Category Archives: bright night

FALL RIVER HERALD: BRIGHT IDEA: Providence plans family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration

BRIGHT IDEA: Providence plans family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration

By Linda Murphy

Posted Dec 22, 2010 @ 03:49 PM
Last update Dec 22, 2010 @ 03:52 PM


They’ll be plenty of clowning around at this year’s Bright Night Providence festival on New Year’s Eve. “We’re really excited about it this year, it’s going to be a great festival,” said Festival Director Adam Gertsacov.

This year’s festivities feature more than 160 performers in various locales throughout downtown Providence, new partnerships with performing arts venues, ice skating, a masquerade ball, and Bambouk, a headlining clown act staging three shows at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

Bambouk’s Brian Foley and Mathew Duncan, bald-headed clowns sporting snappy tuxedos and old-school red clown noses are a vaudevillian style physical comedy act that’s taking New York’s off Broadway scene by storm. “They sacrifice their dignity for people’s enjoyment. I saw them off Broadway and I thought they were amazing. And I’m a professional clown, so that says a lot,” said Gertsacov, who hangs up his clown gear on New Year’s Eve to act as ringleader of the artist-run Bright Night, Providence.

In addition to sharing the stage with the Moscow Circus, Nanjing Acrobatic Troupe, Big Apple Circus and Cirque du Soleil, Bambouk also won the prestigious Sherman Brothers Award for Best Clown Duo and the 2010 Golden Nose Award winners for Audience Choice Best Clown Act. “The headlining act has to have broad appeal. They’re silly enough for kids to enjoy them, and smart and talented enough for adults to appreciate them,” said Gertsacov. “There’s also a fair amount of audience interaction.”

The festival gets under way at noon with strolling performers, half-priced skating at the Bank of America Center in Biltmore Park and storytellers, clowns, jugglers and performers taking the stage at four different venues. The Providence Children’s Museum will host puppet shows and other children’s activities, storytellers will take the stage at Perishable Theater from 1 to 5 p.m., the Beneficent Center will feature jugglers, clowns and acrobats, and URI’s Shepard Building offers up a circus workshop with Marvelous Marvin, Indian story and dance workshops with Shanti Muthu, storyteller/performer Keith Munslow and the ever-popular Big Nazo Puppet Band at 5:30 and 7 p.m.

The performances at all of the venues, which also include the AS220 Cafe, Grace Church and the First Baptist Church, start at 6 p.m. after the official opening ceremony in Biltmore Park at 5 p.m.

Singer/songwriters take the stage at Perishable Theater from 6 to 10 p.m. at the annual Bright Night Acoustic Coffeehouse followed by A Night at the Disco: The 70s Strike Back performing a fun retro tour through the gilded age of mirrored disco balls and leisure suits at 10 and 11 p.m.

The First Baptist Church is host to local jazz legend Greg Abate, Fishin’ with Finnegan, a Celtic music act, and Rhythm Room, a first at the festival. “They’re kind of a rogue music group with 10 players and 40 different instruments,” said Gertsacov. “They have a wonderful, danceable sound: I’m expecting the place to be rockin’ it out.”

Two other Bright Night favorites, mentalist Rory Raven, and sideshow artist Matt the Knife are slated to perform at AS220 in advance of the annual Bright Night Poetry Slam at 10 p.m. flowed by an array of bands on the AS220 stage performing up to 2 p.m.

The Bright Night Blues Bash with the Black and White Blues Band kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at the Beneficent Center, and an array of performers are also scheduled to perform in its sanctuary starting at 6 p.m. with master steel drummer Jason Roseman. “I’m really excited about him,” said Gertscov. “He learned how to make steel drums from his father and he’s been performing for 35 years. He plays calypso music, but he also plays jazz.”

The Rhode Island Children’s Chorus and the feminist chorus, Woman Spirit Rising are scheduled to perform at the Grace Church, which will also feature storytellers Mark Binder and Bill Harley.

