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Time to ReLive

Tacoma needs company on New Year’s Eve, and this celebration will provide it

Holy Pistola will be opening a night of remembrance, and hope for the future. Photo credit: Facebook

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It was a sad day when news began to emerge that Tacoma's long-running, family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration First Night would be going dark this year. Several weeks ago, the event's organizers released a statement saying that, due to a lack of funds, 2018's transition into 2019 would have to go without a First Night. It's no secret that funding for the arts is difficult all over, and a celebration the size and scale of First Night just couldn't quite make it happen, this time around. The organizers say that they hope to be back in the future, but the announcement surely left a lot of people in the lurch for deciding how to ring in the new year.

Thankfully, in First Night's absence, the City of Tacoma partnered with local musician and promoter Kim Archer, as well as Tacoma marketing company Foster's Creative, to create their own event to help count down the seconds until 2019. Titled ReLive New Year's Eve, the event will be going down on Pacific Ave., with the main action centered around Tollefson Plaza. Visual artists, various performers, live music, and food trucks will be populating the night, and it's all free to the public.

"I've worked with the city on a number of things, and I'm one of many people who didn't want to see Tacoma go without a celebration on New Year's Eve," said Archer. "It's going to be a free event to the public, which is something we haven't had before, and our goal is really giving back to the community, and making it accessible for everybody. We're going to be shutting down Pacific Avenue from 15th Street to where the light rail crosses over in front of the art museum. There'll be a beer garden, and the stage is going to be on Pacific Avenue, facing Tollefson Plaza."

ReLive kicks off at 6 p.m., with music starting at 7 p.m. The lineup features an intriguing cross-section of styles and genres, starting with the lively soul and funk of Holy Pistola. The staggering 10-piece band is the perfect choice to kick the festivities off with a lot of energy. Coming next is Bes, those playful prog-rock practitioners, to further get the party jumping. Their wild rhythms and music geek bravado will serve to discombobulate and invigorate the crowd. Cody Ray Raymond, recent contestant on The Voice, will take the stage next, providing more soul and blues and smoothing out the prickliness of the music that came before. A dance troupe led by local hip-hop instructor Jimmy Shields will keep the night popping as it leads into the country of singer-songwriter Leah Justine. In the stretch running up to midnight, neo-soul artist Tiffany Wilson will take over the stage, and Q-Dot will serve as DJ and emcee throughout the night.

"It's just a big party for the community and the city, and it's a great example of different movers and shakers in the city, with different fields of expertise, coming together for a common goal," said Archer. "I want the city to have a really nice community event that's diverse, inclusive, and really displays our city in a very realistic manner. I mean, who doesn't want to be downtown, celebrating, having a good time with friends and family, eating some great food and listening to some great music?"

In First Night's absence, ReLive will do a bang-up job of sending 2018 packing, and setting the stage for a brand new year. All they need is you to show up and count down this year's final seconds.

ReLive New Year's Eve, w/ Holy Pistola, Bes, Cody Ray Raymond, Jimmy Shields, Leah Justine, Tiffany Wilson, Q-Dot, Monday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m., Tollefson Plaza, 1548 Pacific Ave., Tacoma

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