By Marjorie Nesin
---- — In its sweet 16th year, the New Year’s Rockport Eve celebration promises to keep party goers rocking and rolling all night, with 85 musical performances at 16 different venues between 6 p.m. and midnight Monday and events for children and adults alike.
The $34,000 event this year will feature new acts like a rock and roll band with the sound system powered solely by bicycle-created energy, as well as a telescope lookout point hosted by the Gloucester Astronomy Club. And guests can expect some of their old favorites, as many of the bands have played at the event each year for the past 16 new year celebrations, according to Claire Franklin, the event’s founder and organizer.
“It changes but it doesn’t all change,” Franklin said. “Some of them have been coming the whole 16 years.”
A total of 49 musical groups will perform over the course of the night, according to Franklin, some playing multiple shows. After 16 years, Franklin hardly has to search for performers, she said; bands and singers have flocked to her hoping for a stage spot.
This year too, some of the most popular performers will play for an additional hour. The drum parade program that begins with an African drum lesson and ends in lesson participants parading their new musical skills, will run an additional hour this year, with workshops beginning each hour on the hour between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“Anyone who wants to join in can. It’s a wonderful event,” Franklin said.
Those interested in attending may purchase a button to wear as an event ticket at one of six locations up to the day of the event, including Rockport’s Smith Hardware & Lumber, John Tarr Store, and Toad Hall Bookstore, as well as Gloucester’s Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, House of Raven, and Gloucester Music. Buttons can be purchased on New Year’s Eve at the event headquarters at Spiran Hall, where food and souvenirs are sold, from noon until 11 p.m. Buttons for adults cost $15 and for children ages 3 to 12 the cost per button is $6. And, New Years Rockport Eve is always open to accepting donations.
Many of the performances occur simultaneously, so attendees pick and choose which concerts they would like to attend each year and create their own schedules, according to Franklin.
Every show and activity begins on the hour and lasts 45 minutes, with 15-minute breaks for everyone to hustle their way to the next hour’s show.
The last shows ends at 11:45 p.m., giving patrons time to gather in Dock Square where firefighters will drop the traditional ball from a fire ladder truck.
“We do the ball dropping from the top of the ladder,” Franklin said, “then we sing Auld Lang Syne — and that’s it.”
Franklin is still seeking volunteers to check buttons and greet guests at the doors of venues as well as to help set up Sunday night at 5 p.m. and to clean up Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Any volunteer signing up to work two shows will get a free button to attend the rest of the evening’s festivities.
Franklin said she is also looking for volunteers to fill the later shifts. Anyone interested in volunteering may contact Franklin at email@example.com or by phone at 978-559-1263.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW YEAR'S ROCKPORT EVE 7 to 10 p.m. -- T-Wharf Outside; Gloucester Area Astronomy Club will have telescopes. Community House Upstairs 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Eddie Gardner - Magician. Community House Downstairs 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Dora Tevan, Ethnic Arts Center - World Puppetry. Community House Upstairs 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Honky-Tonk Women of Gloucester- Doo Wop 50s & 60s classic hits. Methodist Church 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Backwoods Ramblers - Folk - Rock - Country - Bluegrass. Methodist Church 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Daisy Nell & Capt. Stan with the Crabgrass Band. Methodist Church 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Tom Eaton & Pick 3 - Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Country Music. Fire Station Upstairs 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Baggywrinkle - Men's Sea Chantey Quartet. Fire Station Upstairs 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Tony & Nick Hilliard with Janet Ruth Young - Irish, Folk, Songs of the Sea. Fire Station Upstairs 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Three Sheets to the Wind - A chantey/sea music group. Unitarian Universalist Church 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., "What Time is it, Mr. Fox?" - Brian King & Nathan Cohan. Unitarian Universalist Church 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Michael O'Leary and Friends - traditional Celtic music. Unitarian Universalist Church 10-10:45 p.m., New Year's Eve Peace Service. Unitarian Universalist Church 11-11:45 p.m., Jennifer Ober - Pianist playing the music of Jazz greats Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and others. St. Mary's Episcopal Church 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Amy Seabrook - Puppeteer - Aesop's Fables. St. Mary's Episcopal Church 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Janice & Will, Formerly TheTerrestrials - Contemporary Folk, Pop, Rock Gems, Rhythm & Blues & Originals. St. Mary's Episcopal Church 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Peter Ward & Amarillo - Tribute to Country Western and Western Swing. Library -- Peggy Brenner Room 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Bumbly & Abyss Phinn - Medieval, Renaissance Storytellers. Library -- Peggy Brenner Room 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Lorraine and Bennett Hammond - Peace on Earth. Library-Peggy Brenner Room 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Chick & Ellen - Oldtimey & Newfangled Country Blues & Folksy Swing. Spiran Hall Downstairs 6:00-9:00 p.m., Clowns - Face painting & balloon making. Spiran Hall Downstairs 6-11:30 p.m., Psychic, Tarot, Stone & Past Life and Medium Readings - For Amusement Only Spiran Hall Upstairs 6-6:45, 7-7:45, Melodeego - Bike Powered Rock. Spiran Hall Upstairs 9-9:45, 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., '60s Invasion - 60s Rock 'N Roll Band. Baptist Church 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., The Fabulous Bullock Brothers - Gospel. Baptist Church 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., The Jolly Rogues - Seafaring Songs. Baptist Church 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Stämbandet - The Scandinavian Vocal Ensemble. Scout Hall 6-6:45, 7-7:45 & 8-8:45 p.m., T & E Sound System DJs - Disc jockeys playing music for dancing. Scout Hall 9-9:46, 10:00-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Jah Spirit - reggae band. Old Firehouse Trust BLDG 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Lorelei Ruben - Cream No Sugar Theater - puppeteer. Old Firehouse Trust BLDG 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Scott Hitchcock, David Pykosz & Friends - Lobster Pie Reunion - Jimmy Buffet Style Music. Old Firehouse Trust BLDG 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Alek Razdan and Willie "Loco" Alexander - Jazz & Punk. Fish Shack Restaurant 6-6:45, 7-7:45, 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Drum Jam & Parade - Jon Holland & Dragon Company. Rockport Art Association 6-6:45, 7-7:45 & 8-8:45 p.m., Wildest Dreams - Afro Pop - Reggae - Calypso - Funky Soul. Shalin Liu Performance Center 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., The Cape Ann Big Band. Shalin Liu Performance Center 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Overboard -- Boston vocal band - a cappella group. Shalin Liu Performance Center 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Henri Smith New Orleans Friends & Flavours - New Orleans Jazz, Blues & Cajun flavored music. Congregational Church 6-6:45 & 7-7:45 p.m., Sorellanza - Women's a cappella group. Congregational Church 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., 'leven - A Cappella Woman's Ensemble. Congregational Church 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Bagpipes & Drums - Members of the Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band. Congregational Church Hall 6-6:45 p.m., Silver Leaf Jazz Band - Dixieland Style Jazz. Congregational Church Hall 7-7:45, 8-8:45 & 9-9:45 p.m., Cape Ann Jazz Band - Don Thrasher Congregational Church Hall 10-10:45 & 11-11:45 p.m., Street Magic - Male a cappella Group - 50s & 60s Doo Wop Dock Square -- Midnight Celebration: Watch the ball drop & count down the last few seconds of 2012. Then join in as everyone sings Auld Lang Syne!