To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

New Year’s By the Bay

Celebrate the new year in Belfast

Dec 30, 2019

Belfast — There’s no place better on the coast for ringing in the new than the city of Belfast, with its 23rd edition of New Year’s By the Bay. To say the lineup is chock-full is an understatement, with events beginning Tuesday, Dec. 31, at 3 p.m. and ending in early 2020. Musicians lead the charge and event-goers have their choice of oldies but goodies and plenty of newcomers.

Admission is by a pin-on button, $20 for adults; $5 for youth/students; and free for children younger than 5. The buttons provide admission to all events, space permitting; but bring money for the food venues or an extra donation. Buttons can be purchased in advance on the event’s website,, or at the Belfast Co-op. From noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, buttons are available at the NYBB Headquarters — Parent Fine Art Gallery, 92 Main St., which is also the place for online purchased button pick-up, information, programs and performer/volunteer check-in. Buttons will be on sale as well at entertainment venues marked with a * in the schedule.

There are always a handful of events free of charge, from checking out the curling club or joining in a community sing to family-friendly storytelling with Jennifer Armstrong. There is truly something for everyone in the following schedule, organized by venue and time, so be sure to skim it all to organize a celebration itinerary. Several groups perform repeat shows, so attendees can be sure catch them.

Those looking for a more meditative transition to the new year can walk the Phineas Parkhurst Quimby Labyrinth at Belfast Common, which will be illuminated by candlelight from 4 p.m. to midnight. Quimby was a clockmaker, inventor and philosopher credited as the Father of the New Thought Movement, as his writings had a significant influence on the development of the positive-thinking movement in America. The medieval eight-circuit paved labyrinth was built by Friends of Belfast Parks.

New Year’s By the Bay ends with free-for-all community events. The participatory Drum & Rabble Corps meets under the downtown traffic light (BYO drums, rattles, noisemakers) at 11:30 p.m. At 10 before midnight, it leads a procession down to the waterfront where, at the strike of 12, the Bonfire By the Bay at Harbor Landing will be lit to welcome the new year.



Belfast Curling Club 21 Belmont Ave./Rte. 3

3 to 5 p.m.FREEOpen house to observe and learn about the sport of curling, the ancient game of stones and brooms on ice.


The Boathouse * – 34 Commercial St.

3 to 4:30 p.m. – Special FREE Senior Event – Whippoorwill Wood Band with Suz and Gabe Wood and John Wixon. Sponsored by Belfast Parks & Rec Dept.

6 to 7:30 p.m.Becca Dean Biggs Band with Becca Biggs, Dan Miller, Jake Greenlaw and JR Braugh. These well-known, seasoned musicians make up a new band, which blends genres of alternative, pop, indie and rock music.

8 to 9:30 p.m. – The Dolphin Strikers, an original Midcoast Ska dance band, features Jeff Walsh, Garth Wells, Noah Barnes, Owen Cartwright and JR Braugh.

10 to 11:30 p.m.The Right Track is a fun, upbeat 11-person dance band playing R&B and soul with the funkiest horn section north of Boston. Village Soup's Best of the Best Band of 2019.


Belfast Common – Cross Street between Miller and Pearl streets

4 p.m. to midnightFREECandlelit Labyrinth, a space for scenic, quiet reflection and meditation to welcome in the New Year.


Ananda Yoga & Wellness Studio – 9B Beaver St. (Back of opera house)

5 to 5:45 p.m. & 8 to 8:45 p.m.FREE – Healing Music Artist Amy Robbins-Wilson performs two musical meditative concerts to create moments of peace to release the old and welcome in the new.


The Playhouse – 107 Church St.

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.FREE – Poet Laureate's Invitational Reading “A 2020 Vision.”


The Basil Burwell Community Theater/“The Bazz” * – 17 Court St.

4 to 5 p.m.FREE – Community Sing

6 to 6:45 p.m.Worksong Community Chorus, led by Bennett Konesni, sings sea shanties and worksongs.

7:30 to 9 p.m.Captain Obvious Band, an energetic rock & blues dance band.

9:30 to 11 p.m.Juke Joint Devils. This jump-blues quartet, with Tommy O'Connell, Mark Horn, Andy Buckland and Steve Lynnworth, is not the same old blues band. It’s high energy and fun!


First Church UCC 2nd Floor Hall – 8 Court St. (at Spring St., side door behind church)

5 to 9 p.m. – FEE, no button required – Dinner of roast pork, stuffing, potato and carrots or vegetarian lasagna with salad and beverage, dessert.

5 to 5:45 p.m. & 6 to 6:45 p.m.Get Lucky. Seasoned Belfast musicians Tade Mahoney, David Lewis and John Pranio play a relaxed mix of great songs, uncluttered sound and tight harmonies.

7 to 7:45 p.m. & 8 to 8:45 p.m.Pinwheel Brothers with Vic Treadwell, Ben Hatfield, Phil Mancini and Will Field performs a vibrant, fun mix of originals, acoustic rock, folk, bluegrass and jazz standards.


First Church UCC Sanctuary* – 104 Church St.

5 to 5:45 p.m.Mid-Coast Ukes, a fun and interactive community ukulele group, performs.

