Sydney’s Back, Baby! (Probably Partied Too Hard)

Sydney has, once again, welcomed in the new year in style with colourful fireworks over Sydney Harbour with 2 waterfalls off the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time since NYE2017 – Wonder & the use of 4 city buildings for the first time since NYE2012 – Embrace while a crowd crush occurred at an entrance to The Rocks vantage point in the hour leading up to Midnight.

The Midnight Fireworks returned to its full complement of 6 barges for the 1st time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, accompanied by the world premiere of new music from Stace Cadet (featuring KLP), one track of which – Light Me Up – will be on sale in a “similar” version from January 11th. You can purchase or pre-save/add (the latter for Spotify and Apple Music) here.

Shortly before Midnight, in The Rocks at the western end of Jack Munday Place, a crowd crush occurred. It occurred at an entrance of The Rocks vantage point, where people tried to enter the free but obstructed fireworks viewing spot, which has a capacity of 18,000 (Notably, this is a decrease of 22,000 on NYE2019!). It resulted in the arrival of the New South Wales Public Order & Riot Squad.

New South Wales Police & Ambulance reported no serious injuries from the incident:

While there were a few exceptions, most people were well-behaved and enjoyed their celebrations safely and responsibly.

Several vantage points around the city were at capacity by late-afternoon, as over 200,000 revellers travelled into the city and foreshore areas ahead of the 9pm and midnight fireworks displays.

Just before midnight, large crowds surged towards a vantage point for a better view of the fireworks, resulting in police resources being deployed to the area for crowd management.

There were no injuries as a result and no arrests were made.

New South Wales Police Statement

Once again, Sydney welcomed the New Year with a spectacular fireworks display, and the vast majority of revellers enjoyed their night safely.

More than one million people gathered around Sydney harbour for the fireworks last night – the highest crowd numbers in several years due to the pandemic – so it was a very busy night for us, yet somewhat relieving to see an overall drop in call-outs.

New Year’s Eve 2022 Operation Commander, Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke

City Of Sydney, Lord Mayor Clover Moore said crowd control management had declared the city “full” at 7pm, about 4 hours earlier than in pre-COVID pandemic editions. The Sydney Opera House also reached capacity by late -morning and other parts of the city in the mid to late afternoon, which is normal. Overall, this resulted in thousands waiting outside vantage point gates or heading home. She said while some City of Sydney vantage points were ticketed, they were all free:

There were huge crowds in the city. It was really back to pre-Covid popularity.

We have measures in place for crowd control. There was a minor event at The Rocks and immediately that was sorted and there were no injuries.

We haven’t got the final (attendance) figures yet, but we probably had more people around the harbour than we have ever had before.

I would like to see all of the sites around the Harbour free.

I don’t believe other councils or government agencies should be making money out of the event.

City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore

To break the Sydney NYE attendance record, it would have to be over 2 million, which was the attendance record set for NYE2013 – Shine.

We work with multiple government agencies on crowd management plans well ahead of time, so incidents are dealt with quickly and people can enjoy their night.

As always, we’ll incorporate any learnings from this event as we plan next year’s celebration with our NSW government partners.

City Of Sydney spokesperson

It was really scary, very dangerous and I thought I was going to be badly injured. People were trampling me, as I was on the ground with about a dozen other people and some were running over the top of me. I lost my footing when I was pushed to the ground and landed on top of two others.


The anonymous person also told The Daily Mail Australia that the situation was particularly frightening given what happened 2 months earlier during Halloween celebrations in Seoul, South Korea, where 196 people where killed in a crowd crush.

Vivid Sydney, organised by the NSW Government, suffered a bigger but less dangerous crowd crush during Vivid Sydney 2016 which was barely reported in the media. The cause of that was simply poor planning and a bit of bad luck with the weather.

The Daily Mail Australia understands the City Of Sydney will now rethink holding ticketed and non-ticketed events in adjacent areas on New Year’s Eve. This is despite the crowd crush occurring in a location that was not ticketed on either side of the gate shown in the video.

