Missoula's First Night returns with COVID-19 precautions

MISSOULA, Mont. - First Night, a popular music and arts festival dating back to the 90s, returns to Missoula this New Year's Eve after the pandemic placed the tradition on hold last year. 

With the omicron variant fueling another increase of COVID-19 cases, organizers are working to keep everyone safe. 

The event's coordinator Sasha Bell said they're being mindful of the pandemic by reducing capacity, hosting outdoor activities and encouraging folks to mask up. 

First Night celebrates Missoula's vivid arts scene with comedy, live music and other art demonstrations, while also giving families a safe, alcohol-free alternative to other New Year's Eve activities. 

Bell said last year was tough for local artists, and she's excited to bring back the popular event. 

"I've not performed very much during the pandemic," Bell said. "I think for most performance artists, half the fun is performing and sharing. I've definitely received that feedback from a lot of the artists we've booked for First Night, so I think the energy should be really amazing Friday night." 

Before going out to either First Night or another large gathering, the Missoula City-County Health Department encourages folks to take an at-home test if there's access, and once you're out to continue practices like washing your hands and limiting the people you're close by. 

First Night admission buttons are available for $12. Children 10 and under do not need an admission button. 

They can be purchased at the following locations:  

  • Albertsons (All Missoula locations)
  • Butterfly Herbs
  • Chapter One Bookstore (Hamilton)
  • Fact and Fiction
  • Fresh Market (Broadway and Reserve stores)
  • Good Food Store
  • Harvest Foods (Lolo)
  • Missoula Downtown Association
  • Rockin Rudy’s
  • Rosauer’s
  • Super 1 Foods (Stevensville)
  • Worden’s Market

For more information on First Night, click here. 

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