6 to 6:45 p.m. & 8 to 8:45 p.m.Mes Amis plays gypsy jazz, diverse rhythms and intricate melodies, along with dynamic, fun interplay between members Steve Lynnworth, Shane Ellis, Harry Richter and Ross Gallagher.

7 to 7:45 p.m., 9 to 9:45 p.m. & 10 to 10:45 p.m.Katahdin Valley Boys is an award-winning traditional bluegrass band made up of Ken Brooks, Steve Bixby, Jeff Folger and Dan Simons.


UU Church Sanctuary* – 37 Miller St.

4:30 to 8 p.m. – FEE, no button required – New Year's Eve Bistro with homemade hand pies, soups and desserts.

5 to 6 p.m.FREE – Belfast Flying Shoes Community Contra Dance with callers Chrissy Fowler and Lisa Newcomb and music by the Belfast Bay Fiddlers.

6:15 to 7 p.m.Belfast Bay Fiddlers. A community group known for their lively tunes in the New England Contra Dance tradition.

7:30 to 8:15 p.m. & 10 to 10:45 p.m.Cafe Daze. Acoustic vibes by local favorites Willy Kelly, Joe Allard and Jeff Densmore.

9 to 9:45 p.m. & 11 to 11:45 p.m.R.E. & the Divorcee. Alan Gibson, Andrew Carpenter and Mike Bahner collaborate with Alyssa Kelly to perform original tunes and Americana sounds spanning decades of rock-n-roll audacity.


Belfast Free Library – Abbott Room* – 106 High St.

3 to 3:45 p.m.FREE – Storyteller, singer and fiddler Jennifer Armstrong performs “Folk Toys, Winter Tales & Sing Alongs,” a special program for families with youngsters.

6 to 6:45 p.m. & 9 to 9:45 p.m.The Sauternes. Ezra Rugg, Jessica Small and Mark Tipton put on a show of jazzy world music, reggae and fusion with soulful vocals.

7 to 7:45 p.m. & 10 to 10:45 p.m.New Shades of Blue. A fusion of originals, jazz and blues with Juliane Gardner, Chris Poulin and Ezra Rugg.

8 to 8:45 p.m. & 11 to 11:45 p.m.The Lowdown. Songwriters David Dodson, John and Rachel Nicholas, and Mike Nickerson deliver energetic, soulful American folk and roots music with a sense of joy.


First Baptist Church Sanctuary* – 95 High St.

5 to 5:45 p.m. & 7 to 7:45 p.m.Ellacappella. An a cappella group that performs multilayered harmonies with spunk.

6 to 6:45 p.m. & 8 to 8:45 p.m.Halycon String Quartet. Classical chamber music to traditional folk tunes with Sophie Davis, Josie Davis, Colin Wheatley and Ju-Young Lee.

9 to 9:45 p.m. – Storyteller, singer and fiddler Jennifer Armstrong offers “Stories of New Beginnings.”

10 to 10:45 p.m. & 11 to 11:45 p.m.Jonesville. A lively musical journey from Adele to Zeppelin by Belfast duo Ann and Barry Brindle.


First Baptist Church Vestry/Lower Level – 95 High St.

5 to 9 p.m. – FEE, no button required – Dinner of pulled pork on bun, beef stew, chili, corn chowder, split pea soup, coleslaw, rolls, cookies, fudge, bottled water and hot drinks.

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.Caricatures by PJ does fun drawings of you!


The Belfast Co-op* – 123 High St.

Noon to 8 p.m.Cafe/Deli has a variety of hot foods, soups, sandwiches, hot drinks and desserts for sale.

4 to 4:45 p.m. & 5 to 5:45 p.m.Juliane Gardner and Chris Poulin perform jazz and blues.

6 to 6:45 p.m. & 7 to 7:45 p.m.Lincoln Blake plays from the American Songbook on keyboard.


Downtown Traffic Light

11:30 to 11:50 p.m.Drum & Rabble Corp, a drumming procession to the waterfront bonfire.


Waterfront Pier at Harbor Landing

Midnight to 1 a.m.Bonfire By The Bay: Goodbye 2019 and Hello 2020! FREE hot cocoa.


New Year’s By the Bay is a stand-alone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a singular mission: to provide the people of Belfast, Waldo County and beyond with a cultural, family-oriented, chem-free celebration of the New Year. The goal is to celebrate the spirit of Belfast by showcasing local Maine talent, promoting tourism and encouraging civic involvement and volunteerism. The group is appreciative of the strong support it receives from city government, local businesses, churches, service organizations and private citizens.

Since 1997, more than 50,000 people have participated in NYBB. Admission supports the start-up, production and performer costs of the event; there are no salary or administration costs. Venues donate their spaces, businesses provide in-kind support, donors support and underwrite, and volunteers work tirelessly to make this event a success.

It’s not too late to volunteer! More than 100 volunteers from teens to seniors will be needed for two-and-a-half hours each at Downtown Belfast entertainment venues where the event performances take place. It’s fun, it’s indoors and each volunteer receives a free NYBB admission button. If you or someone you know are able to volunteer or you’d like more information, please contact Mary Mortier at 323-1748 or

Compiled by Christine Dunkle.


If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.