Winter XP preview: Is it the most wonderful time of the year?

Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers performs during Power 96.1's Jingle Ball 2019 (Photo by Paras Griffin / Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

With Covid boosters available for all (in the U.S.), winter events were just starting to look as bright, shiny and new as a Red Ryder BB gun. But, while the holiday season may be poppin’, so too is the coronavirus, with the Omicron variant looming large this winter. The jury is still out on how effective vaccines are against the new hard-to-pronounce variant. While many events require vaccination, only time will tell if they will move forward as planned. One step forward, two steps back as we end 2021 and look forward to the new year…

Snuggle up with some insights from quality XP this season with these projects:

The what: Art Basel Miami (Art Basel)

The when: Dec. 2-4
The where: Miami Beach Convention Center, online
XP highlights: Last year’s Art Basel Miami was cancelled due to Covid, but luckily it’s back for 2021 with plenty to offer for art aficionados and dabblers alike. There’s even an Art Kids program for children (and future art buyers) aged 4-12. The fair will offer online viewing rooms for those who can’t make it to Miami IRL (you can check out OVR: Basel here). Covid protocols are fairly stringent and face coverings are required for all.

The whatLA3C (Penske Media Corporation)

The when: Dec. 2-4
The where: Los Angeles
XP highlights: Penske (publisher of Variety, Deadline and Rolling Stone) is throwing its own three-day festival to celebrate the City of Angels. According to Deadline, “LA3C, stands for Los Angeles (LA), the Capital of Creativity & Culture (3C).” Looks like most of the festival’s programming is TBA, with no website yet in Google sight. Penske has tapped Juan Mora, formerly of Propeller, as CEO of LA3C. Is LA about to get its very own SXSW? Maybe. PMC just bought a 50 percent stake in that Texan XP staple.

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With Covid boosters available for all (in the U.S.), winter events were starting to look as bright, shiny and new as a Red Ryder BB gun. But although the holiday season might be poppin’, so is the coronavirus with the Omicron variant looming large this winter. The jury is still out on how effective vaccines are against the new hard-to-pronounce variant. While many events require vaccination, only time will tell if they will move forward as planned. One step forward, two steps back as we end 2021 and look forward to the new year.

The what: Austin Fashion Week 

The when: Dec 2-5
The where: The Domain, Austin
XP highlights: Get your sleigh (slay?) on at Austin Fashion Week with runway shows from the hottest new designers. Individual tickets run $50-$215, while all-access badges are $135-$600. Upgrade to VIP status for access to the VIP lounge, complimentary drinks and cocktails and VIP gifts from Domain retailers while supplies last. No vaccination or testing requirements are listed on the site and all events are in-person and outdoors with limited seating. Luckily, the weather in Austin is forecast at a balmy 77 degrees this week.

The what: iHeartRadio Jingle Ball

The when: Dec. 10
The where: Madison Square Garden, NYC
XP highlights: Jingle all the way to Madison Square Garden for the NYC stop of Jingle Ball, iHeartRadio’s signature holiday music festival. Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Lil Nas X are among the headliners. Concert organizers are sticking to local guidelines, requiring that guests be fully vaccinated and wear masks except when eating or drinking. So far, music festivals are counting on the festive cheer of the season to fill stadiums, even in the face of the dreaded Omicron. We’re not in 2020 anymore, Toto.

The what: Times Square New Year’s Eve 

The when: Dec. 31
The where: Times Square, NYC, streaming
XP highlights: Will the ball drop this year? Yes! Yes, it will! Like many fond traditions, the historic ball drop in Times Square was cancelled last year — well, technically, the in-person version was cancelled. But not this year. Attendees are required to provide proof of full vaccination and valid photo ID. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the celebration was back on Nov. 16, a mere eight days before the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa. In XP as in government, one must master the art of pivot. No word from Times Square so far on any new protocols, but never fear, you can also watch from the safety and comfort of your own home, perhaps with your newly reconstituted Covid pod. 

The what: Tournament of Roses Parade

The when: Jan 1, 2022
The where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena
XP highlights: Going strong since 1890, this West Coast tradition brings the young and old to Pasadena, CA for floats, floats and more floats — oh, and marching bands. If you want to attend this year, you must provide a negative test or proof of vaccination. All guests 2 years and older are also required to wear masks at this outdoor, family-friendly event. 

The whatCES 2022

The when: ​January 5-8, 2022
The where: Las Vegas & virtual
XP highlights: The Consumer Technology Association is hosting its annual conference both in-person and virtually this year with a plethora of talks and exhibits on 5G, esports, AI, sustainability and other consumer tech topics. All attendees are required to show proof of vaccination and CES is partnering with CLEAR to make the check-in process easier. It’s part of a growing trend to speed up the vaccine verification process for large-scale events by using an app. All non-vaccinated persons are directed to CES’s digital option.

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