COLUMBIA — The annual Famously Hot New Year event will not be returning and the nonprofit organization hosting the annual event has been disbanded, organizers announced April 26.
The celebration typically brought thousands of people to the city’s downtown area and featured well-known and local bands and other accompanying activities. This was part of then-Mayor Steve Benjamin’s emphasis on showcasing the rapidly changing downtown district.
In recent years, the show has hosted well-known musical artists like hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa, Lauryn Hill and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, as well as a virtual New Years Eve 2021 event featuring the group. rappers Arrested Development and Hootie. & puffer fish.
The cancellation comes after the gathering was canceled in 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced by organizers in October.
A press release announcing the end of Famously Hot did not elaborate on the reasons for the decision. Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann sent a statement later April 26 saying the city was making other plans.
“After taking a two-year hiatus, we have decided to stop the event,” said Rickenmann, who took over from Benjamin this year. “We are currently in the process of organizing an event that will include all of our communities in Colombia and show what our great city has to offer.”
Columbia Councilman Joe Taylor said council was not notified before the cancellation. He said he supported any offer from the city that was a family way to celebrate the New Year.
Sam Johnson, chairman of the event’s board of directors, did not immediately respond to a request for comment beyond a statement included in the press release.
“It’s hard to see (Famous Hot New Year) ending,” Johnson said in the statement. “For the past 10 years, we have looked forward to bringing visitors from outside the Midlands together with locals to showcase all that the City of Columbia, Richland County and the region has to offer.”
The organization’s events manager, Sara Ballard, has confirmed that the nonprofit organization behind her is in the process of disbanding.
The celebration was funded primarily by government grants, including the city’s hospitality tax. Nearly 60% of the $387,000 the event raised in 2019-20 came from grants, according to the latest tax forms from the nonprofit Famously Hot.
The 2020 New Year’s event lost $18,000, tax records show, but the nonprofit had money in the bank to cover the shortfall. The band had $8,900 on hand as of June 2020. Famously Hot released around $10,000 ahead of each of the previous two years.
Andy Shan contributed from Colombia.