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First Night Monterey 2022

First Night 2022 Performers!

Your First Night Monterey Button includes admission to performances in multiple downtown Monterey venues!

Program details subject to change. Check back for updated information.

Traditional dance from PILAR MENDOZA AND WILLIAM FAULKNER will put smiles on your faces!

Jalisco Harpist and world-renown harpist William Faulkner will tickle your ears with enchanting sounds of the Mexican harp. Pilar Mendoza, folkloric dancer will join William, filling the room with the sounds and sights of traditional Mexican melodies and dance. They will be performing Dueto Arpa y Tacones (Harp and Heels). Pilar Mendoza will also be dancing to La Llorona, a Mexican folk song derived from the legend of La Llorona, earlier in the evening.

Site 1: Pacific St. Stage 4:15—4:30 (Pilar Mendoza Only)
Site 25, Colton Rooms 9:00—9:30 | 9:45—10:15 | 10:15—10:45
Photo of ACAN Drumline

is composed of standout students from their after-school drumline teams — Alisal CAN!

Joshua Alfaro, Founder of the Alisal Community Arts Network, thinks big. Even the acronym provides inspiration: Alisal CAN! The AUSD Marching Drum Line is a performing group composed of standout students from the AUSD after school drumline teams. The groups are sponsored by ACAN, which holds classes for over 1500 youth in East Salinas, Greenfield and Gonzales. Come hear them play!

Site 15: Franklin Street Stage, Alvarado Street
Times: 6:15—6:45 | 7:00—7:30

Traditional folkloric dance from BALLET FOLKLORICO will put smiles on your faces!

Local Folklorico group, Ballet Folklorico Aguila Real, was created with the intention of keeping children away from gang violence. Sonia Villalobos is keeping the legacy of the group alive. Through the heart of traditional Mexican folk dance, participants say they found community. Sonia Villalobos has been teaching dance since she was 14 years old and says the children are her biggest motivation.

Site 1: Pacific Street Stage 3:45—4:15
Site 8: Alvarado Street Galleria 8:45—9:15 | 9:30-10:00
Photo of Black Irish Band

Perennial FNM favorite BLACK IRISH BAND opens the night with their highly entertaining Folk, Americana, and Celtic Pub-Rock!

Formed in 1989 in the historic Gold Rush Town of Sonora, Ca. The Black Irish Band presents the songs of the working people from the 19th Century to the present. A large complement of Maritime, Railroad, Celtic, American and original music that brings to life the adventures of the people who built the world on which we now live. Listen to the stories, sing along, and take a musical trip through history with the Black Irish Band. Happy New Year!

Site 12: Golden State Theater
Times: 7:45—8:15 | 8:30—9:00 | 9:15—9:45
Photo of Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

Lyrically refreshing and musically diverse, DAN FRECHETTE & LAUREL THOMSEN take to the stage with exuberance!

Meeting via a chance YouTube sighting, eclectic Roots-Folk songwriters Dan Frechette, guitar/harmonica/vocals, and Laurel Thomsen, violin/vocals, prove that musical magic is not only possible, but " a match made in heaven". With broad influences ranging from Folk, Classical, Old
Time and Celtic, to Gospel, Jazz, Vintage Country, Rock N' Roll, Blues, and Bluegrass, Dan and Laurel flow seamlessly through genres, tempos, stories, and moods, embodying each style with virtuosic command and keeping music fans on the edge of their seats. Enjoyment is palpable.

Site 25: Colton Rooms, Conference Center
Times: 6:30—7:00 | 7:15—7:45 | 8:00—8:30
Photo of Di Franco DanceProject

Local dance troupe DI FRANCO DanceProject will present a fun-filled program of dance!

The DiFranco DanceProject, Dianne Lyle's company of dancers, ranging in age from 8 through 17 years, will offer a fun-filled, eclectic and exciting program of dances, inspired by cultures from around the globe.

