What is First Night? How does it work?

What is First Night?
First Night is a substance-free, New Year's Eve festival of the arts. It began in Boston in 1976 and is now in over 130 cities throughout the world. For more information on First Night and other community celebrations, check out the First Night USA web site.

What is First Night Burlington?
Burlington was the fifth city in the world to embrace the First Night concept. First Night Burlington is Vermont's largest, single-day arts festival, providing an accessible and affordable New Year's Eve celebration to thousands of people in our community. First Night Burlington, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, staffed with an Executive Director, two support staff, and an eleven member  board. A good percentage of our funding comes from our sponsors, tax-deductible donations and grants. We encourage folks to participate in the festival in a variety of ways, from volunteering and creating art to making individual donations. Contributions above the button cost are tax-deductible, and we are happy to provide a receipt for your tax records upon request.

How does First Night work?

ADMISSION: A First Night Button admits you to all official events on a first-come first-served basis. There are over 20 venues in downtown Burlington where First Night performances and activities take place over a twelve hour period. Buttons and tickets are non-refundable.

TICKETS: Are required in addition to your button for select shows at the Flynn Center Main Stage, the Memorial Auditorium Main Floor and FlynnSpace.  Check the Festival-at-a-Glance for specific details.

WEATHER: First Night is celebrated regardless of weather conditions, so please dress warmly and in layers!

DOWNTOWN BURLINGTON PARKING:  Metered parking will not be enforced after noon on December 31. The parking garages, city-owned and private, offer a variety of pricing. Check with individual garages. .To accommodate First Nighters, the overnight parking ban will be lifted on Dec. 31st. Please note that if it snows, cars must be moved off the street.

FREE PARKING: Free parking is provided by the University of Vermont at the Gutterson Parking Garage on the UVM Campus.

SHUTTLES: Free shuttles from the UVM Gutterson Parking lot to downtown Burlington are donated by CCTA. For more information on this service, select the Shuttles/Parking link at the top of this page.

EMERGENCIES: Call 911 for police, fire and medical help.

LOST & FOUND: Check with the First Night office at 802-863-6005 after the event.

VOLUNTEERS: Join the fun creating First Night. Call 863-6005 or sign up online.

QUESTIONS? Contact us at:
First Night Burlington, 230 College Street, Burlington, VT 05401
(802) 863-6005