For a while, it looked like slim pickins’ for 2014 New Year’s Eve Swing dancing. Due to the awkward timing of New Year’s Eve this year, falling on a Wednesday, the Santa Swing organizers in Santa Barbara decided to cancel their event, which drew a good number of dancers last year. Many other venues are not having Swing events for various reasons, or are not having any Swing bands this year, like the Queen Mary.
But fear not, some new events have appeared and more are undoubtedly coming. And, if you are willing to celebrate New Year’s Eve a day or so early, there are even more.
The additional silver lining is that with fewer New Year’s Eve events, Swing dancers will be less spread out over different events so you’ll be more likely to find your friends and dance partners at the event that you choose.
So, here are my recommended 2014 New Year’s Events for Swing dancers in Los Angeles and Orange County!
A Few Days Before New Year’s Eve
These events are a couple days before New Year’s Eve but are worth checking out.
Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association Pre New Year’s Party (Saturday, December 27th)
PBDA kicks off the festivities with their Pre New Year’s Eve party with Pete Jacobs Wartime Radio Review Swing Orchestra on the Saturday before New Year’s Eve. They encourage everyone to wear black and white. Cover is $20. There is a complimentary Swing dance lesson at 7:30 followed by dancing at 8PM to 11:30PM.
New Year’s Eve Eve (Tuesday, December 30th)
Just to be clear, these events are on the day before New Year’s Eve, a.k.a New Year’s Eve Eve. Please don’t be confused and show up to these on New Year’s Eve.
Atomic Ballroom is having their annual Pajama Jammie Jam Party on the day before New Year’s Eve. You don’t have to wear pajamas but you can if you want. They’ll have lessons at 7:45PM with the dance starting at 8:30PM. Food for the night will be cereal bar. DJ’d music will be swing until midnight, then club and top 40 after midnight. Cover is $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
There is not a more classy way to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles than to spend it at the Cicada Club. If you don’t mind celebrating a day early, this is a perfect event, featuring the excellent Dean Mora and his Orchestra. This is definitely a dress-up event, so go all-out with formal or vintage wear. Advance tickets are $25+$2 service charge or $30 at the door (but don’t wait; it could sell out). Unlike some of the other NYE events listed here, food and drink are NOT included with admission. There is a “dine and dance” dinner special for $69 though.
New Year’s Eve (Wednesday, December 31st)
These events are actually on New Year’s Eve!
The Moonrise Club at El Cid (NEW!)
This is a more unusual event but could be lots of fun. The Moonrise Club at El Cid will be having a Gypsy-themed celebration starting with a flamenco show then live gypsy jazz with the Hot Club LA, playing Django-styled 30’s jazz at 10:30PM. Reservations highly recommended. Cost is $75 to $130 for dinner, but you can also just come for the dance for $25 advance/$30 door at 10:30PM. If you want to dance, you should bring your own partner or go with a group.
Memories will be throwing another New Year’s Eve party this year! There will be a dance lesson at 8PM and the party will start at 9PM, complete with snacks, party favors and more! Admission will be $25 at the door, but if you purchase your tickets before December 22 by phone, they are only $15! Call 714.925.2689. Private booths can be reserved for $25 ahead of time by calling. This is an all-ages event! No alcohol.
If you don’t mind driving out to Riverside, this looks like a really cool and unique New Year’s Eve event. They’ll be having a New Year’s Eve WWII Hangar Swing Dance Party featuring Pete Jacobs Wartime Radio Revue. Needless to say, dressing WWII military is highly recommended (there will be a fashion contest). The dance goes from 8PM to 12:30AM. Buy your tickets in advance. Prices range from $70 to $280 plus service charges. There will be an open bar and food truck voucher. Looks like fun!
