Stay in the East Bay! There are plenty of things to do in Berkeley on New Year’s Eve. Here are some highlights:
Ashkenaz, a Berkeley institution that has been presenting live world and roots music since 1973, is having its annual New Year’s Eve Balkan Bash. This New Year’s Eve tradition, held in honor of David Nadel, the late Ashkenaz founder, is a family event, with children encouraged to attend.
The event is hosted by Édessa, one of the Bay Area’s premier Balkan dance bands. This year’s guests are the Greek ensemble Ziyiá, and Scandinavian and Cajun fiddler Joe Finn and friends. The doors open at 7:30 PM, and the show starts at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $20, and can be purchased online at www.ticketweb.com, or by calling 1-866-468-3399. Ashkenaz is located at 1317 San Pablo Avenue.
Freight and Salvage
Another choice for traditional music is Freight and Salvage’s annual New Year’s Eve bluegrass extravaganza. Like Ashkenaz, Freight and Salvage is a non-profit arts organization, and it too is a Berkeley institution, having been around since 1968.
This year on New Year’s Eve, the band High Country and the duo Dix Bruce & Jim Nunall will be playing. The party will include a buffet, silly hats, and a sparkling apple juice midnight toast. This is an alcohol-free event. The doors open at 7:30, and the show starts at 8:00. Tickets are $26.50, and can be purchased at www.ticketweb.com. Freight and Salvage is located at 1111 Addison Street, and their phone number is (510) 548-1761.
Camelot Waltz Ball
This annual event, sponsored by the group Friday Night Waltz, is the nation’s oldest and largest New Year’s Eve waltz ball. It will be held in the I-House, at 2299 Piedmont Avenue in Berkeley, in the Chevron Auditorium, a national historic landmark built in 1927 with a 3,500 square foot wooden dance floor, a high ceiling with Morrocan-style chandeliers, and a large stage.
There will be dancing to live music from Brassworks, who will play vintage and modern waltzes and polkas. At midnight, there will be a Martinelli’s toast and a sing-a-long. This is a no-alcohol event, and all ages are welcome. You don’t need to bring a partner.
This is a formal ball with attendees wearing formal attire, though the website says that “comfortable clothing is ok too.”
They will have lots of refreshments, including cakes, pies, cookies, and veggie, shrimp, and fruit plates.
Tickets are $25, and must be purchased in advance. You can pay via paypal on the Friday Night Waltz website (scroll down to see the New Year’s Eve info) or mail a check. This event does sell out, and they are limiting attendance this year to 2/3rds of last year’s to make the dance floor less crowded, so if you’re interested, don’t procrastinate!
The Albatross, Berkeley’s oldest pub, voted Best Bar in Berkeley by the Daily Cal, will be having a New Year’s Eve party from 10 PM to 1 AM with a $10 cover charge. The Jazz Fortet will be playing, and party favors are included. The Albatross is located at 1822 San Pablo. Their phone number is (510) THE BIRD.
Have a great New Year’s!