“There’s a wide diversity of performers, and we also have some extraordinary street performers too,” said Gertsacov.

Bright Night Providence is also pairing up with the Providence Performing Arts Center, which is offering discounted tickets to 8 p.m. performances of Mama Mia on Friday and Saturday, and Trinity Repertory Company is also discounting tickets to its New Year’s Eve plays: “A Christmas Carol” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Another partnership this year offers a reduced ticket to the World Masquerade Ball, a black tie, 21 and older event at the Rhode Island Convention Center. See the Bright Night website for the fine print details on these partnerships.

Bambouk: A New Vaudevillian Escape will be held at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. at the R.I. Convention Center. A Bright Night ticket (a Tyvek wristband) will guarantees admission to one of those three performances, plus more than 50 other performances at 12 other venues throughout the day and evening (on a space available basis).

With New Year’s Eve taking place on a Friday, Gertsacov is expecting a good turnout at this year’s artist-run New Year’s Eve event. Tickets purchased before Dec. 24 cost $10. Tickets after the 24th cost $15; group discounts are also available.

Check out for a full schedule of events and a listing of ticket sellers.

Press Release: WaterFire To Help Bright Night

DECEMBER 15, 2009
John Crisafulli
(401) 255-3739

Updates for New Year’s Eve 2009
  • WaterFire to light Waterplace Basin and Memorial Park
  • Bright Night announces headliners
  • Eyes Wide Open Masquerade celebrates WaterFire’s 15th Anniversary

PROVIDENCE – The fires will burn brightly this New Year’s Eve thanks to a generous gift from a longtime donor to WaterFire.  WaterFire was first lit on New Year’s Eve in Waterplace Basin exactly fifteen years ago, so when WaterFire heard that Bright Night Providence was struggling and that the city might be dark on New Year’s Eve, they asked a long-time donor to help both WaterFire and Bright Night.  WaterFire is pleased to join with Bright Night and Mayor David N. Cicilline to announce they will share this anonymous gift with Bright Night Providence to ensure that the Capital City is alive with light, art, and community this New Year’s Eve.  Join WaterFire in Waterplace Basin at Waterplace Park at 5:30 p.m. on December 31st to kick off the evenings’ events!  Enjoy the fires and then explore all the great performances that Bright Night is offering.

WaterFire to light Waterplace Basin and Memorial Park
The circle of fires in Waterplace Basin will burn from 5:30 to 10:00 p.m. and the 12 fires in Memorial Park will burn until after midnight.  Please join us in Memorial Park for the stroke of midnight and a group singing of Auld Lange Syne and Happy Birthday to WaterFire, to start off the New Year!  

Executive Director of WaterFire Providence Barnaby Evans said, “Like every other arts group we are struggling financially, but our mission is to use the arts to enliven the City of Providence.  We felt we had to keep the fires burning to make it a bright New Year’s Eve.  I am delighted our staff, volunteers, and donors have stepped forward to make a lighting on our 15th anniversary possible.  And we are tremendously pleased we could help Bright Night and its wonderful artists as well.”

Bright Night announces headliners
“We’re so thrilled to be working with WaterFire on their fifteenth anniversary celebration” said Adam Gertsacov, Festival Director of Bright Night Providence, “and of course immensely grateful for this donation.  This has been a tough year. It’s really making a big difference for us to ensure that this New Year’s Eve remains Bright.”
Bright Night Providence is Rhode Island’s Largest New Year’s Eve Celebration.  Begun in 2003 when First Night Providence announced it could not go forward, this artist-run festival creates a family-friendly and fun atmosphere to ring in the New Year, with a focus on showcasing local artists and performers.  

This year’s festival will feature over 150 performers in 15 venues throughout downtown Providence.  Highlights include IllusionQuest, a full-stage magic and illusion spectacular featuring master illusionist David Garrity, local legends Big Nazo Puppets, Grammy-winner Bill Harley, Jazz saxophonist Greg Abate, the RI Children’s Chorus, blues band Black and White and a host of other performers.

