Mere weeks after 4th of July celebrations lit up Vermont skies, preparations are already underway for First Night North 2022, beginning with the annual call to artists. St. Johnsbury’s First Night North committee is accepting online applications now for family-friendly acts who’d like to perform Friday, December 31st, 2021, as part of Vermont’s favorite New Year’s Eve performing arts festival.
Formerly known as First Night St. Johnsbury, First Night North began in 1993 and was modeled after Burlington’s First Night festival. Attendance declined sharply in 2017 due to record-breaking cold temperatures, and the entire festival went online in 2020 due to COVID. Nevertheless, First Night North is busily planning its 29th festival, lining up musicians, dancers, comedians, puppeteers, storytellers, magicians, and more.
While First Night North relies year after year on a few eagerly anticipated tried-and-true acts, organizers always make room for exciting new performances and have a history of adapting on the fly to unforeseen circumstances. Last year’s challenges were unprecedented: bands could not meet in person to rehearse. Performers could not tour, and public venues were all closed. Pandemic safety guidelines seemed to change daily.
Catamount Arts, presenters of First Night North, barely gave canceling a thought. In a year that kept so many people separated from friends and family, First Night seemed more necessary than ever, a way to bring people together metaphorically if not physically, even if everyone watched from their own living rooms. First Night North organizers scrambled, with help from Kingdom Access Television, to present eight full hours of family-friendly entertainment online and on television, providing a welcome sense of celebration and normalcy to the close of a very strange year.
While it’s unclear what winter 2021 will look like, First Night North organizers are confident they can handle just about anything, thanks to dedicated help from a devoted community of volunteers, sponsoring businesses, and partnering organizations. Planners are working full steam ahead to preview applications for performers and food vendors.
First-time and former First Night North artist candidates are welcome now to apply for a spot in this year’s line-up. Applicants are asked to familiarize themselves with the following guidelines before filling out the online application in its entirety. Act content must be suitable for all ages. Artists may apply to perform one or two 45-minute sets. Artists are not required to perform two sets, but artists interested in doing so must indicate whether both sets will be identical or substantially different.
The deadline to apply is August 31st. The First Night North Committee will make decisions based on act variety, venue availability and overall budget, and plan to notify applicants of their decision by September 15th. To apply for one or two 45-minute performance slots at First Night North in St. Johnsbury on Friday, December 31, 2021, or to apply as a First Night North 2022 food vendor, please use the following link to fill out the online form by August 31.