(UPDATE 1/1/14: Happy 2014! Last night at Grand Park was incredible…18,000 people in downtown LA! We’ll have a review and video of the 3D projection up shorty but until then, enjoy the pics and also ones from the Brazilian party on the West side.)
We like our New Year’s Eve parties to be more intimate affairs with friendly crowds of Angelenos. We’re not going to be paying a king’s ransom to be at an obnoxious, uptight venue. Most importantly, we love events that celebrate the culture and diversity of our communities, offer great music and dance and are family friendly. Here are our recommendations for NYE, along with some interviews with the organizers to give you a good sense of what sets them apart as well as what they have in store for 2014. We don’t list events that we wouldn’t attend ourselves and we’ll be covering quite a few of them that night! Hope to see you at one of these, and wherever you celebrate New Year’s Eve, have fun, drink and drive responsibly, and thank you for visiting our new site this past year!
@ Grand Park
All Ages, Free
The Grand Park in downtown LA has only been open for a year, as a beautiful green space tucked between City Hall and the Music Center, and is quickly becoming the go-to spot for fun events that bring people together from all parts of LA to a central hub. In terms of cost (free), age limit (all ages), music (our favorite Buyepongo) and the countdown & midnight spectacle meant as LA’s answer to NYC’s Times Square, this is our top pick for NYE! NYC, you can keep your balldrop with Miley Cyrus…you ain’t got nothin’ on LA! We spoke with Julia, Grand Park’s Director of Programming, for the low-down:
1. How long have you been organizing this event or what inspired this event? Julia tells us from start to finish, the event has been in the works for 7 months, but it’s really been part of the DNA of Grand Park as far back as talks in 2003 when it was being envisioned as a Times Square of LA, a public space for communal celebrations. In its first year, the success of the Election Inauguration block party and 4th of July celebration has shown that Angelenos really have a sense of pride in having a communal, unifying public space like Grand Park to gather together.
2. What sets your event apart from others — what can we expect? Julia notes that Grand Park’s NYE is one of the few that are open to the public, free and family-friendly. Usually when one thinks of NYE, it’s prix fixe menus, bottle service, high prices. Not so at the Grand Park. Besides having great DJs and live music, there will be physical art installations and a state-of-the-art projection sequence on City Hall itself at midnight, that in terms of sheer scale and quality of spectacle, has not been seen in LA or the entire West Coast! The LA Weekly did a good piece on the technology involved.
3. Take the kids or leave them with the babysitter? Julia says providing a safe, comfortable environment for families is a hallmark of Grand Park and all its events. They will televise the Times Square countdown at 9pm for families who want to come experience the fun but not stay out too late. Julia reminds readers the beer garden is 21+ so parents would need to take turns watching the children to consume any alcoholic drinks there.
4. Any exciting events for us to look forward to in 2014? Julia says to mark your calendars for their outdoor Funky Sole Lover’s Edition on Valentine’s Day, 2nd Annual Bookfest at the end of March, LA Taco Festival on April 5, and of course the 4th of July.
White and Golden New Year’s Eve Brazilian Party
@ Brasil Brasil Cultural Center, 11928 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066
All Ages, $40-$55
The Brazilian community in LA knows how to party and this one is organized by renowned samba instructor and dancer Ana Carla at one of our favorite places in LA, the Brasil Brasil Cultural Center:
1. How long have you been organizing this event? I’ve organized events since 1994 in Hawaii and 1998. This is the first time, organizing a NYE over here in LA. I got inspired by my own need of having an authentic Brazilian NYE, organized by Brazilians, with Brazilian Food, and Brazilian entertainment in a Brazilian Cultural Center.
2. What sets your event apart from others — what can we expect? As I said before, this event has been organized by Brazilians. We, Samba N Motion and Sabor da Bahia, intend to provide our public with a little taste of what and how we do it in Brasil with authentic Brasilian food, Brasilian entertainment, and in a place owned and administrated by Brazilians.
3. Take the kids or leave them with the babysitter? We will have a sitter for extra fee at the location, so the parents don’t have the burden of trying to figure out where to leave the children.
4. Any exciting events for us to look forward to in 2014? A Night in Rio III will come in April…stay connected!
White Brazilian New Year’s Eve Party
@ Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Lounge, 207 N. Harbor Drive, Redondo Beach, CA 90277
All Ages, $45-$75 Admission, $55-65 Dinner
We count at least 4 different Brazilian NYE events across LA and it’s not only because excitement is building for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. This one is organized by Brazilian Nites, organizing Brazilian cultural events in LA since 1989. We spoke to Brazilian Nites head, Patricia Leao:
1. How long have you been organizing this event? This is our 8th year of NYE.
2. What sets your event apart from others — what can we expect? It’s the only traditional Brazilian event in town. People wear white as it is in Brazil and come to start the year dancing, eating… And many families together. No Age limit to this party. Authentic music and food! Balloon drop, party favors, live entertainment
3. Take the kids or leave them with the babysitter? All ages! But we do go til 2am… So your kid better be somewhat Brazilian… But it is a great opportunity to expose young adults to this culture.
