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Times Square Ball Drop
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Anthony Quintano

11 amazing online New Year’s Eve events to help you see off this godawful year

Looking for virtual NYE ideas? Stay home and ring in 2021 at one of these huge online club nights and parties

Huw Oliver
Written by
Huw Oliver
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Party poppers at the ready: 2020 is nearly over! Obviously, the world isn’t going to change overnight, but whatever, we’ve made it through probably the weirdest year of our lives – and that means we do actually have something to celebrate come December 31.

Club nights, house parties and huge public celebrations are all pretty much out of the question this New Year’s Eve, but many of the usual suspects are bringing the festivities online. That means you could go to an EDM festival, a charity rave, attend a huge ‘street party’ or even see the godfather of electronic music play live from a cathedral – all from the comfort of your home.

Here are some of the best online New Year’s Eve events to see off the shitshow that was 2020 – and ring in a hopefully much less chaotic 2021.

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Best online NYE events around the world

Patti Smith on Europe’s largest screen
Photograph: CIRCA

Patti Smith on Europe’s largest screen

Patti Smith and her band will welcome in 2021 with a 10-minute performance on the iconic screen – Europe’s largest — in London’s Piccadilly Circus. The event, which aims to be a moving tribute to heathcare workers who passed away in 2020, will be streamed around the world for free on the CIRCA YouTube channel. Tune in beforehand to watch a film by artist Anne Imhof. Piccadilly Circus will be ‘washed in the glow of a setting sun, whilst the video counts down to midnight and the arrival of a new year.’ Sounds like a pretty dreamy way to see out a trying 12 months. 

From 11.30pm GMT (6.30pm EDT, 7.30am AEDT)

This ‘rave from home’ will star DJ Yoda, Mr Scruff, Beardyman and many more, playing from venues around the world – including London’s Royal Albert HallThe event is called ‘Rave to the Moon’ because the organisers figured out every dancing adult will make 6,000 steps over the course of an hour on an average night out. So if 16,000 ravers tune in during the stream, altogether they should make some 577 million steps – roughly how far away the moon is. The event is free to watch on Mixcloud Live, but attendees are encouraged to donate a fee charity of their choice, or set up a JustGiving fundraiser for others to donate to.

8pm-1am GMT (3pm-8pm EDT, 7am-12pm AEDT)

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Back in April, Korean boyband BTS had to call off their world tour – and haven’t played live since. This New Year’s Eve they’re back. The band’s management company, Big Hit, are putting on a huge show just outside Seoul headlined by BTS and featuring other K-pop artists like NU’EST, GFriend and ENHYPEN. Incredibly, there’ll be an IRL, socially distanced crowd, and fans around the world will also be able to tune in via Weverse. Halsey, Lauv and Steve Aoki will also be performing. Tickets cost 39,500 KRW (£27, $36, A$48). 

9.30pm KST (12.30pm GMT, 7.30am EDT, 11.30pm AEDT)

Synth overlord Jean-Michel Jarre plays a spectacular set inside France’s most famous place of worship – well, kinda. He’ll actually be performing live from a studio nearby, while his avatar will appear in a virtual Notre-Dame. Same thing. Either way, it’s bound to be a pretty full-on show – expect strobes and lasers aplenty. The event will be streamed for free on ‘social VR platform’ VRChat, accessible either from your computer or in virtual reality for those with VR headsets.

11.25pm-12.10am CET (10.25pm-11.10pm GMT, 5.25pm-6.10pm ET, 9.25am-10.10am AEDT)

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Belgian mega-festival Tomorrowland is hosting an online bash this New Year’s Eve, featuring performances by 25 or so high-profile EDM, house and trap DJs across four digital ‘stages’ on its website. David Guetta, Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Armin van Buuren and DJ Snoopadelic (Snoop Dogg’s new electronic project) are among the biggest names. Tickets cost €20 (£18, $24, A$24) each.

8pm-3am in all time zones

There won’t be an in-person party this year, but L.A.’s Grand Park is still hosting a free online celebration. Steve Aoki headlines an evening of performances, both from the park and recorded off-site, that features artists from his local Latin music label, Dim Mak En Fuego, including AQUIHAYAQUIHAY, Andrekza and BIA, plus in-between-sets mixes from 2DEEP. You can find free streams on the Fuse and Grand Park YouTube pages, as well as on the park’s Facebook account.

11pm PST (7am GMT, 2am EDT, 6pm AEDT)

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New York’s major NYE event, the Times Square Ball Drop will feel quite different this year. For one thing, none of us can be there IRL. That’s quite a big difference. But if you do want to head on over and soak the slightly apocalyptic deserted Big Apple vibes, you can live-stream a series of live performances from the square for free from early evening. Jonathan Bennett will host the celebration, starting with the lighting and raising of the hallowed ball. At midnight, headliner Gloria Gaynor will play ‘I Will Survive’ alongside a crowd of essential workers and their families.

From 6pm EDT (11pm GMT, 10pm AEDT)

Scotland’s biggest NYE celebration is going entirely virtual this year, with a diverse line-up of speakers and performers from across the arts taking part in a series of shows between December 28 and 31. Highlights announced so far include ex-Doctor Who David Tennant, Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay,  Celtic fusion band Niteworks and the UK’s largest ever drone show, which will take viewers on a tour of Scotland, with many more still to come.

Times TBC

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Dua Lipa live on YouTube

YouTube is hosting its own ‘hello 2021’ show with different star-studded line-ups across the UK, Americas, Korea, Japan and India. Dua Lipa will play the UK, India and Americas streams. Viewers in the Americas will also be able to enjoy performances from J Balvin, YG and Kane Brown, plus ‘contributions’ from RuPaul and Matthew McConaughey. British viewers can watch performances from Aitch & AJ Tracey, Anne-Marie and MNEK, as well as sketches from Michaela Coel and Katherine Ryan.

UK stream from 10.30pm GMT, Americas stream from 10.30pm EDT 

The final part of a three-leg live-streamed festival, Defected’s ‘We Dance As One 3.0’ will feature the cream of the label’s various imprints, including Dom Dolla, Eats Everything, Gorgon City, Low Steppa and Sonny Fodera. Detroit collective Inner City will also perform live from Motor City venue Elektricity. The shows will be free to stream on Defected’s Facebook page, but the label is encouraging viewers to donate to British food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

5pm-1am GMT (12pm-8pm EDT, 4am-12pm AEDT)

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Haçienda NYE 24 Hour Houseparty

From 10am on December 31 until 10am on January 1, Manchester’s Haçienda will be livestreaming big party vibes. The 24-hour stay-at-home rave will feature a line-up of international DJs, Haçienda regulars and some special one-off live performances. It’ll take place on United We Stream and be free to watch, though viewers can make donations to the the oneGM campaign, which supports people in Greater Manchester who have been hardest hit by the economic impact of this past year, Save The Children, The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and PeaceMeal in Ancoats. 

From 10am GMT (5.00am EDT, 9.00pm AEDT)

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