Fremont Street Experience Shares New Year’s Eve Line-Up

You never know what surprises are in store at Fremont Street Experience for New Year’s Eve. Sometimes, the downtown casino and entertainment district opts for cover bands and sometimes big name bands.

This year, the line-up is somewhere in the middle. The NYE festivities will feature Third Eye Blind, Big Gigantic, Blackstreet and others.

The event has been dubbed the “Time of Your Life Festival,” despite not being a festival, per se. It’s a branding thing, so just go with it.

We went on the roof of a 100-year-old gift shop via cherry picker for this photo, so you’d better appreciate it.

When we worked at Fremont Street Experience, there was an ongoing debate about which entertainment strategy worked best. Ultimately, we realized the bands don’t matter all that much, about the same number of tickets sell each year.

Still, programming acts on New Year’s Eve gives visitors something different to look forward to, and the line-up is definitely an improvement over the cover band experience (which is free every night at Fremont Street Experience).

Tickets for New Year’s Eve at Fremont Street Experience are $50. Sort of. The actual price is $60. It’s $50 base price, plus the Live Entertainment Tax ($4.95, required by law) and “processing fee” ($5.05, also referred to as the “gratuitous fee that serves no actual purpose but people tend to pay it because it’s New Year’s Eve”).

Attention Molly fans: Fremont Street has a new police substation. Just saying.

While not free, $50 is nothing compared to NYE events on the Las Vegas Strip.

FSE is unique in that its goal isn’t really to make money on NYE, but to break even. The real goal is to get bodies downtown—people who will presumably eat and drink and gamble at the casinos who are members of the Fremont Street Experience, a collective marketing organization for casinos in and around Fremont Street.

The casino members of Fremont Street Experience are: Binion’s, Four Queens, The D, Fremont, Golden Gate and Golden Nugget.

In a drama-filled twist, the billion-dollar Circa (same owners as Golden Gate and The D) isn’t an official member of the Fremont Street Experience, and neither are The California or Main Street Station (owned by Boyd Gaming, owners of the Fremont casino). They’re sort of unofficial members due to the ownership connections. It used to matter more when the member casino paid “dues” to keep Fremont Street Experience operating. Now, the SlotZilla zipline pays for everything. Long story.

Not in the Fremont Street Experience, but enjoying the benefits of FSE’s events and marketing: Plaza, Downtown Grand and El Cortez.

We could spend the afternoon talking about all the personalities and kerfuffles around FSE, but we’re here to talk about NYE, despite it feeling like it’s way too soon to be doing so.

Fremont Street Experience typically has three stages for live music, but there’s an additional one on NYE for DJs.

The dancing DJs are more dancers than DJs, but that’s cool.

Here’s the NYE line-up at Fremont Street Experience:

3rd Street Stage
(between Four Queens and The D)

Beach Weather (9:15 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.)

Third Eye Blind (11:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.)

Main Street Stage
(between Circa and Golden Gate)

Eric Forbes (7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

Craze (9:15 p.m. – 11:15 p.m.)

Big Gigantic (11:30 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.)

1st Street Stage
(between Binion’s and Circa)

Young MC (8:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.)

Tone Loc (9:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.)

Kid ‘n Play (10:15 p.m. – 11:15 p.m.)

Blackstreet (11:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.)

Casino Center Stage
(between Binion’s and Golden Nugget)

Dancing DJs (6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.)

Silent Disco featuring three dueling DJs (9:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.)

Beyond the bands, FSE is changing things up with a “Silent Disco” on its Casino Center Stage. This is how it’s described by FSE: “For the first time, Fremont Street Experience will incorporate a Silent Disco entertainment experience in partnership with Sound Off Vegas at Casino Center Stage. Silent Disco features three dueling DJs competing for the crowd’s adoration as people dance to music played exclusively through wireless headphones. The LED headphones will change colors—red, green or blue—as revelers choose between three different live DJ music channels and performances.”

In layperson’s terms, we have no clue what the appeal of this would be in the middle of a giant street party, but we tend to be a fan of anything silent, so we’ll give it a try. How the headphones will work with our earplugs, no idea.

It’s worth noting there’s an entire stage devoted to African-American acts, which we’re pretty sure is unprecedented in the history of Fremont Street Experience.

If anyone were paying attention, this is really the story.

While there aren’t any huge names in the line-up, the cost savings means there’s more variety and non-stop action throughout the NYE party.

While downtown may not be everyone’s cup of tea on New Year’s Eve, it’s our go-to if we’re up for a rowdy event with lots of warm casinos in walking distance to escape the din and cold weather.

Fremont Street Experience becomes a “private event” on New Year’s Eve, which means it’s a controlled environment, including a security perimeter which provides comfort to many revelers.

The private event permit also eliminates the annoying buskers who typically line the street. No pickle tub drummers, palm frond weavers or “showgirls” aggressively harassing drunk guys for tips makes NYE on Fremont Street very special.

Another great aspect of Fremont Street on New Year’s Eve? No children. No strollers! Access is limited to those age 21 or older.

While FSE’s fireworks are virtual (appearing on the venue’s massive digital screen), Plaza does real fireworks, so there’s something for everyone at midnight.

While FSE’s announcement seems premature (like playing Christmas music in September), it’s a great reminder to firm up those room and restaurant reservations. If you have a casino host, they might be able to hook you up with an FSE wristband. Some downtown hotels include them in room packages.

You can find out more about NYE at FSE or purchase tickets on the official Web site. Which we helped build back in the day. If you like it, that was all us. If you don’t, it was our boss. See how that works? You’ll want to check out the FAQ for details about security, etc. No, we do not know why people insist upon calling them “FAQs,” as “Q” stands for “questions.” We also don’t know why insult is added to injury by using “FAQ’s.” Conclusion: We have way too much free time.

We’ll probably see you there! We won’t remember having seen you, but if you remember things, you probably aren’t doing New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas right.