A Sydney Harbour Bridge light and pylon projection show to promote WorldPride 2023, a biannual international LGBTIQA+ festival hosted by Sydney next year, will feature at 11pm during Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2022.
Sydney successfully bid for the festival in 2019 and will host it between the 17th of February & the 5th of March with a million people attending over the 17 days.
An artist impression (above) has been released supposedly of the 11pm show. Of note, is the symbol in the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It strikes a resemblance to the iconic and now former Bridge Effect, which last featured at the 2014 edition. From what Sydney Spectaculars can tell, no Bridge Effect will feature at Sydney NYE2022 as there is no structure on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to support a Bridge Effect. This is significant as Bridge Effects (back in 2014) began construction as early as August and no Bridge Effect of that size has begun construction as late as October (2000, after the Olympics). Whilst it may be possible that a Bridge Effect is being considered for the actual WorldPride 2023 event, construction of it would have to start imminently.
Sydney NYE has twice promoted LGBTIQA+ issues: firstly, at Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder when a rainbow waterfall fell from the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the tunes of Go West (Pet Shop Boys cover) by The Village People to mark the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia, which came into effect 22 days prior & secondly, during the Sydney NYE2021 – See Sydney Shine‘s Welcome To Country finale when Indigenous drag Queen Nana Miss Koori, presented a handcrafted rainbow message stick to the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.
Shortened Radio Broadcast
After a couple of years doing 12-hour broadcasts from 3pm to 3am, KIIS 106.5FM have roughly halved the broadcast for the 2022 edition. It now begins at 6pm, followed by the Calling Country soundtrack at 9pm and the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack before finishing at 12:30am. KIIS 106.5FM is the exclusive radio broadcaster of the Calling Country (9pm) & Midnight Fireworks soundtracks.
Harbour Of Light Parade No Longer In Name Only?
An interesting amendment to the Sydney New Year’s Eve schedule is the removal of the Harbour Of Light Parade name, which has been used since Sydney New Year’s Eve 2000: 100 Years As A Nation, Millions Of Years As A Land. It is now simply called Sydney Harbour Lights.
Also, for the first time since 2000, the City Of Sydney is not exclusively producing this event item. It is now being organised by Banks Events on behalf of the Commerical Vessels Association in co-ordination with the City Of Sydney.
In the only sign of status quo, Sydney Harbour Lights is still boats lighting up Sydney Harbour at 9:15pm before a 1 hour and 45-minute parade begins at 9:30pm, concluding at 11:15pm. The lights are later synchronised to the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack.
There is no sign that the lights will be synchronised to Calling Country.
The Harbour Of Light Parade was not held in 2020 & 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the 2019 edition the last edition it had its trademarked name.
The media launch for Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 will be held on Wednesday the 30th of November 2022 at 11am. The venue is the Royal Botanic Gardens. Media launch details reveal the likelihood that Calling Country, returning after a 2-year absence, has been creatively consulted by Re-Right Collective, a collaboration between artists Dennis Golding & Carmen Glynn-Braun residing at Artspace.
They follow Blak Douglas, who did a magnificent job in creating an expanded Welcome To Country last year to temporarily replace the 9pm Family Fireworks. His artistic talent was emphasised later in 2022 by winning one of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes, the Archibald Prize. What will the Re-Right Collective produce for Calling Country 2022, where the original Calling Country is joined with last year’s Welcome To Country? It’s a hard act to follow when an Archibald Prize-winning artist led the expansion.
From the Artspace website, we can see Carmen Glynn-Braun focuses on truth & trauma particularly in regard to Indigenous women while Dennis Golding, critiques Indigenous representation by comparing Australia’s colonial history with pop culture references particularly through the motif of a cape. Combined, through art, they truth-tell with sensitivity.
Of note, Artspace says ‘Carmen Glynn-Braun believes the survival and resilience of Aboriginal people makes for compelling and important subject matter and deserves a celebratory and respected platform within the arts (one that is well overdue)’. A worldwide audience of 425 million people on one of the most celebrated nights of the year at one of the biggest events in the world may well be that platform particularly if Calling/Welcome To Country no longer becomes just a COVID-19 pandemic replacement for the 9pm Family Fireworks.
It should be pointed out that a Welcome To Country will not feature as part of Calling Country this year but will precede it as a separate event at 8:57pm. Sydney Spectaculars believes both will be broadcast & Calling Country will immediately follow the Welcome To Country, with an Indigenous ‘countdown’ (based on last year’s Welcome To Country start) concluding the Welcome To Country.
Based on media launch details, Sydney Spectaculars speculates Calling Country will conclude with a performance by Brolga Dance Academy, an Indigenous dance school from Redfern.
Note: You may have noticed 425 million was written 2 paragraphs ago. In 2019, the City Of Sydney revised the figure from 1 billion after an audience evaluation. That is half an audience lost – a dramatic drop but since when and why we do not know yet still, but audience fragmentation due to the Internet is a possible cause.
More details should be released about Sydney NYE2022 on Wednesday!