Tickets for Bright Night Providence are $10 if purchased before 12/24/09, $15 beginning December 25. Schedules, tickets, and more information are available online at or by calling 401-621-6123.

“Providence is fortunate to have two great arts organizations–Bright Night and WaterFire–that will join together on New Year’s Eve to light up the city,” said Mayor David N. Cicilline. “Grammy Award-winning musicians, illusionists, Big Nazo puppets and many more exciting entertainers will contribute to in the inimitable energy and joy shared by our community on Bright Night.”

Eyes Wide Open Masquerade celebrates WaterFire’s 15th Anniversary
Also on New Year’s Eve, WaterFire will host a Venetian Masquerade Gala, Eyes Wide Open, celebrating fifteen years of WaterFire.  This fundraising gala hosted by Barrett Bready and the WaterFire Board of Directors is going to be a sensational event in the historic Old Stone Bank Building on South Main Street. The evening will include a performance by Quixotic Fusion, a Kansas-City based ensemble of inventive, avant-garde musicians, dancers, aerialists and composers, some of whom will perform mid-air, while suspended from the Gold Dome.  The event will also feature world renowned tenor Nathan Granner, one of the Three American Tenors, who will present a range of wonderful offerings.  For more information please visit

PROJO COVERAGE: Bright Night Has been a Bright Spot on City Scene


Ed Fitzpatrick: Bright Night has been a bright spot on city scene

01:00 AM EST on Tuesday, December 8, 2009

If we’re looking for low-cost options for this year’s Bright Night Providence, I’ll bet the White House party crashers, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, would make an appearance. (Though they might be more likely to come if they’re not invited.)
I’m guessing Sarah Palin would come to “Rogue Island” for the state’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration if we give her a chance to peddle her new book, “Going Rogue.” (My favorite part is when she misattributes a quote from American Indian activist John Wooden Legs to former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden.)
And if we can work something out with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, perhaps disbarred Providence lawyer John M. Cicilline, the imprisoned brother of Mayor David N. Cicilline, could sit on a stool, play the ukulele and set off sparklers. (Sentenced to 18 months after pleading guilty to conspiring to shake down drug-dealer clients, he is scheduled to be released to a halfway house on Dec. 29, so maybe his performance could count as community service.)
Of course, I’m joking. (Everyone knows Cicilline can’t play the ukulele.)
I’m actually a big fan of Bright Night. We brought our kids downtown last year despite frigid temperatures, 8 inches of snow and 25-mph winds, and since so many people stayed home, we had great seats at the Providence College/St. John’s basketball game. We wandered over to the Convention Center to see the Nerveless Nocks Daredevil Thrill Show. And later, we saw a performer that we referred to as the “existential clown.” (She had a trombone and talked about the apocalypse.)
So I was sorry to hear that Bright Night Providence is slashing expenses and making an emergency appeal for donations. The city usually provides Bright Night with $20,000, but amid this year’s fiscal crisis, the city has committed to providing just $5,000 in city services and no cash. The festival has applied for a grant from the Providence Tourism Council, which in the past has provided $25,000 for a fireworks display. But since the festival won’t have fireworks this year, it’s unclear if it can get the grant.
I understand why the city is cutting its contribution. The state unemployment rate stands at 12.9 percent (the third-highest rate in the country). And this year the city raised property taxes even as it slashed millions of dollars from the city budget, froze wages and axed jobs.
You’d have to be an existential clown to spend $20,000 in taxpayer money on New Year’s Eve fun. Still, Bright Night does provide a civic beacon, a magnet that draws thousands of families together to see musicians, magicians, actors, dancers, singers, acrobats, clowns, puppeteers and storytellers.
So I hope businesses and everyday residents heed the call of festival director Adam G. Gertsacov, who hopes 2,010 people will donate $20 and pass on the appeal to 10 other people. (Go to
Gertsacov noted that local artists launched Bright Night Providence seven years ago after First Night Providence faltered. He said the event boosts the local economy, bringing up to 20,000 people downtown, and 90 percent of the performers come from the Rhode Island area. Most importantly, the event offers a chance to “come out and celebrate the New Year in a family-friendly way and celebrate Rhode Island’s most important cultural asset, which is its artists,” he said.
“We make people happy,” Gertsacov said. “And we don’t want the city to go dark on New Year’s Eve.”


