Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2024 Lineup Unveiled Featuring Exciting New Attractions and Traditional Favorites

Pittsburgh's New Year's Eve Celebration in the Cultural District | Sunday, December 31, 2023 | 6 pm - midnight.

By: Nov. 29, 2023

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2024 Lineup Unveiled Featuring Exciting New Attractions and Traditional Favorites When the Future of Pittsburgh Ball rises to its pinnacle position atop Penn Avenue Place in downtown Pittsburgh at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, Dec. 31 – signaling, as it has for decades, that Pittsburgh is a city on the rise – fireworks will illuminate the skies and tens of thousands will revel in the streets.


Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2024, an annual production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, sponsored by PRIME, is a six-hour, arts-focused, family-friendly celebration that's free and open to everyone. Blending new attractions with favorite traditions, this year's 30th annual event will showcase acclaimed performing and visual artists from around the region and beyond. Downtown Pittsburgh's 14-block Cultural District will set the stage for live music, dance, theater, visual arts, magic, kids' activities, a community parade, and more—sandwiched between fireworks displays at 6 p.m. and midnight.


“Artists lead the way at Highmark First Night Pittsburgh,” said Sarah Aziz, Director of Programming and Manager of DEAI Initiatives for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Their work helps us reflect on the past year and consider the possibilities in the year ahead. Exploring art in the Cultural District has proven to be an incredible New Year's Eve tradition in our region.”


“We are proud of the long-standing partnership between Highmark Health and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and we are honored to continue sponsoring events like First Night Pittsburgh,” said Highmark Health President and CEO David Holmberg. “Our support of this joyous, cultural celebration of the start of 2024 demonstrates our ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility and helping our communities remain vibrant and healthy.”


There will be plenty of new sights and sounds to discover on New Year's Eve for repeat and first-time visitors alike including featured music, public art, and renovated host venues.


This year's headlining performer on the Highmark Stage, at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Stanwix Street, is the New Orleans-based Pittsburgh native Lyndsey Smith, known as “The Goddaughter of Soul.” Influenced by Etta James, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Houston, Smith's performance starts at 10:45 p.m. Pittsburgh's reggae-rockers The Flow Band and the Zuzu African Acrobats will warm up the stage earlier in the evening.


There's also a new public art premiere – The Firetree Project presented by Dollar Bank – a 24-foot-tall steel sculpture that looks like it was lifted from a fairytale. The artwork intends to “ignite a global vision,” encouraging people to connect and build a strong future for the planet. “Firetree infuses the excitement of fire into a playful, thought-provoking sculpture that challenges our global community to achieve the extraordinary,” notes artist Duncan MacDiarmid. Guests can interact with the work by touching it, activating bells within the sculpture, and appreciating its impressive scale, remarkable detail, global symbolism, and hand-worked polished copper.


While visiting the sculpture in the Backyard at 8th & Penn, which is sponsored by Giant Eagle Foundation, guests can enjoy entertainment from School of Rock, finalists of the annual SING-OFF Competition, and more. It's also a place to warm up and refuel with outdoor heaters and a sampling of some of Pittsburgh's top food trucks.


This year's festivities will showcase the Cultural District's latest venue renovation at the Greer Cabaret Theater and Lounge. The Lounge at the Greer Cabaret, now a full-service restaurant with upscale bistro fare and craft cocktails, will host an intimate performance from jazz standout Dwayne Dolphin. All are welcome, with or without the purchase of food and drink. Tarot Card readers will also be on-site in the Theater to give guests a look ahead into 2024.


The annual arts-focused New Year's Eve Parade presented by Giant Eagle is packed with performance groups and artistic surprises. This year's edition features signature giant puppets from Studio Capezzuti. Catch a glimpse of the parade along Penn Avenue between the David L. Lawrence Convention Center and 6th Street, between 8-8:30 pm, before joining elected officials and special guests for the Ribbon Cutting for the Clemente Bridge & Three Sisters Bridges Celebration from 8:45-9 pm at Fort. Duquesne Blvd. and 6th Street. The celebration will mark the reopening of the Clemente Bridge and the official launch of a new lighting project on the three popular downtown bridges.


Fifth Avenue Place, a long-time staple venue of Highmark First Night Pittsburgh and home to Highmark Health, also returns this year, featuring caricaturists and family-friendly entertainment from Giggles the Clown, O'Ryan the O'Mazing, and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's Arts Education department.


In addition to the indoor fun hosted at Fifth Avenue Place, the event's title sponsor brings the hands-on, family-friendly activities outdoors, too, with the Highmark Holiday Block Party & AHN Family Zone located at the intersection of Penn Avenue and 7th Street across from the Benedum Center. Guests can expect events from Citiparks, Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and more regional civic organizations, in addition to engaging activities from Highmark and AHN.


The Trust Arts Education Center in the James E. Rohr Building at 805-807 Liberty Avenue will host Japanese Sword Dancing by Tadashi Kato, the mesmerizing and popular ZuZu African Acrobats, and Pittsburgh's own Alumni Theatre Company. Street magic will keep mouths agape in disbelief outside of Liberty Magic, just down the block. The neighboring Harris Theater will host classic shorts featuring Popeye and Betty Boop for some lighthearted fun.


The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's visual arts offerings will also be on display— outdoor public art and indoor gallery exhibitions. Galleries will be open with extended hours, inviting guests to see Jenson Leonard: Workflow at Wood Street Galleries, Zach Brown: Death of a Lunar Cult at 707 Penn Gallery, and Anisha Baid: MS User at 820 Liberty Gallery. In addition to the long-term public artworks well-known in the Cultural District, two temporary works will be displayed. The National Museum, founded and organized by Jon Rubin, will appear at 604 Wood Street, while work by artist Rachel Klipa will be on display in Tito Way.


The winner of the annual PRIME SING-OFF Competition will perform on the Highmark Stage. Students in grades 6-12 can still submit audition videos through Sunday, December 3 at midnight to be considered by a panel of judges and special guest judge INEZ—last year's Highmark Stage headliner. Following in the footsteps of Gabby Barrett, Trinity Wiseman, Dejah Monea, and others, the winner earns a $500 cash prize and a $1,000 school music department donation.


As is tradition in Pittsburgh, the evening culminates with The Countdown to Midnight & Future of Pittsburgh Grand Finale on the Highmark Stage. Above the stage, the Future of Pittsburgh Ball will rise nearly 75 feet to its pinnacle position as fireworks fill the sky and the band and audience join in harmony for a rendition of Auld Lang Syne.


While all events are free and open to everyone, special First Night Friends VIP Experiences are available to elevate the evening. First Night Friends can enjoy exclusive access to the First Night Friends Lounge sponsored by Citizens, located inside the O'Reilly Theater lobby. Friends can enjoy complimentary food, beverages, entertainment, and the convenient indoor street-level destination with packages starting at $50 for adults. Learn more at TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH.


In addition to Highmark, generous support for Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2024 comes from Allegheny Health Network, Citizens, Dollar Bank, Giant Eagle, PNC, PPG, PRIME, Fine Foundation, The Grable Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, and KDKA-TV with operational support from Flyspace Productions.


Explore the full lineup of events at TrustArts.org/FirstNightPGH.


About the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh's most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District. The District is one of the country's largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization. A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity. Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that revitalizes the city, improves the regional economy, and enhances Pittsburgh's quality of life. Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies, and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts. TrustArts.org

Highmark First Night Pittsburgh 2024 Lineup Unveiled Featuring Exciting New Attractions and Traditional Favorites