Plan Your #FHNY, Columbia, SC’s Free Party of the Year Featuring En Vogue

Jeff Blake

Here are all the details on the free Famously Hot New Year celebration in the "Real Southern Hot Spot."

Press release:

December 12, 2018 (Columbia, S.C.) — Thousands of guests will flock to the streets of downtown Columbia, S.C. at Famously Hot New Year, South Carolina’s free party of the year, on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. Leading up to the biggest NYE fireworks show in the state, En Vogue —one of the top 5 highest-selling female American music groups in history — will perform a free, full-length concert. Make plans for #FHNY at FamouslyHotNewYear.com.

Crowds from around the nation are arranging for an unforgettable getaway to ring in 2019 in Columbia, S.C. Out-of-towners and resident “staycation-ers” alike will book rooms in the city’s walkable downtown lifestyle districts, enjoy top restaurants and immerse themselves in the local culture — an inviting retreat which will culminate with Famously Hot New Year, the celebration of the year.

Set next to the historic S.C. State House on Main Street in Columbia, S.C., Famously Hot New Year features food and merchandise from local vendors; beer, wine and bubbly; and more in a friendly festival environment. New for 2018 will be Escapology Columbia’s mobile “Hot Seat” experience, a solo escape game where competitors must solve different puzzles in a plexiglass room in just two minutes.

The Concert

En Vogue — iconic ‘90s vocal group and one of the top 5 highest selling female American music groups in history — will headline Famously Hot New Year with a free, full-length concert. With hit singles including “Hold On,” “Free Your Mind,” “Never Gonna Get It,” “Giving Him Something He Can Feel,” “Don’t Let Go,” and “Whatta Man,” the show-stopping performers have sold over 20 million albums to date. Learn more about En Vogue at FamouslyHotNewYear.com.

Columbia’s own Soda City Brass Band will support. The musical love child of drummer Chris Church and trumpeter Mark Rapp, the band brings a blend of modern and traditional sounds stemming from the streets of New Orleans to the Carolinas.

Charleston, S.C.’s indie hip-hop group Little Stranger will open the show. Named “Hip-Hop Act of the Year” in the 2016 & 2017 Charleston City Paper Music Awards, the group is Stylistically reminiscent of Gorillaz and Twenty One Pilots and all about originality.

Once again, the stage will be situated at Gervais and Sumter Streets in downtown Columbia, S.C., one short block from the iconic S.C. State House dome, where fireworks will sparkle after a midnight countdown.

Jeff Blake

Live Broadcast, Celebrity Emcees

Famously Hot New Year will be broadcast live on TV by WLTX News 19 and via radio with a live countdown to midnight on 101.3/The Big DM! Co-anchor of WLTX's "News19 This Morning," Brandon Taylor, Q 93.5/WARQ’s DJ Croghan and 101.3/The Big DM’s Shamara will act as emcees, with special appearances by DJ Prince Ice throughout the evening.

Famously Hot New Year Celebration Schedule

6:30 p.m. | Concert gates open

7:50 – 8:30 p.m. | Little Stranger

9:00 – 10:00 p.m. |Soda City Brass Band

10:30 – 11:55 p.m. | En Vogue (Full set)

11:55 p.m. – 12:10 a.m. | Mayor Benjamin on stage & fireworks

12:30 a.m. | Beer, wine and bubbly sales end

1:00 a.m. | Gates close

How to Get There & Back Safely

The COMET

Organizers urge locals to utilize the affordable, clean and safe transportation system of The COMET for just $3 flat, with unlimited rides to and from Famously Hot New Year.

Individuals planning to ride The COMET to the event can do so by hopping on at a stop along one of many routes across the Midlands or by driving to one of four easy park-and-ride locations.

Buses will run across the Midlands beginning at 6 p.m. Dec. 31, with the last pickup from the event at Sumter and Lady Streets at 1:30 a.m. the night of the event.

With either option, riders can pay in cash on The COMET at the beginning of their first ride, or on their mobile phones using the handy Catch the COMET app, on which riders can monitor bus routes in real time: CatchtheComet.org.

View a full list of bus stops, routes and park-and-ride locations online: FamouslyHotNewYear.com.

This year's park-and-ride locations include the following:

* Harbison Area: Near the Harbison Walmart parking lot near Sam’s Club gas station

* Northeast Columbia: Village at Sandhill near Fashion Drive

* Two Notch Road: Columbia Place Road near Faust Avenue

* Forest Drive: Park at Trenholm Plaza, board across the street near the Forest Acres clock

Alert Cab Discounts

Those who need a safe ride home can take an Alert Cab, for which the first $10 of each taxi cab fare is complimentary, thanks to sponsors KW Beverage and Budweiser. Guests can catch an Alert Cab on Lady Street, between Main and Sumter Streets.

Parking

Public parking is complimentary at all City of Columbia downtown parking deck facilities from Monday, Dec. 31, 2018 at 3 a.m. (late Sunday night) until Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 at 3:00 a.m. (late Tuesday night.) See a full list of parking garages online: FamouslyHotNewYear.com.

Citywide on-street meter operations will also be complimentary on Monday, Dec. 31, 2018 and Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.

Street Closures

Guests who drive to Famously Hot New Year are encouraged to note the following street closures and openings in downtown Columbia, S.C.

Sunday, Dec. 30 Closures

8:00 a.m.: 1200 block of Gervais St., between Main St. and Sumter St., closes

Monday, Dec. 31 Closures

7:00 a.m.: 1100 and 1200 blocks of Gervais St., between Assembly St. and Sumter St., close.

Half block area of 1200 block of Main St., south of the entrance to the NBSC parking garage, closes

9:00 a.m.: 900 block of South Main St., from Pendleton St. to College St., closes

4:00 p.m.: Remainder of 1200 block of Main St., between Lady St. and Gervais St., closes

11:30 p.m.: 1100 and 1200 blocks of Pendleton St. close

Tuesday, Jan. 1 Re-openings

12:30 a.m.: 1100 and 1200 blocks of Pendleton St. reopen

2:00 a.m.: 900 block of South Main St., from Pendleton St. to College St., reopens

8:00 a.m.: 1200 block of Main St., between Lady St. and Gervais St., reopens

9:00 a.m.: 1200 block of Gervais St., between Main St. and Sumter St., reopens. 1100 and 1200 blocks of Gervais St., between Assembly St. and Sumter St., reopen. Half block area of 1200 block of Main St., south of the entrance to the NBSC parking garage, reopens

Security and Gate Screenings

Public safety officers will be on duty throughout the event, with patrol cars at entrance points. While admission is free for all ages, all bags will be subject to security screening. Guests are encouraged to leave bags at home or use clear, see-through bags to expedite entry at the gates. For more information on what not to bring, view FAQs here: FamouslyHotNewYear.com

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