By STEVEN HERBERT | City News Service
LOS ANGELES >> What organizers bill as the West Coast’s largest free New Year’s Eve event will be held in person for the first time since 2019 tonight, with rain in the forecast.
About 40,000 people are expected for Grand Park’s NYELA, which will feature music performances on two stages, nearly 30 of Los Angeles’ favorite food trucks and art installations and will culminate with a 3D countdown light show projected onto City Hall.
Grand Park’s NYELA will begin at 8 p.m. Rain is forecast in downtown Los Angeles, but the event will be held “rain or shine,” organizers said. Umbrellas are prohibited at Grand Park as is alcohol, which will not be sold.
The featured performer will be Cimafunk, the Grammy-nominated Cuban musician known for known for blending Afro-Cuban sounds and rhythms with global funk, hip-hop and soul. Cimafunk is scheduled to perform from 11: 05-11: 55 p.m. on the Countdown Stage on Grand Park’s Event Lawn next to City Hall, between Broadway and Spring Street.
Cimafunk received a best Latin rock or alternative album Grammy nomination in November for “El Alimento.”
The other performers on the Countdown Stage will be cumbia Latin alternative musician San Cha, electronic jazz musicians Mark de Clive-Lowe & Friends, Versa-Style Dance Company and the Kimbambula Cuban Dance and Music Ensemble.
KCRW-FM (89.9) host Raul Campos will be the stage’s host.
Global bass DJ Gingee will be the first DJ on the Get Down Stage, located in the park’s Block 2 between Grand Avenue and Olive Court. She will be followed by Bhangra/Afrobeat DJ MTooray and the cumbia Latin DJ collective Cumbiatón. Marques Wyatt will spin deep house beats from 12: 05-12: 30 a.m. to conclude the celebration.
Lawn chairs, alcohol, fireworks and firearms are among the other prohibited items at Grand Park. The entire list is available at grandparkla.org.
Snacks, food, sealed juice boxes and empty reusable non-glass water containers will be allowed.
Parking will be available at the Music Center garage and the Walt Disney Concert Hall garage at $10 per vehicle.
Attendees are highly encouraged to take public transportation. Grand Park is located at the Civic Center/Grand Park station on the Metro B Line (Red) and Metro D Line (Purple). Metro rides will be free from 9 p.m. Saturday through 2 a.m. Sunday.
There will be four specially marked entrances to Grand Park:
— Olive and First streets;
— Hill and Temple streets;
— Main and First streets; and
— Broadway and Second Street.
Meanwhile, a free, alcohol- and drug-free New Year’s Eve event will begin at 9 p.m. at Plummer Park’s Fiesta Hall in West Hollywood.
The theme of VIBEZ: A Sober New Year Celebration is Astrological Wellness. The celebration will include drag entertainment, dancing, light refreshments, tarot and palm readings, psychics and star charting.
Attendees must be 18 or older to attend. Advance RSVP is encouraged at tinyurl.com/2hvdd4cc.
A New Year’s Eve countdown will be displayed on the Pacific Wheel at Pacific Park in Santa Monica beginning at 11: 30 p.m. with a 60-second countdown starting at 11: 59 p.m. The 90-foot display can been seen from the beaches south of the Santa Monica Pier, Palisades Park north of the pier, from beachfront hotels or online at www.pacpark.com/live or www.youtube.com/pacpark.
The Ferris wheel lighting program will use a variety of colors and patterns from its 174,000 LED lights to present a numerical 60-second countdown, a “Happy New Year!” horizontal crawl, an oversized “2023,” and display “Happy New Year” in more than 16 languages following the countdown including Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, German, French and Japanese.
The Santa Monica Pier will close at 10 p.m. There will be no fireworks shows at the pier or Santa Monica State Beach.