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First Night Monterey 2023

FINALE BANDS!! Countdown to Midnight!

Your New Year Starts Here! This year's finales will be held indoors, so whatever the weather you can see in the New Year in style! The venues open at 11:00 PM and all the festivities at both venues begin at 11:15, culminating with a countdown to midnight. Space is limited, so a Finale ticket (no extra cost to button-holders) is required to get in. PICK UP YOUR FINALE TICKET by showing your FNM button at the Portola Plaza ticket booth (look for the signs!) after 8:00 PM. Both bands also have an earlier set, so you will have the opportunity to see & hear both bands.

Special surprise guests may be dropping in to join the bands at either venue - you never know what might happen at a First Night finale! At either venue, whether you want to be on your feet dancing or just sitting back and enjoying the tunes, you can guarantee a fun and exciting time into the New Year! Have fun, and have a Happy New Year – First Night style!

Wolf Jett at the Golden State Theater

Pure joy! That is the sound of Wolf Jett’s “Cosmic Mountain Music”. Original, danceable tunes in the style of classic southern americana with folk and blues influences, featuring soulful vocals combined with lively improvisation. Their music is a celebration of perseverance, infusing folk, blues and americana into what can only be described as "Cosmic Mountain Music.” Frontman Chris Jones was born in the south and raised in CA. His songs combine the best of both worlds to create a vibe that is fresh, yet immediately familiar to a broad audience. He is joined by long-time musical collaborator Jon Payne on drums, Duncan Shipton on bass, Will Fourt on dobro guitar.

California Cowboys in the Serra Ballroom

R. W. Smith and the California Cowboys deliver a powerful sound, with the clear punch of tight three-part harmonies. With rowdy, foot stompin’ original songs as “We Ride’ em We Rope’ em” and “Double Shot of Hank”, it’s easy to see this band is a big hit with audiences. Lead singer and song-writer, R.W., who loves to dance and joke, skilled drummer Hal Atkinson, guitar player and producer Gary Potterton, bass player Cary Atkinson and Steel Guitarist, Bobby Black form one of California's most successful country-western bands. With a solid draw and non-stop show, the Cowboys will entice you to get out on the dance floor and put those cowboy boots to good use!