With funding cut, Bright Night looks for donations

1:08 PM Thu, Dec 03, 2009 | Permalink
Philip Marcelo 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Bright Night Providence, an arts-oriented festival that is billed as the state’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration, is cutting expenses and making emergency appeals for major donations after losing city funding, according to Festival Director Adam G. Gertsacov.
The city normally covers about one-third of the festival’s $120,000 to $125,000 budget, said Gertsacov. But city Director of Art, Culture and Tourism Lynne McCormack has told Gertsacov that the city will be unable to come up with its $20,000 allocation for the festival.
The Providence Tourism Council, a city board that is financed by proceeds from the hotel tax, normally contributes an additional $25,000, but the festival’s request for funding has not yet been approved, said Gertsacov.
“The mayor has been one of strongest supporters to date,” Gertsacov said Thursday. “But this year the state budget crisis has affected the city, and it is unable to provide the support it has given us in previous years. This has put the festival in peril.”
Gertsacov says the festival is still moving forward, but “cutting costs like crazy.”
It has launched a grass roots campaign to get 2,010 people to give $20 and pass on the appeal to ten other people. Gertsacov says that artists have agreed to take a pay cut in order to assure that the festival has the same number of performers as in year’s past. He says he is also making “emergency proposals to corporate donors.”
Started in 2003 by a group of local artists and performers, Bright Night Providence was the successor to the city’s long-running First Night Providence event.
Last year, it featured 150 performers at 22 downtown venues from noon to midnight, including poetry, magic, music, skating, storytelling and dancing.


Channel 10 covered our money woes.

But they didn’t mention our website–or how people can donate.

GIVE $20, TELL 10


Severe Economic Times Threaten Festival:
Bright Night Seeks Community Support
 To Keep the Lights Bright on New Year’s Eve
12/3/09 (Providence RI)
For almost half a dozen years, a group of local performers have been lighting up the Creative Capitol’s New Year’s Eve with song, dance, magic, story and excitement.

This year, though, the festival, which has drawn as many as 20,000 people to downtown Providence, has had its brush with the dark side of the economy.

“Mayor Cicilline and the city of Providence have been one of strongest supporters to date,” said Festival Director Adam G. Gertsacov. “But this year the state budget crisis has effected them, and therefore us, and the city is unable to provide the support they have given us in previous years. This has put the festival in peril.”

“The City recognizes the intrinsic value that Bright Night provides to our community. Over the past six years we have invested over 100 thousand dollars and provided extensive technical support. Bright Night provides our city’s artists with important work opportunities and our city’s residents access to arts experiences. We are committed to continuing to work with the organization but the success of Bright Night requires a committment from the entire community especially during these economic times,” said Lynne McCormack, Director of Art, Culture + Tourism.

Rather than cancel the festivities, the artists and performers of Bright Night are making the risky decision to go forward anyway. And they’re not raising the ticket prices either. Tickets will be available for $10 and $15, depending on when you buy them, just as they were last year.

“We are committed to making this an affordable festival”, says Gertsacov.

So how are they going to make up the short fall?

“We’re starting a grass roots 20/10 campaign to get 2010 people to give $20 and then tell 10 people. We’re making emergency proposals to corporate donors. And we’re cutting costs like crazy (even though we’ve already been operating on a shoestring.) And nearly every artist I’ve talked to has agreed to take a paycut in order to make sure the festival happens.”

Gertsacov adds ” It is a risky proposition, but life is about risk. And after speaking with a number of the performers, it seemed clear that this option is preferable to just letting the city go dark on New Year’s Eve”.

