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FESTIVAL NEWS: Giant Village 2006 Set For NYE In LA & Parrotheads Flock To Key West For First Festival Since Wilma

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Now going on its sixth year, the World’s largest 21+ New Years Eve extravaganza Giant Village 2006 is confirmed to return to Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles on December 31. Due to the popularity of last year’s sold-out event, the party will expand two-blocks, adding to last year’s four blocks, for an even bigger celebration totaling six blocks. Over 15,000 people are expected to attend the eight-hour bash kicking off at 8:00 pm and ending at 4:00 am.

The entertainment for this year’s Giant Village will be laid out on six stages over six city blocks and–for the first time since Giant’s first NYE celebration in 2000– will feature a broad spectrum of music for all tastes. On the Grand Stage confirmed are live performances from The Black Eyed Peas, Z-Trip and Junkie XL. The Hope Stage will be highlighted by Death Cab for Cutie, Christopher Lawrence and Jason Bentley. On the Flower Stage are John Digweed (five hour set) and Jimmy Van M. The Crystal Method will headline their Community Service stage with Adam Freeland. The Deep Stage will have Miguel Migs and Marques Wyatt. Lastly is the Mutayor Stage that will have a unique collection of DJs and live performers, fire artists, aerialists, tribal drummers and dancers.

In addition to six stages, the Giant Village will be filled with carnival rides, outdoor fireworks and three indoor lounges. Its dramatic placement among the soaring skyscrapers and tree-lined streets of the New Downtown spans two blocks each of Wilshire Boulevard, Hope Street and Grand Avenue.

Giant's New Year's Eve celebrations have raised over $300,000 for various Los Angeles-based charities. This year, philanthropic efforts will be expanded with a portion of the proceeds donated to the America Red Cross as well as Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals become self-sufficient through employment opportunities.

Tickets are priced $80 in advance and available through $150 VIP tickets are also available and include a separate VIP entrance to the Giant Village via the Pegasus Lobby, open bar in the Pegasus Indoor Lounge with music by John Digweed and in and out privileges to all Giant Villages hotels, plus complimentary access to the New Year's Day Party on January 1 from 12 noon to 10:00 pm. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

Parrotheads Flock To Key West For First Festival Since Wilma

KEY WEST, FL (AP) — Thousands of Jimmy Buffet fans gathered Saturday in the Florida Keys for the first street festival since tourists were ordered to evacuate the island chain ahead of Hurricane Wilma.

The beach parties and live musical performances for Parrotheads, as Buffett fans are known, brought some relief to hotels, restaurants and other Key West businesses struggling to make up an estimated $50 million in sales lost because of Wilma.

"We're happy to see businesses rebound and some economic activity, while realizing that we're still in a healing mode," said Mayor Morgan McPherson.

The annual "Meeting of the Minds" festival continues Sunday.

Wilma chased visitors from the low-lying island chain five days before making landfall Oct. 24 near Cape Romano on the mainland. Key West — especially the tourist district — escaped widespread wind damage, but hundreds of homes and some businesses were flooded.

Hurricane preparations and recovery postponed one of the island's big draws, the "adult-themed" street festival called Fantasy Fest, until Dec. 7.