues bands and playing rock clubs across NYC. Whether Sonic Escape is performing one of their ground-breaking original works or a masterpiece from the classical and world music repertoire, they share with audiences as though it’s the last… Read more →

Transactors Improv Company
Transactors Improv is the longest-running improvisational theater in the south. Our work focuses on emotion, physicality, character, commitment, teamwork, and fun.

The company formed in 1983 at The ArtsSchool in Carrboro, N.C., as a children’s theater. Much of its work was scripted, but… Read more →

Triangle Youth Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet
The Triangle Youth Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet has a long history of excellence and success because they have been dedicated to practicing their parts infdividually, and on their own as a group, to get the maximum benefit from monthly coaching sessions from members of the North Carolina Symphony. They have performed for Sister Cities of Cary, for the NC Symphony Ovations, at Raleigh’s Festival First Night, for the after-school program at Chavis Park Community Center, on a Raleigh Chamber Music Guild Recital, for Wake Enterpirses in… Read more →




Alien Abduction
A truly “out of this world” experience! Enter our First Night Spaceship and blast off in a rip-roaring adventure to outerspace… Read more →
Alien Yourself
What better to than to make your First Night Raleigh 2015 a truly “out of this world” experience than to make yourself something truly “out of this world?” Alien-ify yourself to celebrate ringing… Read more →
Animal of the Hour
Get up close and personal with some of North Carolina’s resident creatures… Read more →
Ballroom Dancing
Join USA Ballroom dancers as they provide instruction for those who want to dance. There are chairs too, if you just want to watch! Sir Walter Apartments Ballroom Capacity: 200… Read more →
Belly Dancing Lessons
Three professional belly dancers will teach you how to embody music and will engage you in the story that the dancing tells. The instructors teach you everything from dramatic to fun moves, but always family-friendly… Read more →
Charging Station
Start the New Year right by getting on camera and sharing your thoughts about the arts in Raleigh with folks from the City of Raleigh Arts Commission. Plus, hear music by the Raleigh Ukelele Ensemble, The Raleigh Street Piano, all while charging up your… Read more →
Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel
Back by popular demand! Don’t miss the visual center of First Night Raleigh with our Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel! Take a spin 90 feet in the air atop the gondola-style ferris wheel… Read more →
First Night Light Bright
Modeled after the pop-culture LITE BRITE toy first introduced in the late 1960′s, First Night Raleigh presents its own, larger-than-life version of this interactive, illuminating toy… Read more →
First Night “Out of This World” Photo Opportunity
Get your cell phone ready as you pop your face into an “out of this world” design and create your very own New Year’s Eve greeting to post for all of your friends to see… Read more →
Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides
Catch a ride on John Wesley Smith’s horse-drawn sleigh as it makes a loop around the historic North Carolina State Capitol. Don’t miss this annual First Night Raleigh favorite! A First Night button is required to ride… Read more →
Henna Tattoos
Henna artist Deepika Bhatt has been drawing in henna since she was seven years old. Born and raised in India, Deepika eventually went on to apprentice with three henna artists, and although she has her Ph.D. in genetics, her passion is henna painting… Read more →
High School Hubble
Read more →
Jetsons Cartoon Marathon
What is more “out of this world” than everyone’s favorite futuristic family? Swing by and catch George, Jane, Judy and Elroy living in Orbit City. Reminisce about what we really thought the “future” would be like with the Jetsons!… Read more →
People’s Procession
Line up beginning at 5:30pm along Edenton Street, north of the State Capitol.

As the Children’s Celebration ends and the evening entertainment begins, mark the passage of time… from afternoon to evening… from old year to New Year… in the People’s Procession!… Read more →

Poetry on Demand by Eddie Cabbage
What is your New Year’s resolution for 2015? Well, tell it to Eddie Cabbage and he takes your resolution and elements of yourself and fits it into a customized poem, there on the spot, with his… Read more →
Pop Up Wedding Chapel
A pop up wedding chapel right in the heart of First Night Raleigh – bring your pets to marry, renew your vows, or just pretend to get hitched! Don’t worry, you’re not legally bound, but it’s fun… Read more →
Storytelling with North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers
The North Carolina Association of Black Storytellers, Inc., NCABS, promotes and perpetuates the art of Black Storytelling, an art form that embodies the history and cultures of Africans and African Americans, especially those in North Carolina. NCABS preserves, protects, and passes on the historical… Read more →