4. Any exciting events for us to look forward to in 2014? Very exited to have our 14th annual Bazilian Carnaval on March 1st at Club Nokia! Featuring “the World Cup”! – Carnaval da Copa! Plus the 21st Annual Brazilian Summer Festival… Working on Maria Rita, tribute of Elis Regina on Feb 14 at Disney Hall…And working with the movie Rio 2 on the world premier in Miami on March 21…we will gather over 300 samba dancers…. (Guiness record) Will keep you posted on this one!
Carnival at the Hall: New Year’s Eve with Sergio Mendes and Sheila E.
@ Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90012
All Ages, $70-$197
Sergio Mendes is a living legend from Brazil who fuses bossa nova with funk and soul and still making music in his 70s with bands like Black Eyed Peas! Joining him is a legend in her own right, Sheila E. with her infectious percussion. 2 shows, 1 party with cocktails and samba dancers…it really is all about Brazil as we head into 2014!
Cali Hustle NYE
@ The Virgil, 4519 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90029
We are big fans of Quetzal Guerrero and his monthly Cali Hustle and it’s the 2nd year he, his lady Miss Sunny Z, and DJ Jedi are doing NYE at The Virgil:
1. How long have you been organizing this event? Cali Hustle has been goin on for just a little over a year now. We wanted to create a party together where we could gather with our friends and play music we enjoyed.
2. What sets your event apart from others — what can we expect? What sets us apart from other events is the vibe, sound scapes and unpretentious atmosphere. At Cali Hustle you can expect good music, good people and great cocktails!
3. Any exciting events for us to look forward to in 2014? The album release party for Quetzal Guerrero’s latest album!
The Dustbowl Revival NYE Extravaganza w/ The Record Company
@ The Mint, 6010 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90035
If you want to have a rockin’ good time with two amazing bands, check out LA bands, The Dustbowl Revival and The Record Company! We’ve seen both bands many times and spoke to Taylor of The Mint about what they have in store for the big night:
1. How long have you been organizing this event or what inspired this event? We have been organizing The Dustbowl Revival New Year’s Eve Extravaganza since September. It was inspired by an October residency we had hosted for The Dustbowl Revival and we wanted to make a bigger event out of that for NYE 2014, so we invited The Record Company to join the bill to really spruce up the night. We want to have an unpretentious, all out jamboree with both bands and a ton of audience participation.
2. What sets your event apart from others — what can we expect? We will have an open bar all night long with beer, wine, champagne, and mixed drinks. There’s no skimpy “1 hour open bar from 9-10” which forces people to come earlier than they might have wanted. We’ll also be serving up appetizers all night long to keep people fed and energized going into 2014. As with most events at The Mint, this party will feel like one that you’re celebrating with all your closest friends, even though you might start the night as strangers. We’re not an uptight club, or a well oiled corporate music venue, we’re a tight knit family of people who enjoy live music and going out as much as our patrons who support us.
3. Any exciting events for us to look forward to in 2014? We have so many exciting events coming up in 2014, that it’s hard to narrow down the list, but here goes…
Local “art-rap” pioneer, Open Mike Eagle, has a unique variety show on Saturday 1/11 with special guests, budding Detroit-via-LA rapper Quell Chris, writer Jeff Weiss (LA Weekly, Pitchfork), and comedian Baron Vaughn. This will be a very unique mix of talent with a sense that “anything could happen at any time” during the show.
Eric McFadden has a January residency on Wednesdays with special guests each night including Nels Cline (Wilco), Jesse Hughes (Eagles of Death Metal), Thomas Pridgen (Mars Volta). He’s done this before and you never know who’s going to show up. Last time, Jackson Browne stopped by unexpectedly.
On January 18th we have the elusive songwriter Ray Stinnett performing a show co-presented by Light In The Attic Records and Aquarium Drunkard. We loved the re-issue of his album “A Fire Somewhere” and tracked him down to perform a special show.
On January 19th a great, high energy funk band Turkuaz will make a stop at The Mint, and each time they do, they absolutely blow the house down. These guys know how to party, and it shows when they’re onstage. Don’t miss.
On February 5th we welcome a new Stones Throw Records signee, and KCRW endorsed soul-bop-duo Myron and E to the stage for the first time. We all
fell in love with their debut LP, “On Broadway”, and the room is a perfect
fit for their sound.
New Years Eve with J Boog, Los Rakas and Bayonics
@ House of Blues, 1530 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim, CA 92802
All Ages, $40-$45
What are our brethren in OC who don’t want to drive to LA to do? Go to the House of Blues in Anaheim. We’ve seen Los Rakas and Bayonics many times and they are opening up for Compton native J Boog who’s taking his musical inspiration from his time on Hawai’i back to the mainland. We’re sure Disneyland will have fireworks to complete the night!