In lieu of Light Up Bash, city will host show at The Virginia and promote all entertainment happening downtown
SOMERSET, KENTUCKY (November 20, 2023) — There will be plenty to celebrate on New Year’s Eve in downtown Somerset this year, but it will look a little different than in years past.
Since 2019, the City of Somerset has hosted the Light Up Bash on Fountain Square, an annual free festival that brings the community together to ring in the new year with a “prop drop” countdown, live music, food trucks and spirits. But with the growth of entertainment options downtown, supporting and promoting businesses that are hosting New Year’s events will now become the city’s focus.
“It’s so exciting to see how far we’ve come,” said Leslie Ikerd, See Somerset tourism director. “When we first started this festival in 2019, our downtown was not nearly as robust with nightlife as it is today. That was the goal in introducing these festivals — that we would help spur growth and build a vibrant downtown, the heartbeat of any community. Now, with The Virginia and a host of restaurants and bars offering live music, there are so many options for residents to enjoy when celebrating New Year’s. Our goal is to help promote everything happening in downtown Somerset on New Year’s Eve and encourage our residents and visitors to spend their evening visiting as many of these establishments as possible.”
The City of Somerset will not close the streets on New Year’s Eve. There will still be food trucks parked downtown for those who want to grab something to eat while celebrating. Because the streets will not be closed, Ikerd said those who come downtown should be aware that they will not be able to move freely in the streets with alcoholic beverages as they can during festivals. If you choose to purchase alcoholic beverages, they must be consumed before leaving any establishment.
If you love to dance the night away with the cover band that traditionally plays the annual Light Up Bash, don’t worry, you can still do that. The Next Level Band of Charlotte will ring in the new year at The Virginia along with Travis Harris and The West Coast Turnarounds. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7, with The Next Level Band taking the stage at 9:30 p.m. and playing through midnight. Tickets are $25 and available at thevirginiaky.com.
“The shining star of downtown Somerset is truly The Virginia, our beautiful live performance venue,” Ikerd said. “It made a lot of sense to us to take the music indoors and provide a little more of an upscale experience. Dress up or dress down, it doesn’t matter to us — we want people to have fun with it and continue to offer opportunities for our residents and visitors to enjoy this beautiful space.”
And while there may not be a prop drop this year — the ceremonial lowering of a metal sculpture that features the propeller in the City of Somerset’s logo as the clock ticks toward midnight — Somerset Mayor Alan Keck said he hopes people will still come downtown and ring in the new year at one of the many establishments open that night.
“Whether you buy a ticket to enjoy the show at The Virginia, or if you just hop from one venue to the next, there is going to be plenty to enjoy and celebrate on New Year’s Eve in downtown Somerset,” Keck said. “I can’t wait to see our local businesses teeming with people and people dancing and singing with two outstanding bands at The Virginia. Come on downtown on New Year’s Eve — you’ll see why we call ourselves the Spirit of Southern Kentucky.”