Every year in Los Angeles and Orange County around this time, the question of the moment in the Swing scene is “what are you doing for New Year’s Eve”? Happily, there are a variety of New Year’s Eve events for Swing dancers to choose from. But, you should start planning now, lest they sell out. Here’s a rundown.
If You’re Going Solo
One of the reasons that I love Swing dancing is that you can go alone and meet lots of people. A great event for this is Atomic Ballroom’s infamous Pajama Jammie Jam. This is the “anti-New Year’s Event”, where you dress down in your jammies rather than dressing up. Cost is only $15 presale or $20 at the door, a steal for any New Year’s Eve event. There are sure to be plenty of partners to dance with. You can get your ticket online here. See who’s going by checking their Facebook Event Page. The fun starts at 8:30PM. I believe this is an all-ages event with no alcohol.
Another great option if you’re solo is the New Year’s Eve Party at Memories in Whittier, hosted by Essex and Lee. They’ll have all of the standard NYE party favors. This is an all-ages event (no alcohol). Tickets are $25 per person. I’ve been to this in past years and had a good time. This will be in their downstairs dance area.
If You Can Wrangle Up a Partner or Two
If you can coordinate with another dancer or two, you have a few more options.
The Mint in L.A. will be featuring the excellent Dustbowl Revival. Tickets are $80/per person, but this includes appetizers and “open bar”, according to their site. With such a great band, this is probably a good pick if you have a partner or can convince a few friends to go. I know someone who went last year who said it was fun, but very crowded (most venues will be on NYE though).
Joe’s Bar in Burbank will be featuring Crown City Bombers who play rockabilly and 50’s rock. Tickets are $21 in advance until 12/25 (although the link on their calendar to pre-pay is broken) or $30 at the door. This place is a real bar, so they will have a champagne toast at midnight. It will be crowded, and there should be dancers there, but probably best to bring a partner.
For a bit more intimate and cozy New Year’s Eve, check out the Barkley in South Pasadena featuring Big Lucky (big band Swing). There is a dance floor, but it is small. Amazingly, this event is FREE, but you need to call ahead to reserve. See who is going on the event Facebook Page.
People’s Palace in San Pedro is hosting a New Year’s Eve Party with live music by Tropic Starr. Cost is $35 in advance or $60 at the door. I’ve never heard of this band, so if you go, let me know how it is.
If You Want to Meet New People (UPDATE!)
The venue and band have changed for this event!! The Los Angeles Free Concerts meetup.com group’s New Year’s Eve party will now be at the Noe Lounge at the Omni Hotel. The band will be “Rick Michael Quartet”, a light loungy jazz band (Not sure how many danceable songs they will play – be warned). You’ll have to sign up with meetup.com to RSVP, but that is free. There probably won’t be a whole lot of Swing dancers at this event, but if you find someone decent, you’ll be able to wow everyone with your mad Swing skills. Try this event if you want to meet some new people who are not in the regular Swing scene.
If You Want to Go All-Out
If you can wrangle up a whole dance crew, check out the Queen Mary’s “Passport to the New Year”. They will feature themed “stops” at various ports around the world like Bombay and Rio de Janeiro. Plus, they will have fireworks. This features not one, but two, Swing-danceable bands: the outstanding Hedgehog Swing (Gypsy jazz) and Maureen & the Mercury 5 (rockabilly, 50’s). There will also be some Swing dance performances. I went to this one year with a huge group of dancers and had a good time. I don’t recommend this if you’re going alone though. Tickets are $99.
If You Are a Disney Fan
Disney’s California Adventure is hosting some awesome bands: the Ellis Island Boys and Tim Gill. Disneyland will be hosting Stompy Jones (jump blues) at Fantasy Faire for their annual NYE show starting at 7:30PM. These are all fantastic bands for Swing dancers. They are playing inside the park, so you will need to pay for admission (now a whopping $92 per adult!) or have an annual pass to get in. I’ve done this before. Yes, it was crowded but fun. This is a good option if you have an annual pass. Check out the unofficial Disney Swing Facebook page for more info.
If you don’t have an annual pass, Ry Bradley will be playing at Downtown Disney for free, but it will probably be super-crowded. You can also Lindy-bomb the Beatles tribute band, Paperback Writers, also playing at Downtown Disney near the House of Blues.
If You are a Hard-Core Swing Dancer
If you are a super hard-core Swing dancer (you know who you are), you should consider Santa Swing in Santa Barbara featuring the incomparable Dave Stuckey & the Hot House Gang with special guest Carl Sonny Leyland. This is actually a multi-day Swing camp featuring classes, competitions, and other dances, culminating with the NYE dance. You can either register for the whole event ($120 at the door) or get a dance pass for any night. The NYE dance is $45. You’ll probably want to bring some friends, carpool, and maybe get a hotel for the night.
Well, those are the options I know about for New Year’s Eve 2014 in Los Angeles and Orange County. Decisions, decisions! Let me know if I missed any, and have a great New Year’s Eve! – Brian