Site 8: Galleria, Alvarado Street
Times: 6:30—7:00 | 7:15—7:45; 8:00—8:30
Photo of Band

THE ELDORADOS won Best Band in 2019's Best of Monterey County contest in the Weekly! **NEW FOR 2022**

A blend of Texas blues, Memphis soul and California surf, the Eldorados were voted the best band in Monterey County for 2019. Led by guitarist Will Benson who came to Monterey by way of Austin, Texas and brought some Lone Star State flavor with him. As the band’s primary songwriter, Will’s original songs include everything from R&B, Rock and Roll, Country, and even some South Texas Zydeco. Loved by locals for their danceable blues rock! In addition to an impressive repertoire of original music, The Eldorados play classics by The Rolling Stones, The Doors, Albert King, Hank Williams, Bob Wills, Chris Stapleton and other greats. A night with the Eldorados is one you won’t forget... it’s a true musical experience!

Site 20: Serra Ballroom, Conference Center
Times: 7:45—8:30 | 8:45—9:30
Photo of Flashpoint

FLASHPOINT ENTERTAINMENT will entertain you with their LED light shows incorporating dance and juggling!

The Flashpoint Fire Show is a spectacle of the most cutting edge entertainment that perhaps has only been experienced in your dreams and should not to be missed. You will witness some of the most talented and beautiful fire dancers execute the most elegant maneuvers ever seen to exciting music that is sure to blow your mind. These professional performing artists known as Flashpoint will not disappoint to truly bring light and magic to First Night Monterey!

Site 13: Alvarado Street Illumination Artists
Times: 7:45—8:15 | 8:30—9:00 | 9:15—9:45

Enjoy a performance of improvisational Jazz with THE GASTINOTES FEATURING PAUL CONTOS  **NEW FOR 2022**

This special event features five reknowned Jazz musicians: Tom Gastineau, Piano/Keyboards, Paul Contos, Saxophone; Stan Poplin, Bass; Steve Robertson, Drums/Percussion; Bruce Foreman, Guitar. There may be music new to many listeners, as well as some very familiar pieces chosen not on the basis of how well known the pieces are, but on how beautiful or interesting the compositions are. The improvisations by these masters on the composers' framework will surely sparkle and delight!

Site 17: Monterey Center for Spiritual Living
Times: 9:00—9:30 | 9:45—10:15 | 10:30—11:00
Photo of Greek Village Dancers


The lively and vibrant Greek Village Dancers will perform vigorous, intricate, graceful folk dances of Greece, wearing authentic costumes. Audience participation is welcome: simple dance steps will be taught. Opa!

Site 8: Alvarado Street/Galleria
Times: 6:15—6:30 pm
Just Dance


Step to the beat and get into the rhythm as you play the Just Dance video game! From Taylor Swift to Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish —get ready to dance!! You're the star! There's something for all ages. Presented by Best Buy.

Site 14: Best Buy Stage, Alvarado Street
Times: 6:45 – 9:15
Photo of Band

LATIN JAZZ COLLECTIVE WITH JOHN NAVA received a standing ovation from a full-house crowd at the 2017 Monterey Jazz Festival! **NEW FOR 2022** **FINALE BAND**

The Latin Jazz Collective is a high energy, eleven piece Latin Jazz ensemble that received a standing ovation from a full-house crowd at the 2017 Monterey Jazz Festival. Led by percussionist John Nava, saxophonist Stu Reynolds, and drummer Martin Binder, the band creates a rich and eclectic blend of original compositions and highly acclaimed standard jazz arrangements steeped in authentic Latin rhythms. LJC members have shared the stage, recorded, and performed with the likes of Carlos Santana, Pete Escovedo, The Yellow Jackets, Malo, Kim Stone (Rippingtons), Wayne Wallace, and many other well-respected artists from around the world. Members of LJC maintain active performance schedules as band leaders, arrangers, and music educators throughout the Central Coast and Bay Areas.

Site 12: Golden State Theater
Times: 10:15—11:00 | **FINALE** 11:15—MN
Photo of Band

Don't miss the return of MC LARS, Indie artist and literary post-punk rapper!

