Highlight New Year's Eve Celebration Returns to Burlington With a Hybrid Format | Live Culture

Highlight New Year's Eve Celebration Returns to Burlington With a Hybrid Format


  • Courtesy of Kyle Tansley
  • Highlight 2019
Fireworks, a tropical oasis, a circus, bonfires, ice bars — all are promised on the poster for Highlight, Burlington's New Year's Eve celebration on Friday, December 31. Presented by Burlington City Arts, the citywide event features live music, comedy, performance art, arts and crafts and local foodstuffs at a slew of locations all over the Queen City and online.

During a press conference on Monday, BCA executive director  Doreen Kraft, BCA festival and event director Zach Williamson and Mayor Miro Weinberger spoke to a small crowd of staff and an online audience about what to expect from this year's festival.

Highlight will be a hybrid event featuring both in-person and livestreamed happenings. Select venues may require proof of vaccination, and masking will be required at all indoor events.

Much of Highlight will be simulcast online. Festival buttons can be purchased for $15 at local businesses, including Pure Pop Records, Phoenix Books and BCA Studios on Pine Street. Buttons admit the wearer to any live Highlight event and provide online access. Those wishing to stay home can nab a virtual pass for $10.

To ensure equitable distribution of the cost of admission, buyers can enter a promo code supplied by a Highlight artist of their choice at the point of sale, which will earmark half of the ticket fee for the artist who supplied the promo code. Performers will distribute promo codes via their social channels.

In 2018, Highlight replaced Burlington's long-running First Night event, which served as the city's New Year's Eve festivities for decades. Though the two events are similar, a key difference is that much of Highlight's programming is developed from crowd-sourced pitches submitted by artists. Known as the Bright Ideas Project, culling concepts directly from Vermonters "celebrates diverse aspects of our city and state," Weinberger said.

"This is really one of the things that makes Highlight so unique," he continued, noting that more than half of Highlight's content comes from the Bright Ideas Project.

Williamson detailed a number of venues, performers and happenings. Highlight will set up shop everywhere from BCA Studios on Pine Street to the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and nearby Waterfront Park to Contois Auditorium at City Hall.

A full lineup announcement is expected soon. Among other events, entertainment includes performances from fire artists Cirque de Fuego, storytelling experience "The Moth," and a live version of Vermont Public Radio's local music program "Safe and Sound." Host Mary Engisch will interview performers, including singer-songwriters Emma Cook, Lily Seabird, AliT and others.

Visit highlight.community for complete information.

Update, November 16, 2021: Highlight staff clarified that only certain events will be livestreamed.

Related Locations

  • BCA Studios