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First Night Boston highlights include indie rock heroes Yo La Tengo

November 10, 2014

Mayor's Office

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Mayor's Office

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the City of Boston announce that First Night Boston 2015, the annual New Year’s Eve festival celebration, will take place December 31, 2014, throughout downtown Boston.

Presented by Highland Street Foundation, First Night Boston 2015 provides a communal moment for citizens to celebrate the spirit and communities of Boston and serves as an economic driver by providing opportunities to showcase the business, hospitality and cultural offerings of downtown Boston, during the holiday season. Through music, dance, theatre, visual art, spoken word, and interactive activities, the city showcases the diversity of Boston’s neighborhoods.

This year’s First Night features highlights including long-time favorite indie rock group Yo La Tengo, often referred to as "the quintessential critics' band,” who will perform in the Hynes Covention Cetner ballroom. This year the band celebrates 30 years together with the reissue of their 1993 album Painful (Matador Rrecords) next month (December 2, 2014). In addition, in partnership with Berklee College of Music, First Night presents Patty Larkin and Dom Flemons at the Berklee Performance Center. Patty Larkin, who received an honorary doctorate from Berklee, is a reverred singer-songwriter whos most recent album Still Green, was released on Signature Sounds (2013). A founding member of African American string band Carolinia Chocolate Drops, multi-instrumentalist Dom Flemons plays banjo, guitar, harmonica, fife, bones, bass drum, snare drum and quills, in addition to singing. 

About Yo La Tengo
Yo La Tengo is one of the most beloved and respected bands in America. For nearly thirty years, Ira Kaplan, Georgia Hubley and James McNew have enjoyed success entirely on their own terms – playing the world’s best concert halls, museums, and dives, dominating critics’ lists, doing a Simpsons theme, playing the Velvet Underground in “I Shot Andy Warhol,” sharing stages with some of the most important musicians of our time, and even creating a holiday tradition onto themselves with their yearly series of Hanukkah shows at Hoboken, New Jersey’s legendary club Maxwells, from which they’ve donated hundreds of thousands to charity.

About Patty Larkin
Patty Larkin redefines the boundaries of folk-urban pop music with her inventive guitar wizardry and uncompromising vocals and lyrics. Acoustic Guitar hails her “soundscape experiments” while Rolling Stone praises her “evocative and sonic shading.” She has been described as “riveting”(Chicago Tribune), “hypnotic” (Entertainment Weekly) and a “drop-dead brilliant” performer (Performing Songwriter).

Patty Larkin grew up in a musical and artistic family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Descended from a long line of Irish American singers and taletellers, her mother was a painter, her sisters both musicians. She learned at a young age to appreciate the beauty of the arts. She began classical piano studies at age 7, and became swept up in the sounds of pop and folk in the 60s, teaching herself the guitar and experimenting with songwriting in high school. An English major, Larkin sang throughout her high school and college career, starting out in coffeehouses in Oregon and San Francisco. Upon graduation from the University of Oregon, she moved to Boston and devoted herself to music, busking on the streets of Cambridge and studying jazz guitar at Berklee College of Music and with Boston area jazz guitarists.

Patty is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music, where she is now an Artist in Residence. Patty has earned an eleven Boston Music Awards and has been honored by Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino with “Patty Larkin Appreciation Day” in recognition of her philanthropic Contributions to non-profit organizations.

About Dom Flemmons
Dom Flemons is the "American Songster," pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Having performed music professionally since 2005, he has played live for over one million people just within the past three years. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry.

In July 2014, Dom released his third solo record with Music Maker Relief Foundation, and his first since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Prospect Hill finds Flemons digging deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern folk music, string band music, jug band music, fife and drum music, and ballads idioms with showmanship and humor, reinterpreting the music to suit 21st century audiences. He was featured on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more.

In 2014, The City of Boston became custodian of First Night Boston, the largest and longest-running New Year’s Eve arts festival in the country. Each year from 1:00 p.m. to midnight on December 31, nearly one-million people gather in downtown Boston for a celebration that showcases over 1,000 artists in 200 performances and  events at over two-dozen indoor and outdoor venues. First Night Boston features an afternoon Family Festival at the Hynes Convention Center, a Grand Procession parade that sweeps down Boylston Street, colossal ice sculptures that dot the city’s landscape, and a dazzling ?reworks display to welcome the New Year. For nearly 40 years, First Night Boston has become a cherished Boston tradition and a signature event of the city.

 “First Night is one of Boston’s signature annual events,” says Mayor Martin J. Walsh, “in the same company as the Boston Marathon and Independence Day celebrations. Founded in 1976, by a group of artists and community activists, it’s the oldest and largest New Year’s arts festival in the world. Over the years, it has been replicated by over 250 cities and towns. While maintaining its accessibility and innovative spirit, First Night Boston will be an attraction for residents and visitors, supporting businesses in our local and regional economy.”

“First Night Boston is a wonderful event,” says Blake Jordan, Executive Director, Highland Street Foundation “that provides access to the arts for Massachusetts families. With the Family Festival at the Hynes, to the Grand Procession parade, there is a great variety of fun family activities to choose from.”

“It’s an honor to help steward such a long-time, favorite Boston event,” says Kenneth Brissettte, Director of Tourism, Sports, and Entertainment. “The upcoming First Night will attract amazing performers, and we’re thrilled to partner with so many of the city’s businesses, cultural orginaizations, and hotels.”

First Night Boston 2015 Sponsors (as of November 10, 2014)
Highland Street Foundation                                        
Bank of America                                                               
State Street Corporation
Proctor & Gamble
Liberty Mutual
The Riley Foundation
The Lynch Foundation
Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Massachusetts Cultural Council
Sheraton Boston Hotel                                                  
WBZ TV                                                               

More programming, additional button sales locations, and VIP ticket packages will be announced shortly. For more information, high resolution images, or interviews visit or contact Ami Bennitt at