Dec 27, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
When the second annual First Night celebration was staged last New Year’s Eve at Onondaga Lake Park, hundreds of young families enjoying a non-alcoholic holiday alternative turned out to ring in 2012.
When main-stage headliners the New Boyz delivered a suggestive and profanity-laced performance, however, audience members were outraged. A rap act from Southern California, the New Boyz song titles included “Tie Me Down,” “Backseat” and “Better with the Lights Off.”
So this year the Galaxy Events Company which produces First Night here hired R5 to headline.
“We’re so concerned with our First Night families that we went to Disney because we know this band is going to be clean,” said Galaxy’s First Night coordinator Pam Levine. “‘Austin and Ally’ is very popular with the tween crowd, and parents know that, and parents will know they don’t have to worry about this concert… After what happened last year we made a conscious decision to hire a band that would definitely be family-friendly.”
When Central New Yorkers turn out for First Night on Monday, Dec. 31, at Onondaga Lake Park, they’ll be entertained by three up-and-coming pop groups including Louisiana native Taylor Mathews who was a finalist on television’s “America’s Got Talent.”
Headlining the third annual AmeriCU Credit Union First Night here will be R5, a Colorado quintet whose young musicians have ties to the Walt Disney Company. Guitarist Ross Lynch, one of four Lynch siblings in R5, stars in the hit Disney Channel sitcom “Austin and Ally.” Bassist Riker Lynch has a recurring role in Fox TV’s musical drama, “Glee.”
First Night producer Galaxy Communications also recently added a Georgia rock quartet named NameSake to the New Year’s Eve concert bill. NameSake is touring in support of its debut album, “Borders & Fences” featuring songs such as “Worlds Away,” “Saturday” and “A Million Good Reasons.”
R5 will perform on the main stage at 9 p.m. Monday, following opening sets by Mathews and NameSake. The live music starts at 6 p.m. with Mother Cover, a Chicago combo that covers alternative rock songs from the 1990s. After R5’s 9 p.m. set, Utica rockers Gridley Paige will play originals and songs by artists ranging from Neil Diamond to Nickleback.
Mathews, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Alexandria, La., made his national television debut in 2010 as a contestant on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” Just 18 at the time, Mathews advanced to the finals that year with his renditions of the songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Tracks of My Tears,” “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” and “Show Me What I’m Looking For.” After performing “What a Wonderful World,” he was edged out of the finals by Mississippi singer Michael Grimm.
Aside from the live entertainment, this year’s First Night features food and soft drinks, a Family Dance Party with Sunny 102 DJ Steve Kelley, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, a balloon launch, a McDonald’s Family Zone, video games and an orange ball drop at the stroke of midnight. Fireworks will be presented by Wegmans.
Tickets cost $5 in advance at Wegmans, or $8 at the gate. Children ages 5 and younger will be admitted free. Attendees will arrive at Onondaga Lake Park via free shuttle buses after leaving their vehicles in Destiny parking lots on the south side of the mall. For information, call Carrie Wojtaszek at Galaxy Events at 471-9597, or visit firstnightcny.com.
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