First Night returns to downtown Missoula with a bang to ring in 2022

ABBY LYNES For the Missoulian

After taking a year off of in-person activities, First Night is returning to downtown to ring in the new year.

First Night started in Missoula in the ‘90s in an effort to create a community-building festival of the arts, Arts Missoula Executive Director Tom Benson said. Featuring dozens of events across town, the festival offers a variety of workshops, concerts and activities for adults and kids alike.

While, like most events these days, it will look a little bit different than it has in the past, Arts Missoula is looking forward to bringing an in-person version of the festival back.

“There’s a general sort of excitement to get back to doing this again,” Benson said. “But at the same time, this is new territory for us.”

Last year, Arts Missoula put on a virtual concert for the event, but it wasn’t ideal, Benson said. When the organization started planning for First Night in the summer, planners weren’t sure what the future held in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic. Arts Missoula decided to offer a scaled-down version of the festival, asking that attendees wear a mask to all events and stay home if they’re feeling sick.

View Source