Thank you Springfield for 25 wonderful years of First Night!



For Immediate Release
August 28, 2015

Media Contact:

Leslie Forrester, Executive Director
Springfield Regional Arts Council
Phone: 417.862.2787

Arts Council Discontinues First Night Springfield

The Springfield Regional Arts Council will not produce First Night Springfield this year, after 25 years of coordinating the annual non-alcoholic, family friendly New Year’s Eve celebration.

While many cities have already discontinued similar First Night activities in recent years, Springfield continued its tradition. During the last several years, however, attendance steadily decreased, programming costs increased, and recruiting venues, performers and volunteers became more difficult. In the meantime, other organizations, such as churches, also began to offer similar non-alcoholic family friendly activities on New Year’s Eve.

First Night was initially established to help jump-start the arts scene in downtown Springfield. In the last 25 years, countless arts groups and venues have established and begun to thrive in Center City. While the work of promoting the arts is not finished, First Night has played its role in making the community vibrant.

The announcement of this programming change was made early in case another organization wishes to host a similar event for the community.The SRAC Board of Directors wishes to thank the Downtown Springfield Association, which managed the event for nearly 25 years. 

“The SRAC is thankful for the generous support from sponsors, volunteers, and venues. Twenty-five years of celebrating the arts and ringing in the New Year would not have been possible without each partner. Even though First Night has come to a close, our dedication to supporting the Springfield community continues to be the focus,” says Kristy Chastain, President of the SRAC’s Board of Directors.

As a result, the SRAC wants to hear creative ideas from the community for future events. “We want to identify the gaps in programming, so that we can redirect our resources to truly serve the community. This is a brainstorming opportunity, so don’t be afraid to share,” says Leslie Forrester, Executive Director. The online survey can be found here (

For more information, contact Leslie Forrester, Executive Director, by phone at 417-862-2787(ARTS) or by e-mail at You may also log on to



Springfield Regional Arts Council