MC Lars is the creator of post-punk laptop rap and lit-hop, which he has extended and powered into a fusion of rap, punk, rock, ska, pop and other genres. He is post-modern -- combining his music with powerful and present lyrics, and packing concert venues worldwide with raps about everything from the iGeneration to Guitar Hero to Edgar Allen Poe to Game of Thrones, the Simpsons and cyberbullying. He speaks to and for people of all ages, lifestyles, and perspectives, and is a story-teller, covering love, life, loss, confusion, and hope. He does so with energy and wit, joined with a strong sense of humor and perspective. Playing First Night most years since 1998, Lars has always been grateful to return to the place where his career bagan. Don't miss him!

Site 23: Steinbeck 1, Conference Center.
Times: 9:00—9:30 | 9:45—10:15 | 10:30—11:00
Photo of Band

MICHELLE LAMBERT dominates every inch of the stage, wielding her violin in classic rock goddess mode!  **NEW FOR 2022** **NEW SITE - CHANGED 12/27**

Michelle Lambert is a Pop Artist with strong California roots touring the Bay Area and all over the West CoaStreet This Berklee Grad is an electric performer, prolific songwriter, vocal powerhouse and violinist extraordinaire. She brought an arena of 18,000 people to their feet with her talent at the NCAA Women’s Final 4 and wowed a full house at the Grand Ole Opry. Michelle’s new single, Girl on Fire, already getting rave reviews from radio stations and media outlets. Lambert wrote this song from her own story, it has vulnerability and never ending will power and spirit. This girl on fire is on her way to the top, don’t miss a chance to see her live!

Site 23: Steinbeck 1, Conference Center
Times: 9:00—9:30 | 9:45—10:15 | 10:30—11:00
Photo of the Band

The MONTEREY COUNTY POPS! will present a fabulous FREE program of music to celebrate Monterey's 250th Birthday!  

Monterey County Pops! presents their full orchestra of 38 players –and many special guest players and dancers -- in a diverse concert celebrating the 250th Birthday of the City of Monterey. Music Director and Conductor Dr. Carl Christensen has created a lively program including selections from Alta California and countries whose flags have flown over California: Spain, Russia, Mexico, and England. This very special Monterey County Pops! program also features the best of the big band jazz era -- perfect for celebrating New Year’s Eve!

Site 12: Golden State Theater
Time: 6:00 – 7:15
Photo of Na Huamana

NA HAUMANA brings the spirit of Aloha to First Night!  

Na Haumana recognizes their foundation in tradition. Today, they evolve with creativity and testing, experimenting in music and dance movement, teaching culture and dance from the Polynesian and Micronesian Islands. Their piece, Aloha ‘Aina, pays homage to the respect and preservation of Hawai'i land and culture to perpetuate her aloha for generations to come. Nā Haumana (“the student”, in Hawaiian) brings the islands of Polynesia to life!

Site 23: Serra Ballroom, Conference Center
Time: 6:30—7:30
Photo of Samba Legal

Dancing-in-the-streets fun! SAMBA LEGAL plays rhythms from Bahia and Rio de Janeiro.

Most of the members of Samba Legal have been playing their brand of Brazilian rhythms for the better part of two decades in the Monterey area. Samba Legal (meaning cool or hip) plays at major events throughout the year like First Night, Parade of Lights, Good Old Days and West End. Often accompanied by the Samba Legal dancers, in full regalia, to help usher you into the spirit of Bahia.

Site 15: Franklin Street Stage, Alvarado Street
Times: 9:15—10:00 | 10:15—11:00
Photo of Band

SAMBADÁ brings joy to each performance, and keeps their fans asking for more!!  **NEW FOR 2022** **FINALE BAND**

While Brazilian natives Papiba Godinho and Dandha da Hora bring their profound knowledge and respect for the roots of Afro-brazilian song and dance, the entire band has developed a type of samba-reggae-funk with a universal appeal. SambaDá musically unites the Americas, drawing from percussion based styles of South and Central America, and blends it with that good old funk and reggae back beat so familiar to crowds of North America. Carnival-like performances, high-energy percussion, danceable grooves and visually dynamic show, guaranteed to get you up and dancing!

