Salt Lake City's premiere New Year's Eve shindig, EVE Winter Fest stretches across downtown making for a party of epic proportions. Celebrating music, art, culture, and more, there are three-days of merriment. Grown-ups can party down and kids and families can freak out. Now in its sixth year, EVE offers something for everyone and has become an institution.
Last year, I was the official EVE SLC photographer. Here is a selection of my favorite images, which show the breadth of the event and, hopefully, capture a bit of the fun to be had.
There are many big blowout events and festivals in downtown Salt Lake City throughout the year, but none compare to EVE in its ability to grant access to all that the city has to offer.
In a given hour, you can, let's say, see Samba Fogo dance with fire (pictured above), watch a silent film, shake your hips to the area's best DJ, get your face painted, and sip on some hot chocolate by a fire outside under the glowing city streetscape. If you're ambitions, you could probably see even more. It's pretty splendid.
A room filled with glow-in-the-dark hula hoops allow guests to get a little weird and, in a sense, become the show. Whether you are hooping yourself or you are watching from the sidelines, it's worth a stop in the hoop room during your three days.
EVE plays host to some of the most talented local and national bands and DJs each year. Admission to EVE includes access to dozens of entertaining acts, which makes it a killer deal across the board.
There's an indoor stage where you can warm up as you tap your toes, or you can shake it at the outdoor stage on the south side of the Salt Palace as you take in some killer views of downtown.
Some of my favorite times at EVE last year were the performances by Samba Fogo. The local Brazilian drum line, dance troop, fire wielders, and good-time makers really crank it up during their live performances. And when New Year's EVE is on the line, they go super big.
At the end one of the performances, the drummers and dancers took the show off the stage and into the massive crowd and incited a big ol' holiday dance party.
Events are held throughout downtown at far-reaching spots like The Gateway, Gallivan Center, UMOCA, and the Off-Broadway Theatre. It's an excellent time to expose yourself to local entertainment troupes as well as particular forms of art that you might not otherwise go out to see.
At the Off-Broadway Theatre (pictured above) crowds amass to take in the improv comedy troupe, Laughing Stock. The gaggle of giggle-makers set up shop at the theater and get straight-up silly.
What to do with more than 2,000 inflatable beach balls? Maybe throw them all in the Salt palace ballroom and add in some strobe lights and dance music. Yeah, that'll do. The BallRoom has become an annual staple of EVE for both kids and big kids. There's also a junior room, which is a bit safer for the wee lil' ones.
Yet another place to get yer crazies out, BounceTown offers more than two-dozen inflatable features to, well, bounce on. There are castles, inflatable jousting sticks, fat cushioned boxing gloves, and slides to choose from.
So much to do, so much to see. I doubt you'll feel overwhelmed, but there are tons of surprising forms of art during EVE. Pictured here are cultural and heritage dance and music arts performed on the big stage and in the lobby of the Salt Palace.
The Salt Lake Comic Con launched in 2013 and soon became one of the most attended conventions of its kind in the country, with a record 120,000 attendees last year. Stan Lee declared that Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 was "the greatest comic con in the world!"
The FanXperience was launched in 2014 to give the West yet another excuse to cosplay. Before the big event, they held a cosplay costume contest at EVE. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the festival to photograph.
Last year's celebration was purportedly the final one with a fireworks display downtown, because the event is committed to cleaning Salt Lake City's oft-polluted winter air. Kudos, to EVE for the worthy decision. Instead, the event will feature the world's largest disco ball and light show. Party!
Get more information and the full calendar for EVE Winter Fest.
Photographer's note: I was the official photographer of the event last year. These images are some of my favorite from the three-day event. View the full EVE gallery.
Photographer and award-winning journalist Austen Diamond specializes in creative portraiture, commercial photography and editorial photojournalism. For booking inquiries and to view his portfolio, go to www.AustenDiamond.com.