Performances & Activities

See all of First Night Raleigh 2017 Evening Performances, Rides, and Interactive Activities.

Nearly 100 Performances across over 35 venues in Downtown Raleigh!    All venues are first come, first serve.

Download a printable .PDF of the First Night Raleigh 2017 Schedule BY TIME

Performances (Alphabetical)
Aaron Jonah Lewis & Ken Waldman

Alaska’s Fiddling Poet and Appalachian String Band Player. Read more →

African American Dance Ensemble

A First Night Raleigh tradition – join Chuck Davis and celebrate community spirit to the beat of ancient rhythms depicting custom, traditions and occasions of African life. Read more →

Ballroom Dancing

Join USA Ballroom dancers as they provide instruction for those who want to dance. There are chairs too, if you just want to watch! Read more →

Bebop, Blues, & All That Jazz

Featuring musician Peter Ingram and his band alongside the National Award Winning Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble. Come and listen and bring your instruments to jam along with the band during the open Jam Session! Read more →

Ben Model: Silent Film Composer & Live Accompanist

Silent film historian/accompanist Ben Model witll accompany a pair of classic slapstick comedy shorts from the 1920s, IT’S A GIFT (1923), and THE ELECTRIC HOUSE (1922).  Read more →

Birds of Avalon

One of Raleigh’s favorite local acts, Birds of Avalon are bringing their unique sound and energy to the First Night Raleigh Countdown to Midnight in City Plaza! Read more →

Comedy Worx

Making the Triangle laugh since 1989 with improv with two teams performing different scenes and playing out audience suggestions with a First Night Raleigh twist! Read more →

Compton & Newberry 

Compton & Newberry. Two traditional music veterans who mine the brother duet music of the 30s and 40s-when country music was transforming into bluegrass. Read more →

Happy Accidents

Family-friendly scenes performed by Happy Accidents from Enloe High School! Read more →

The High Seas

Come listen to beautiful Acapella music! The High Seas is a student led, all-male ensemble that performs a wide variety of music with a high energy show. Come listen to beautiful Acapella music! The High Seas is a student led, all-male ensemble that performs a wide variety of music with a high energy show. Read more →

Jack the Radio

This groove-heavy and southern-tinged Raleigh band formed in 2005 as a collaborative project between roommates. Jack the Radio is the brainchild of seasoned songwriters George Hage and A.C. Hill. Read more →

Josh Dumbleton

Edenton Street’s own organist demonstrates explosive talent along with Trumpeteer Alex Fioto Read more →

N. C. Opera 

Formed in 2010 in Raleigh, it is dedicated to presenting operatic performances at the highest level throughout the Triangle. Read more →

Paperhand Puppets

Since 1998, Paperhand Puppet Intervention has been using cardboard, corn starch, bamboo, your old house paints, and other assorted junk to create giant puppets, masks, shadow plays, and performances for all ages. They tell stories, beat drums, paint cardboard, sew cloth, get sweaty, push. Read more →

Pat “Mother Blues” Cohen

Pat Cohen is a dramatic and exotic performer whose talent should not be overlooked. During her performances, “Mother Blues” Cohen shares the mettle, pathos and ocean-deep compassion of the famous female blues singers she idolizes—women like Billie Holiday, Koko Taylor and Etta James. Read more →

Rejuvenation Station with Angela Savitri

It is well known that meditation reduces stress and enhances your wellbeing. Join Chronic Stress Coach, Angela Savitri, OTR/L, as she guides you through walking meditation and mindful movement practices that calm your mind and settle your nerves. You’ll leave relaxed, restored, and feeling light-hearted.
No experience or spandex required! Read more →

Ron Gallo & RG3

Ron Gallo’s music is comprised of lyrical confrontation and laughter for cynics laid down roughly on a bed of fuzz, chaotic structures and primal sounds evoked from a red Fender jaguar electric guitar – there is bass, there are drums and not much else besides the occasional icing (no artificial colors or dyes). Read more →

Seed Art Share: “Marvels, Medals, & Midnight”

“Marvels, Medals, and Midnight”! Someone has tampered with the First Night Raleigh acorn and our four young scientists need help setting things right before 2017. Join Seed Art Share for this interactive walking-play where YOU chose the ending! The fun begins at the City of Raleigh Museum with multiple start times.