Site 20: Serra Ballroom, Conference Center
Times: 10:15—11:00 | **FINALE** 11:15—12MN
Photo of Band

Monterey's SENSORY TRiBE will lift your spirits and leave you with a smile on your face!

Sensory TRiBE brings Collaborative Reggae Fusion Music with a message, an exhilarating blend of good vibes, reggae, soulful rhythms and cheerful music collaboration. The band is a harmonious fusion of six diverse voices: Samra Asrat, Glenn Bell, Zack Benbich, EL Kallpa, Sean McGill, and Nathan Osterman. Sensory Tribe has performed the Winter Warm Up Battle of the Bands at The Catalyst Atriu, Colton Hall Evening Music Series, the Monterey Museum of Art and the West End Celebration. With multiple members writing original music for the band, their performance promises fresh tunes that will make you dance and feel the vibe!

Site 11: Bonifacio Stage, Alvarado Street
Times: 9:00—9:45 | 10:00—10:45
Photo of Band

Dance to SHANNON AND THE NIGHT DIVERS, exploring a repertoire including pop, funk, and Latin rock through the ages.  **NEW FOR 2022**

Shannon & The Night Divers are a Monterey based band exploring pop, funk and Latin rock through the ages. Beyond the band, Shannon & Jorge perform as local duo Songbird Meadow. Glenn performs with local favorite groups Sensory Tribe, The Bassment, and Sea Lvl. They have a killer set for you full of original music and fun covers to dance to, so you won’t want to miss this!!

Site 11: Bonifacio Stage, Alvarado Street
Times: 6:45—7:30 | 7:45—8:30
Photo of Shinsho Mugen Daiko

Hear the thunder of the drums! SHINSHO MUGEN DAIKO opens First Night Monterey with traditional Japanese drumming.

Experience the exquisite physicality of these Taiko Drummers as they perform traditional Japanese drumming, incorporating elements of martial arts. Shinsho Mugen Daiko, founded in 1999, is a group of drummers who are interested in studying the art of Japanese drumming. Taiko, which means "big drum or big drums," have been played at festivals, religious rituals, the theater and orchestras of the Imperial Palace. The founding director, Ikuyo Conant, emphasizes cultivation of energy, self-awareness and social and personal harmony in Taiko drumming.

Site 1: Pacific Street Stage
Times: 3:00—3:30 | 3:45—4:15 | 4:30—5:00
Photo of Band

Playing styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, SINGING WOOD MARIMBA brings high-energy music from Zimbabwe.

Singing Wood plays the Shona style of marimba. This music offers exceptional melodic and polyrhythmic variety —from the very simple to the extremely complex —and its ancient spiritual roots strike common chords in all people who are open to it. A glorious learning experience and playing experience is what Singing Wood aspires to be; come be a part of it!

Site 17: Monterey Center for Spiritual Living
Times: 6:30—7:00 | 7:15—7:45 pm | 8:00—8:30
Photo of Dancers

SPECTOR DANCE will present short pieces to celebrate the season.

Spector Dance Youth Company, a group of exceptional young dancers who seek to excel in contemporary dance, will perform several short pieces to celebrate the season.

Site 20: Serra Ballroom, Conference Center
Time: 6:15—6:30
Photo of Band

Join THE WILDCAT MOUNTAIN RAMBLERS for a fun and spontaneous performance of high energy bluegrass and beyond!

The Wildcats play high energy bluegrass and Americana music. They are described as "the most entertaining band around" by the Northern California Bluegrass Society and band members include the association's Fiddle Player as well as Bass Player of the Year. Highly talented, unpredictable and spontaneous, Wildcat shows can include twin fiddling, buck dancing, animal sounds, audience participation and more. The one thing you can be sure of is that they are going to have a good time, and you will too!

Site 23: Steinbeck 1, Conference Center
Times: 6:30—7:00 | 7:15—7:45 | 8:00—8:30