It’s the performers of Bright Night. who are taking the real risk, says Gertsacov. “Our contract has a disaster/bonus clause that states that if there’s a financial disaster, that the artist fee may be cut in order that everybody gets paid something.” adds Gertsacov. “Over the last six years, we’ve paid out over $35,000 in artist bonuses, and never had to invoke the disaster clause, even after last year’s snow storm. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to make it through this year too.”

“This is one of my favorite events to perform at,” said Providence author and storyteller Mark Binder, who has performed at Bright Night for the last six years. “I bring my family and get to share my work with people who are always appreciative. Maybe I won’t get paid for my work this year, but I look at it as a contribution to my community.”

To find out more about Bright Night Providence, please visit their website at

To donate to Bright Night Providence, please visit

To purchase tickets ($10 if purchased before December 24, $15 afterwards, visit or call Art-Tix 401-621-6123.


Family of Musicians Plays a New Tune.


(May 29, 2009) PROVIDENCE, RI– Fishing With Finnegan, a local family musical act from Mapleville, RI, are learning how to play a whole new tune and it’s not “We’re In the Money.” The group, which plays original and traditional Irish music and is comprised of four siblings with the last name Ryan, have agreed to donate one third of all of their June CD sales to Bright Night Providence, Rhode Island’s non-profit artist-run New Year’s Eve celebration.

“We were raised that it’s important to give back to the community, and so that’s what we’re doing. This is clearly a great cause and, as Mom and Dad always remind us…charity begins at home,” says Mike Ryan, the eldest of the siblings. “We think that Bright Night is such a great event and we’re glad to help in whatever way we can.”

“It’s about keeping things local”, says Mary Ryan, coordinator of the group and life-long Rhode Islander. “Rhode Island is such a great place to be. We have a duty to make it the best we can. By supporting organizations like Bright Night Providence, we are building Rhode Island’s economy, supporting local artists, families and businesses and helping us to be a better state.”

“Their generosity is a lot of what Bright Night is all about, “ says Adam Gertsacov, festival director for Bright Night. “Every little bit helps. We’re now entering our seventh year, and it’s thanks to the generosity and community spirit of artists like the Ryan’s that we’ve managed to keep on coming back.”

Bright Night Providence started in 2003 when First Night Providence announced it couldn’t go forward. A group of RI artists, with Gertsacov at the fore, have been producing the festival since then. The festival focuses on local artists- over 90% of the 150 performers that performed last year were from Rhode Island.

Fishing With Finnegan have been playing their family brand of Celtic, Irish, Scottish, English and American music since 2006. They are the recent nominees for the Best Celtic Act of the Year and Best New Act of the Year by Motif Magazine’s 2009 Awards contest, and they were awarded Best New Americana Act for 2009.

Their self-titled CD Fishing With Finnegan features 12 tracks of traditional and original Gaelic music and is available via the mail, and at all of their performances. Sample tracks are available on their website (listed below)

To purchase a CD and help Bright Night Providence send a check or money order for $15.00 U.S. (plus $1.90 for domestic shipping, or $4.00 international) to:

Fishing With Finnegan
P.O. Box 346
Mapleville, RI 02839

$5 of your sale will be donated to Bright Night at the end of the month.

To find out more about Bright Night Providence, visit their website

Sample Tracks from the Album Fishing With Finnegan
Haul Away, Joe (live)
Em Set (live)
General Taylor (live)
Wild Rover (live)
Flower of Maherally

Volunteer for Bright Night!


Bright Night Providence, Rhode Island’s largest New Year’s Eve Celebration is seeking over 100 volunteers to help make this year’s New Year’s Eve Celebration safe and fun for everyone.

Come and be part of the magic.

On New Year’s Eve, volunteers will work 3-4 hour shifts, giving information to patrons, checking wristbands, putting up posters, and doing other work to make sure that the festival runs smoothly. We also have limited opportunities for volunteering in the weeks before New Year’s Eve and in the weeks after the festival.

All volunteers will get a free wristband to enjoy the rest of the festival.

