Party central: Fremont Street Experience
New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas has been an American party institution for decades, but ringing in the new year under the Viva Vision canopy at the Fremont Street Experience is iconic. Top to bottom, it’s simply one of the most unique destinations anywhere, perfect for the biggest night of the year.
“You can’t replicate the experience or the environment,” says Fremont Street Experience chief marketing officer Paul McGuire. “The nostalgia of downtown Las Vegas coupled with Viva Vision, the largest single digital display in the world, assures there is action everywhere you look. The people-watching is epic. With 12 bands on four stages, the entertainment is constant. And while New Year’s Eve is our only pay event of the year, at $35 it’s the most reasonable event in the city.”
As usual, America’s Party Downtown will be hosted by Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. The four Fremont Street Experience stages will cover all different musical styles, including a dedicated dance music stage. There’ll be an extra countdown when 2018 arrives on the East Coast as partygoers will be able to watch the ball drop in Times Square on the big screens. And Viva Vision will also launch the new light show based on Las Vegas’ own rock and roll heroes The Killers, an 8-minute montage featuring some of the band’s biggest hits, from “Mr. Brightside” to “The Man.”
It will be a night to remember—or to attempt to remember, depending on how hard you party—but there’s a whole new year ahead full of more fun. “I call it the next-day effect. You wake up thinking, ‘What just happened?’ and then you plug into your calendar for next year,” McGuire says, explaining the overall programming approach. “We are creating events that will become annual rites of passage, if you will.”
One such success from 2017 that will continue to expand in the new year is the Downtown Rocks Summer Concert Series, which lived up to its Spinal Tap-inspired slogan of going “One Louder.” A free concert from Rick Springfield that attracted more than 18,000 people was one of the biggest highlights of the year, and there will be even more free shows in 2018.
For the first time ever, the Fremont Street Experience will create a halfway-to-St.-Patrick’s-Day event called Downtown Shenanigans. “We have a little license to be playful and mischievous and even a little naughty at times, always in a fun, clean, safe way,” McGuire says. “You’ll see new events and franchises like Downtown Shenanigans popping up, things that fall in line with the dynamic.”
In addition to continued collaboration and enhancement with the new Fear the Walking Dead Survival attraction and the now-legendary SlotZilla zipline, the Fremont Street Experience is also planning some serious upgrades in 2018, first by resurfacing the entire pedestrian thoroughfare, and then by upgrading Viva Vision. “It’s just time,” says McGuire of the signature element. “This will be a state-of-the-art, day and night experience, with an entirely new, dynamic content plan that has interactive components to it. It will be a true game-changer for downtown.”
America’s Party Downtown Fremont Street Experience, 6 p.m. Dec. 31, starting at $35 plus tax and fee. vegasexperience.com