So, you wanna go to The Avett Brothers’ New Year’s Eve show?
Maybe you’ve already got tickets. Maybe the car is loaded, the note written. Maybe you’re still thinking about it. Maybe you can’t get to Raleigh this year but you’re thinking of doing so in the future.
Wherever you fall, you’re in for a treat. The Avett Brothers’ New Years Eve show is a special event. It’s a must-have Bucket List item for any true fan, up there with Red Rocks, a three-night run in a city.
As a veteran of two Avett Brothers New Year’s Eve shows (2015 in Greensboro, 2016 in Charlotte) and having talked to several fans about their experiences, here’s a fan’s survival guide to New Year’s Eve.
Long Night First things first … They will play past midnight.
Yes, you will be ringing in the New Year with the band.
The Brothers won’t be taking the stage until 9:30, 10 p.m. They will be on stage at midnight and counting down the final seconds of 2017. At midnight the past two years, there has been a massive balloon drop at midnight (which, if you’re like me and one of your biggest fears is the sounds of popping balloons, is not fun).
So keep this in mind as you are getting ready for the night. It’s going to be a long night. Much longer than usual. Plan accordingly. If you have young ones, a nap is mandatory (our daughter fell asleep in her seat last year). Plan your food accordingly. Avett New Year’s Eve is a marathon, not a sprint.
Father Time The past several New Year’s Eve, the band has been joined at midnight by Father Time. It’s Valient Thor, a North Carolina musician and longtime friend of Scott and Seth’s. The past several years, he has come on stage at midnight to help with the countdown and joined the band for several cover songs right after 12. Last year, they played Just The Two of Us and Money.
It’s notable mainly because it’s such a departure from the normal Avett Brothers show. So know it’s coming and roll with it.
Pre-Show info Normal Guild rules apply. Paid Guild members get in 15 minutes early. While there is limited GA seating, this is huge if you are looking for a poster or special New Year’s Eve merch. Take advantage of it. Also, if you have VIP tickets, you get at the same time as Guild members.
Speaking of VIP, is it worth it? I asked my friend Jason Smith, who bought a package with his wife two years ago:
“I mean, there were definitely pros and cons. This was before the Guild so getting early entry was cool (even though we had reserved seats and not GA). I think if I had to do it again I wouldn’t do VIP. The lounge was nice to hang out in before the show, the food was OK. Typical buffet stuff. I remember not even being able to get a drink because the lines were so long. The VIP poster and other merch was cool but worth the extra money? I’m not sure.”
Keep an eye on the band’s social media for special New Year’s Eve-only merchandise. Scott has designed the posters the past two years. Last year featured a t-shirt designed by Mike Marsh and the introduction of Banjo socks.
Avett-Central This will sound weird about a show at a 15,000-plus seat arena, but we’ve found that New Year’s Eve shows to be Avett Central. It feels like you are surrounded by the faithful. And most of the band’s inner circle is at the show. From our floor seats last year, we saw Jennifer Carpenter walking around, Dolph Ramseur chatting with fans, Kat Lamp walking to her seats (I still tease my wife that of all the people inn and around this band, she refused to go up to Kat Lamp because she didn’t want to bother her). You will see Jim and Susie walking around the parking lot and the arena holding court. Do not be shy about going up to say hi, ask for a photo. They’ve always been incredibly gracious with every fan we’ve ever seen.
From the fans: I asked fans on for their best tips for getting through New Year’s Eve. Here’s what they offer:
Wendy Bogema: Dress warmly if it’s a cold night and you’re doing uber/taxi … that’s a loooooong line to wait in at the end of the night.
Rita Bullock Booher: Be prepared for chatty people. I find this show to have more people there for the NYE experience, which is fine. Just not great when they talk/ yell during songs….and high five-ing people in the head is frowned upon. 😇
Jenn Brown: Be comfortable—especially shoes. Get something to eat-it’s a long night. There’s a lot of standing. Have a blast!
Jennifer Stockton Burch: Don’t have any particular songs you HAVE to hear. Just go with the flow and enjoy the whole experience. Expectations lead to disappointment. Talk to your neighbors; they’re probably pretty cool 😎
Adrienne Eskut Burliuk: Parking is $20 but it’s fairly easy to get into. Efficient for a large venue.
Kathy Harris Cox: If you are going to make the trek and do it at all, do it RIGHT. Go ahead and get the closest tickets you can. This is not the night for nosebleed seats. 😉
Ginny Grubb Earnhardt: Just GO! 😊
Amy Lauder Erickson: Carrots (bagged baby variety) are best for hiding in your pants to get past security Oh, and Starbucks Via packets really don’t require water. I like to think of them as a preshow pixie stick 😁
Michael Ganz: It’s a long night! Rest up and get a good meal. Also, for anyone lining up for GA: it’s December, it can be chilly. Dress warmly.
Reiggin Hilderbrand: It’s a party. You’re probably setting unreasonable expectations for yourself if you think you’re going to be able to knock off several of your most elusive bucket setlist songs on this particular evening.
Patricia Lopez: The NYE show is a mixed bag of Avett fans and people who wanted to see a show on NYE – be prepared to explain the rules to others in GA: no, group of 20-something girls, you CAN’T squeeze into a space for one person directly in front of me. No, 20-something guy, I will not let your friends squeeze up front “just for this one song”. ON THE POSITIVE SIDE 😌 The show is awesome as usual, the boys wear tuxes, AND this year the openers are AMAZING.
Annie McGee: Don’t use your early entry to access “the perfect space,” as it is at least three levels above the pit. Once you get into the venue, just go right to pit if they let you. If they don’t let you, ask where you need to line up for it.
Autumn Parker: Relax and just enjoy it….it’s a fun laid back way to end the year….and I second that comment on the food afterwards….most places will be closed or close to it and stop serving food and drinks by the time you get somewhere
Jani Parker: Don’t have a pocket knife, nail clippers or anything remotely questionable in your pocket. My husband got stopped and we ended up second row (not rail) because of it! (I will so leave him standing there this year…)😂
Amy Jones Rains: Make friends with the folks around you in GA-this is important if you need a bathroom break and want your spot back. Don’t record the entire thing on your phone—be present and enjoy!
Amanda Roberts: Don’t hesitate. Just go. Even if you have to drive two days to get there. It’s worth the trip.
Nancy W. Williams: Please pace yourself with the alcohol and be kind and thoughtful to your fellow Avett fans during the concert.♥️
Megan Wiseman: Be sure to stock your hotel room with lots of snacks because finding food afterward can be a pain.