For more information please visit our website or email us at

We are also seeking donations and sponsorships. In these tough economic times, even a small donation can make a big difference. To donate, visit

Bright Night Featured in ProJo today

We’ve got the cover of the Lifebeat section, as well as a lion’s share of the article inside! Good stuff!
Read the article online

Lighting up the Nights

01:00 AM EST on Thursday, December 27, 2007

By Channing Gray

Journal Arts Writer

The featured Bright Night act is Carmine Appice’s SLAMM! From left are Appice, Zoilo “Zman”, “Mad” Matty Alger and Mark “Voodoo” Joseph. Along with Veronica Bellino, not pictured, they create a high-energy show that has been called “Stomp on Steroids.” SLAMM! performs at PPAC at 6, 8 and 10 p.m.

There will be fireworks over Providence Monday night as Bright Night once again ushers in the New Year in the capital city.

This year’s celebration will be “bigger and bolder than ever,” said producer Adam Gertsacov, a Providence entertainer. Look for clowns, jugglers, storytellers, magic acts and two fireworks displays over the State House, at 5:35 p.m. and midnight. In all, more than 200 performers will be working their magic at venues across the city.

The highlight of the festival, which runs from noon to midnight and beyond, is a high-energy band of drummers put together by Carmine Appice, former drummer for Rod Stewart.

The five musicians, known collectively as Slamm, will be banging on everything from garbage cans to Dixie cups, said Gertsacov.

“It’s like Stomp on steroids,” he said.

Slamm will perform three times at the Providence Performing Arts Center, at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. A Bright Night wristband — $10 in advance, $15 the day of the event — guarantees admission to one of the shows. Space permitting, you can catch a second performance.


Bright Night Providence Works Its Magic

KILL DATE 12/31/06
PRESS CONTACT: Marc Gilday for Gilday Magic 1-877 4-GILDAY
Adam Gertsacov for Bright Night Providence



PROVIDENCE (12/21/06) New Year’s Eve is a most magical time of year. For
Marc Gilday, this year’s New Year’s Eve will be especially magical. That’s
because Gilday, a Rhode Island resident and magician who was seen this past
summer on NBC¹s hit show “America’s Got Talent” will be premiering his latest
touring show on New Year’s Eve as part of Bright Night Providence.

Gilday The show which has an ensemble of 20, will feature an entertaining mix of
vaudeville, musical theatre, virtuoso sleight of hand, and grand illusions.
“This show will be my best work yet,” says Gilday, “I’m delighted that the
audiences of Bright Night Providence will get a chance to see what may be
the largest touring magic show in 25 years.”

Gilday is no stranger to large shows. At age sixteen, he toured for three
years with the world premier edition of Walt Disney’s World on Ice,
performing in nearly every major city in the United States. At age nineteen,
he levitated a brand new Porsche and made it disappear in thin air,
mystifying some of the leading magicians of the day. Since that time, he has
continued to hone his craft and skill as a master magician, performing
throughout the country.

Gilday and his troupe will perform two shows on New Year’s Eve at 6 and 9 pm
at the VMA Cultural Arts Center in downtown Providence. The show will then
go on tour in 2007, visiting many major American cities. “We’ve spared no
expense to make this show the best one possible,” says Gilday. “You won’t
believe your eyes!”


WHAT: Gilday Magic Show, “The Largest Touring Magic Show in 25 Years.”
WHEN: Sunday, 12/31/06 at 6 pm and 9 pm
WHERE: VMA Arts & Cultural Center, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence, RI
COST: $10 if purchased in advance, $15 day of event.
Ticket (a wristband) also allows you access to over 50 performances of
Bright Night Providence. Tickets will be available at the door of the VMA,
online at, via telephone (401-621-6123) and at
locations throughout the city. For complete information, including schedule
of other events, please visit or call the box
office 401-621-6123.

Bright Night Providence:
401-621-6123 (box office)

Gilday Magic:
1-877 4-GILDAY