It’s been nine years since a group of local artists led by Cranston native Adam Gertsacov took over Providence’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration when the organization that had been running the show folded under financial pressure. In that time, Bright Night Providence has weathered the recession and the loss of much of its public funding with a smaller, more intimate program of arts-focused entertainment. Now Gertsacov, who was the valedictorian of a Bryant College entrepreneurship program in the 1990s, is looking toward the future of Bright Night and how he can make the event self-sustaining.
PBN: How did this year’s Bright Night go?
GERTSACOV: I can already see that we did better than last year. We had better weather. I certainly don’t want to complain, but it had been advertised as even warmer. The joy of what you have is lost by wanting more. It was 45 [degrees] and beautiful. Nobody came with shorts, but it was definitely warmer than in past years.
PBN: What was different about this year’s event?
GERTSACOV: One of our big things was an afternoon event at the Convention Center: the Bright Night family fun fair. All of the things that were in it – face painting and performances and art exhibits – we have had them in one form or another, but this was a place where kids could go and was centrally located. It was something that people had been asking for.
The other thing that you had this year was a contest called Bright Night’s got talent. Four people won gigs, their first professional gigs. They performed at Bright Night family fun fair and that went really well.
PBN: Has the event become more or less child focused over the years?
GERTSACOV: We really try to balance it the best we can. Part of the mission for New Year’s is to create a family-friendly place, but we also have a fair amount of stuff for adults. We have sword swallowers and punk-rock bands and late-night dance concerts. We usually have a blues bash and comedy festival. This year we had renaissance music. Usually as the night gets later, it gets more adult.