Famously Hot New Year has grown to become South Carolina’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration, with a free, evening-length concert by a national headliner and the largest NYE fireworks in South Carolina, adjacent to the historic S.C. State House on downtown Columbia, S.C.’s Main Street. Since 2011, Famously Hot New Year has gathered diverse communities to enjoy the free concert and fireworks; regional food vendors; plentiful cash bars with beer, wine and bubbly; a festival atmosphere; free parking and more in the "Real Southern Hot Spot." In 2016, more than 24,000 guests attended from 48 states and 11 countries.
To host an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration that brings together diverse communities in and around Columbia, South Carolina (known as the “Midlands”) as well as visitors from around the nation and the world, in a peaceful, safe and unifying environment that creates goodwill, community pride, happiness and enjoyment for residents and visitors, enhancing the perception of the Midlands as “The Real Southern Hot Spot.”
The Midlands region of South Carolina becomes more widely acknowledged as an ideal place to live, work, play and visit, with increased tourism, elevated economic prosperity, and more vibrant, connected communities.
What started in 2011 as a New Year’s Eve street concert with a fireworks show has grown to a major, statewide celebration -- and catalyst for other happenings around the area surrounding the NYE holiday -- set amidst the capital city’s historic downtown dining and shopping districts, with multiple hotels within blocks of the festivities. Guests can walk to the event from downtown hotels or take shuttles from special park-and-ride locations; choose from hundreds of restaurants, bars and cafes; and enjoy special holiday hours at top attractions such as Riverbanks Zoo. Corporate citizens, businesses, non-profits, and public entities have joined in the fun to host their own events before, during and after the Famously Hot New Year celebration.
The influx of tens of thousands of people in Columbia’s downtown area has resulted in a significant economic boost for local and regional hotels, restaurants and businesses. The event is completely free to attendees and is funded by both public and private partnerships.
Past performers have included Elle King and Nappy Roots (2017); Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue (2016); Ms. Lauryn Hill and SUSTO (2015); The O’Jays and Misterwives (2014); Kool and the Gang and Z.Z. Ward (2013); The Wallflowers, Atlantic Starr and Biz Markie (2012) and George Clinton (2011).
Famously Hot New Year drew an estimated 35,000 people to downtown Columbia, S.C., on Dec. 31, 2015. The fifth annual event in 2015 featured a free concert by GRAMMY-winning recording artist Ms. Lauryn Hill and three S.C. homegrown bands SUSTO, ColorBlind and Dead 27s, as well as the largest NYE fireworks in South Carolina.
Revelers from 36 states and ten countries gathered on S.C.’s Main Street to celebrate a new year of strength and renewal after a tough year for the Palmetto State in 2015, when a 1,000-year flood devastated many areas of the Midlands and South Carolina. A higher percentage of visitors attended from outside of the city, county and state than in previous years. 52% of attendees came from outside of Richland County, and 75% of attendees came from outside of the City of Columbia. Significant flood relief donations were collected for Harvest Hope Food Bank and the One SC Flood Relief Fund.
Economic impact of the 2015 event on the hotel and restaurant industry is estimated at more than $1.2 million, an increase of 20% from the prior year’s $1 million.