Your guide to New Year's Eve in Ballarat

IT'S NOT New Year's Eve without a party, or two, or 10. And Ballarat is the place to be tomorrow night with an array of performances and shindigs happening inside and outside of town.Celebrate the beginning of 2011 with some of Ballarat's most-loved local and national artists. Wherever you choose to go, or if party hopping is more your thing, there's a lot of celebrating to be done around town.Battler's Tavern will hold its annual celebrations with local band Azio.Manager Lisa Cassells said the audience was in for a quality performance."It's more of a show than just a band," Cassells said."We wanted something to really entertain people on New Year's Eve."Entry is exclusive to ticket holders only, costing $120 for spirits, beer, wine, soft drinks and food.The Bluestone will be celebrating its first New Year's Eve as one of Ballarat's premier entertainment venues, and manager Mark Ditchfield said he was looking forward to it."We have a masquerade theme and are expecting it to go pretty well," Ditchfield said."Having a new venue and the first of everything is pretty exciting so we're definitely looking forward to it."With DJs playing all night, the crowd is sure to get into the New Year's mood.Local artist Doug Jolly and the All Stars will be performing top 40 hits at The Nerrina.Owner Sean Roscoe said the performers would play whatever was requested of them."You name it, he'll play it and sing it," Roscoe said."He knows everything."Irish Murphy's never goes without a true party, and when better to have a wild night than New Year's Eve.This year, the venue will hold a masquerade-themed celebration so dress in your best masquerade gear and get ready for a crazy night.Manager Lisa Dixon said themed parties at Irish Murphy's were always a hit."Themes are becoming pretty popular and I think all the patrons enjoy a theme and the staff enjoy it too," Dixon said.Karova Lounge will have local act Concept Unknown performing on stage with some special guests starring on the evening.Owner Gary Wilson said New Year's Eve at Karova Lounge was usually a big night.The Italian Social Club will hold a New Year's Eve dance to celebrate the beginning of 2011. Frank Amorosi will be performing and leading the audience into the new year with his second-to-none repertoire ranging from jazz, swinging and lounge classics to hits from the 60s and today. A national superstar will be heading to the Victoria Bowling Club, with country music artist Don Costa gracing the town with his presence.Join Costa as he revisits classic songs with a refreshing ear and strong vocals, embracing his audience with a selection of country rock and old favourites.Heading out of town, Horvat's WINE Bar in Daylesford is set for a big night out.With headline act The Pete Rowland Set performing, Nelephant Productions event co-ordinator Nel Staite said the venue provided the ideal atmosphere for New Year's celebrations."There's a fantastic outdoor area out the back with lots of beautiful trees and there's a fantastic band playing with the best groove," Staite said.Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Michelle Parsons will head to the Old Hepburn Hotel for a night of dance, energy and bubbly.Hotel event organiser Dani Dwyer said the artist would definitely have the crowd moving and shaking until midnight."It will be a real party atmosphere and she really engages with the crowd a lot," Dwyer said."She will play mostly covers with a couple of originals."If you're heading down to Melbourne, Funky beats will play all night long at Federation Square in the lead up to the annual rooftop firework show. Entertainment will be broadcast live on two big screens. For families, there will also be an earlier fireworks display over Yarra Park at 9.15pm.Along the surf coast, there will be no shortage of entertainmentIn Lorne, Plumb Crazy will be playing top 40 and classic covers on the foreshore with fireworks to bring in the New Year while Blue Stew will perform tunes and classic covers at Torquay Common followed by fireworks at midnight.And to signify the New Year in Ballarat, the bells at the Town Hall will ring out at midnight to officially welcome in 2011.* For more details on the New Year's Eve events, check out the Gig Guide on page 18.