The amazing Dustbowl Revival will be playing at the Mint for New Year’s Eve this year, along with a few opening bands (“The Record Company” and “Roses & Cigarettes”). Tickets range from $70 to $225 purchased in advance. The opening bands start at 9PM and Dustbowl goes on at 11PM. I would characterize Dustbowl Revival’s music as roots and Americana with some blues and bluegrass. It’s not technically Swing music, but it sure is fun to dance to.
Joe’s Bar is featuring the Crown City Bombers, Lil Mo, Mark, Cliff, & Dave of the Dynaflos; Brian Hogan; Reginald Dewitte, & DJ Nuria for what looks like will be a fun-filled night in Burbank. Cost is $25+service charge in advance, but try using discount code “december6”. Champagne and party favors included. Get your tickets online here. The party runs from 7PM-2AM. Go early to snag a table.
The Clubhouse in O.C. is where Strutter’s Ball usually happens on Wednesday nights. For New Year’s Eve, 6 DJ’s will be spinning Lindy, Balboa, Old School WCS and Blues. Doors Open at 8:00 pm with a dinner buffet and later in the evening a dessert buffet with a Martinelli’s toast at midnight. Join Augie Freeman, Andrew Jose, James Bianco, Mike Mizgalski, Vicky Chan and Bryson Daich as they keep you hoppin’ all night long! Just $20 if you register before December 25th!! $30 at the Door. You can register at www.clubhousedancestudio.c
If you have an annual pass or are willing to pay for park admission, and you don’t mind braving the the New Year’s Eve crowds at Disneyland (actually, I’ve done it before and survived), then you can check out Stompy Jones at Disney’s Fantasy Faire. Keep in mind that it can sell out, especially on New Year’s Eve so don’t wait too long to enter the park. Undoubtedly, they will have a spectacular fireworks show not to be missed!
If you want the poor man’s Disney experience, there’s Ry Bradley (rockabilly) at Downtown Disney from 6-10PM. The only cost is parking, but please try to support the restaurants and stores there.
The city of Fullerton proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate New Year’s Eve. They’ve lined up sponsors to bring you some great live bands including James Intveld, Los Fabulocos featuring Kid Ramos, and Deke Dickerson and the Eccofonics (with Dave Stuckey on drums!) as well as fireworks at midnight. Lindy bomb anyone?? The event is free and parking is free! The festivities start at 7PM! For more information, download the flyer with map.
Vendetta New Year’s Eve (NEW!)
Okay, this has to be the most unusual event on this list… Held at the rooftop Monte Cristo club in Hollywood, our man Professor Marshall Watson has teamed up with LADEAD™ (Los Angeles Darkside) for their 6th Annual “VENDETTA ” — a Prohibition Era New Year’s Eve celebration. Expect to hear Electro Swing and Big Band, enjoy Complimentary Champage during the countdown to the midnight balloon drop, and try your luck in the Blackjack Speakeasy! Compared to most Hollywood dance clubs, this is actually one of the cheaper New Year’s Eve events at $30. But if you RSVP on the Facebook event, it’s only $20, or $10 before 10PM. Check out this event if you want to try something different this year!
Ring in the New Year at the Culver Hotel (NEW!)
This a late addition, but a good one. The Culver Hotel is an awesomely restored vintage hotel, perfect for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Featured entertainment will be Sylvia and the Rhythm Boys, sure to play some danceable tunes. Reserve early, as the space is not that big. Cost is $85 for the first dinner seating from 7-9PM or $75 for appetizers from 9AM-1AM. Seating is by reservation only.
New Year’s Day
If you’re not too hung over after partying all night, head on down to the Santa Monica Pier (not Third Street Promenade) to dance off those holiday calories with the Third Street Swingers. Dancing will be from 2-5PM with music from DJ Fons or bring your own CD. Believe it or not, the smooth cement surface is actually not bad for dancing. It’s free!!
Well, that’s what I have so far. Check back often for updates. If you know of any other New Year’s events with Swing dancing, let me know in the comments below. Thanks! – Brian