click to enlarge New Year's Eve music
Timo Arthur plays Bourbon Street Rhythm & Ribs this Friday for New Year's Eve and on Sunday for his residency gig.

Hello there, and happy New Year to you and yours. Here we are about to embark on 2022 and I was just getting used to hanging out with 2021. Strange times indeed, but I got a feeling this upcoming year will bring us closer to the norm than the last. So let's see what we have in store to welcome in this new year and send out the old one.

There's no bigger New Year's Eve news to our community than the return, ever so carefully with pandemic protocols, of First Night Springfield to live performances. We should be very proud to have this nationally created event still being held in our fair city, when so many other metropolises abandoned it even before the global pandemic threw the world for a loop. We count 2021 into 2022 as year number 35 for the Springfield Area Arts Council presenting this wonderful celebration of the arts that was first conceived in 1975 as a civic-minded New Year's Eve party in Boston and is now coordinated by First Night USA. The national number of participants rose to 260 by 2000, then began a steady decline to around 45 in 2014 with no data that I could find on the number of municipalities currently hosting First Night nights.

But let's be done with the history lesson so you can go visit the Springfield Area Arts Council website ( to discover the details of shows, times, tickets and locations. Most of the events are held in the Hoogland Center for the Arts with a few at First Presbyterian Church. The nightclub live music part of the show happens during the Friday Night Jazz weekly gig (5:30-7:30 p.m.) held at Boone's and features the Stone Cold Blues Band. Oh yes, and there will be fireworks downtown at 11:15, ending in time to get you to where you want to be by midnight and the beginning of 2022.

We have a collection of NYE bar parties included in our music listings, so let's take a quick peek at what's out there. Black Queen kills it at Anvil and Forge, while Off the Wall goes over the top at the Curve Inn. Yours truly folks it to you at 3Sixteen Wine Bar and Brushville cleans up at Danenberger Family Vineyards while Captain Geech and the Shrimp Shack Shooters, with special guest Model Citizen, salute the house at Motorheads. And in a Sangamon Avenue double-header, Rockhouse returns to rock again at KooKoos 2, while Killer of Giants slays the big ones at the Main Gate. Some of these shows may require reservations or charge a cover, so please check out the venues ahead of time.

In a special NYE event starting around 9 p.m. at Bourbon Street Rhythm & Ribs (11th and South Grand), award-winning and acclaimed guitarist and songwriter, Timo Arthur, backed by the top-shelf rhythm (sans ribs) section of Ron James (drums) and Dan Grover (bass), rings in the new year by bringing on the blues. Also, Bruce Clark, owner and operator of the storied bar is now hosting live music every Sunday night, alternating Timo & Friends with the Andre Howard Band from Chicago for some mighty fine blues. Timo starts the new year run on Jan. 3 and Andre returns on Jan. 9, and the show goes on as long as you show up to support it.

There's live music happening on New Year's Day (especially in Jacksonville) and on Sunday too, so be sure to peruse our listings for all the skinny and I'll see you next year.

About The Author

Tom Irwin

Tom Irwin, a sixth-generation Sangamon County resident, has played his songs and music for nearly 40 years in the central Illinois area with occasional forays across the country. He's contributed to Illinois Times since 2000 by writing Now Playing, a weekly music column, as well as features stories and other articles...

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