Please note that Seed Art Share moves throughout different venues in First Night Raleigh. Read more →

Skylar Gudasz

Skylar Gudasz writes songs, sings, and plays piano, guitar and flute on her debut solo album Oleander, out February 2016. Based in Durham, NC, she has travelled the world touring with Big Star’s Third and various projects from Barcelona to Australia. Read more →


Based out of Western North Carolina, Shadow Grass is a bluegrass band of young musicians. Come enjoy beautiful bluegrass music and support their musical journey. Read more →

Transactors Improv Company

Transactors Improv is the longest-running improvisational theater in the south. Our work focuses on emotion, physicality, character, commitment, teamwork, and fun. Read more →

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble

The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble is proud to be an ensemble of the Philharmonic Association based in Raleigh under the direction of Dr. Gregg Gelb . TYJE is for advanced musicians in grades 8 – 12 who want to develop the skills to perform a wide range of jazz compositions. Read more →

Truly Anointed Gospel

Gospel ensemble out of Raleigh, NC. Started in 1988, as teens with a vision and mission for Christ to be shared. Over two decades of anointed music helping to spread God’s love through song. Read more →

WRAL Countdown to Midnight

Jam with Jack the Radio and Birds of Avalon along with local media celebs and other stars as we to usher in 2016 with the infamous Raleigh Acorn Drop! Read more →


Often armed with just an electric guitar, the live performance is a model of intimacy and presence. With a “warm voice [that] embraces you”, XOXOK delivers a combination of soulful, smooth, and soft tunes laced with unabashed emotion. Read more →

Evening Rides & Interactive Activities (Alphabetical)
Animal of the Hour

Get up close and personal with some of North Carolina’s resident creatures. Read more →

Art Piano

Play a song on one of our beautiful art pianos painted by local artists. Read more →

Art Putt (Miniature Golf Course)
Enjoy the game of miniature golf and the nine holes created by local artists at the same time! Read more →
Film Series: Changeover & There’s My Angel

WRAL 3D Theatre
7:00pm – There’s My Angel directed by Willie Hodges Screenplay written by Dilsey Davis.
9:00pm – Changeover by Estes Tarver
Read more →

Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel

Back by popular demand! Don’t miss the visual center of First Night Raleigh with our Fantastical First Night Ferris Wheel! Take a spin 90 feet in the air atop the gondola-style Ferris wheel. Read more →

First Night Lite Brite

Modeled after the pop-culture LITE BRITE toy first introduced in the late 1960′s, First Night Raleigh presents its own, larger-than-life version of this interactive, illuminating toy. Read more →

Gold Leaf Sleigh Rides

Catch a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh as it makes a loop around the historic North Carolina State Capitol. Read more → 

Henna Tattoos

Henna artist Deepika Bhatt has been drawing in henna since she was seven years old. Born and raised in India, Deepika eventually went on to apprentice with three henna artists, and although she has her Ph.D. in genetics, her passion is henna painting. Read more →

Party Crowns at Craft Habit

Pop into Raleigh’s new creative and DIY hot spot, Craft Habit! Use an array of crafting and art supplies to make your own a party crown to wear during the Countdown to Midnight and Acorn Drop. Read more →

People’s Procession
Line up beginning at 5:30pm along Edenton Street, north of the State Capitol. As the DIY Festival ends and the evening entertainment begins, mark the passage of time… from afternoon to evening… from old year to New Year… in the People’s Procession! Read more →
Pop Up Wedding Chapel

A just for fun wedding chapel right in the heart of First Night Raleigh; renew your vows or just pretend to get hitched! Read more →

Recharging Station
Charge up your smartphones so that you can keep using the First Night Raleigh app! Our recharging stations are brought to you by Fidelity Investments! Read more →
Resolution Oak Tree

Got a resolution for 2017? Write it on a “leaf” and addit to the First Night Raleigh Resolution Oak Tree, created by local sculptor Jennifer Van Orden. Read more →

Sea Ray Pirate Ship 

Sail the seas of Fayetteville St in the Sea Ray – a giant pirate ship that soars on a pendulum high above the midway. With thousands of colorful LED lights it is also the perfect backdrop for a selfie or to live out the pirate in all of us. Read more → 

TapSnap Interactive Photo Booth
TapSnap is so much more than the old-fashioned photo booth— it is entertainment for the digital age with customizable graphics, immediate social media sharing, and sleek open-air design. TapSnap is here to capture all your special moments! Read more →
“This Year I Will” Wall
Write your resolutions for 2017 on the “This Year I Will” Wall sponsored by Fidelity Investments. Read more →
Yoga with Blue Lotus 

6:45-8pm NYE Open Level Flow and 8:15-9pm Mediation
and Intention Setting for 2017. Read more →