Future Sydney NYE Fireworks Producer To Be Decided As Iconic Party Is Cancelled

The pyrotechnic company who will produce the fireworks displays for Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) for at least the next 2 years will be decided in the next week.

Sydney NYE pyrotechnic displays have only ever been done by 2 companies – Syd Howard Fireworks (1976-1999) & Foti International Fireworks (since 1997).

3 companies have put their names forward for the iconic role. They include:

  • Fireworks Australia Importers Proprietary Limited (Pty Ltd)
  • Foti International Fireworks Pty Ltd
  • Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics

The companies are required to provide a 5 year strategic plan for the Sydney NYE fireworks displays demonstrating creative, technological, operational & environmental innovation to ensure the sustainability of Sydney NYE. They also have to demonstrate to the City Of Sydney that they have experience providing fireworks displays at major world recognized events or iconic locations.

As the name suggests, Fireworks Australia Importers Pty Ltd focuses on the purchasing of fireworks from overseas but they occasionally produce full-scale fireworks displays. Whilst a showreel couldn’t be found, it seems their most frequently produced fireworks display to date is the Australia Day fireworks in Canberra:

Out of the 3 bidders, Foti International and Howard & Sons are the ones to watch though:

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics

Foti International Fireworks Pty Ltd

Howard & Sons Pyrotechnics will be Foti International’s biggest rival in the tender process but if the pattern of the last 17 years suggests anything, Foti International would win the tender. If Howard & Sons wins the tender, it would likely see a clear change in the choreography of the Sydney NYE fireworks in a more spectacular direction. It would be a breath of fresh air. Nevertheless, Foti International still produce spectacular fireworks displays & easily have the ability to match Howard & Sons if the latter won the tender and made the Sydney NYE fireworks even more spectacular.

City Of Sydney staff have recommended, to the City Of Sydney’s Corporate, Finance, Properties & Tenders Committee, which met today, a tender offer to be accepted & for the City Of Sydney’s Chief Executive Officer to negotiate, execute & administer the resulting contract between the City Of Sydney & the winning fireworks producer.

If the recommendation was accepted today by the Corporate, Finance, Properties & Tenders Committee, the City Of Sydney Council will then also have to approve the recommendation next week after which it will be implemented.

The contracts must be signed by the end of this month to ensure there is enough time to design & produce the fireworks displays. After 2018, the contract can be extended for another 3 years until 2021 if they choose to exercise that option.

The looming decision on the Sydney NYE fireworks producer comes after the City Of Sydney also decided for the event to cancel it’s iconic Lord Mayor’s Party.

Reported by Central Sydney (of The Daily Telegraph), the annual cost of the Lord Mayor’s Party, which is AUD$760,000, will be redirected to initiatives under the City Of Sydney’s 2016-2021 Environmental Action Strategy.

In recent years, the Lord Mayor’s Party has been criticized by fellow City Of Sydney Councillors as a waste of ratepayers money due to it’s cost & exclusivity.

That combined with future building works around the Northern Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, where the Lord Mayor’s Party was held, would result in a newly negotiated arrangement by the City Of Sydney with the Sydney Opera House for the use of the venue on NYE. This was the catalyst for the sudden cancellation as it “…would be costly — and we are not going to do that” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“[The NYE party has] become quite sophisticated and iconic & that’s been fantastic & I think everyone has really appreciated it but I think now we have got to look very carefully about how we do all these things we want to do & I think it is just what we have to do” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

The annual Lord Mayor’s Picnic (held at the Royal Botanic Gardens) and Very Important Person (VIP) Viewing Area (held at Hickson Road Reserve) will still be held though but with the latter, it seems it will be downsized as Central Sydney reports that “the large scale catering and entertainment will not be a part of the (VIP Viewing Area) plan”.

The Lord Mayor’s Party was created in 1996 & formed the stage for the annual television (TV) broadcast of Sydney NYE every year until 2015, which is when the Australian Broadcasting Corporation moved the TV broadcast to the Southern Forecourt, a free public vantage point.

The TV broadcast base will be relocated as a result of the Lord Mayor’s Party cancellation. If this refers to the place where the hosts (e.g. Richard Wilkins etc.) are located, the most likeliest place for a new TV broadcast base is at the VIP Viewing Area at Hickson Road Reserve on Dawes Point (near the south-east pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge), which was the base for Telstra’s YouTube broadcasts of the event in 2013 & 2014.

If it instead refers to the technical side of broadcasting, it could be relocated to the Southern Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House where the hosts currently broadcast from or high up in a top secret location in one of Sydney’s skyscrapers where an event command centre exists. Another event command centre, which was based at the Lord Mayor’s Party, will also be relocated, probably merged with the remaining event command centre that we just mentioned.

As for the now empty Northern Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House on NYE, the question turns to whether the Sydney Opera House makes it a free or ticketed vantage point once the building works are complete?

In previous years, the Sydney Opera House has been a combined free/ticketed vantage point with all but the Southern Forecourt and a small portion of the Northern Forecourt free.

The Northern Forecourt has an iconic view & while during the building works it will probably be a free vantage point, once the building works are complete, it will probably become a ticketed vantage point just like most of the Sydney Opera House is already on NYE.

Update (24/05/2017): The Sydney Opera House responded: “Confirming the Northern Broadwalk was not available to the Lord Mayor for New Year’s Eve 2017 due to building works underway at the Opera House. We’re currently assessing how we can best utilise this space for the 2017 NYE celebrations”

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