There were some specific incidents, and we call on the Government to make sure those incidents are reviewed, and any specific safety lessons are learnt.

Deputy Opposition Leader in the New South Wales Legislative Council, John Graham

Regional Transport & Roads Minister, Sam Farraway said the “vibe was good” in Sydney as over a million people watched the Midnight Fireworks in person:

We had some significant crowd numbers. We had some significant people using public transport across the city and I think by all accounts, and from the Police accounts, everyone behaved themselves

Sydney…brought in new years with an absolute bang

New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport & Roads, Sam Farraway

New South Wales Police on foot and horseback were also called in to turn back crowds of up to 100 people trying to access the Sydney Harbour Bridge at the Grosvenor Street off-ramp, who Nine News said believed “was a legitimate spot to watch the fireworks” just before Midnight.

There were some people who did try to enter the Harbour Bridge last night and that was dealt with very quickly.

Sydney NYE2022 Executive Producer, Stephen Gilby

Other members of the public complained about overcrowding at Circular Quay while exiting ferries. One Twitter post said crowds have made it difficult to exit a ferry.

With Circular Quay being one of the most popular vantage points, some ferry passengers waited briefly to exit their services so they could move safely and freely around the promenade

Transport For NSW Spokesperson

Back to the Midnight Fireworks, apart from the traditional golden waterfall, a rainbow waterfall featured at the 7 minute mark during the Midnight Fireworks to acknowledge the display’s theme of diversity and the upcoming edition of WorldPride, a biannual international LGBTIQA+ festival that Sydney will host in February & March this year. A rainbow waterfall last appeared in the NYE2017 – Wonder Midnight Fireworks to acknowledge the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia, which occurred just weeks prior to that display.

An hour before Midnight, Sydney’s hosting of WorldPride in 2023 was celebrated with rainbows covering the Sydney Harbour Bridge as Courtney Act performed Over The Rainbow, famous from Judy Garland’s performance of the sentimental ballad in the film The Wizard Of Oz, and Zanadu, as a tribute to Olivia-Newton John who passed away in 2022.

It kicked started a 30-minute segment celebrating WorldPride 2023 at the ‘Happy New Year’ concert, held on the Northern Broadwalk of the Sydney Opera House, with performances also from Electric Fields & Casey Donovan. The concert, which went a total 2 hours and 45 minutes also featured musical tributes to Judith Durham of The Seekers, Archie Roach, Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac as well as more to the iconic Olivia-Newton John. Headlined by Tones & I, the ‘Happy New Year’ concert featured performances from Ball Park Music, Vika & Linda, Dami Im, Morgan Evans, Tasman Keith and more from the ‘NYE Queen’, Casey Donovan.

As the ‘Happy New Year’ concert was held, the Sydney Harbour Lights boat parade travelled around the Harbour. The lights on the boats were also synchronised to the Midnight Fireworks, the WorldPride 2023 Moment and Calling Country.

Calling Country, held at 9pm, was separated into 2 distinct parts this year – fireworks and a live performance unlike last year’s Welcome To Country where the 2 parts were joined seamlessly together. But like last year’s Welcome To Country, designed by the 2022 Archibald Prize winner, Blak Douglas, Calling Country was a brilliant showcase of Indigenous culture.

Calling Country was creative consulted this year by The Re-Right Collective, who in turn, collaborated with over 100 other Indigenous artists, nearly all but a few were Indigenous school children. The few that weren’t school children provided the music and one contributed to the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections for the segment.

Calling Country was preceded by a 3-minute Welcome To Country, done via Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections at 8:56pm for those harbourside and via a video for those watching from around the world through the ABC broadcast at 8:30pm, though with only 1 Gadigal Elder (Yvonne Weldon), compared with 2 projected onto the pylons harbourside. Before that, at 7:30pm, to open the event, a traditional Indigenous smoking ceremony was held from the vessel, Tribal Warrior, around Sydney Harbour.

ABC, KIIS 106.5 FM & 2RPH, once again, did quality broadcasts. We hope everyone around the world enjoyed them too. We thank the broadcasters for allowing the world to experience Sydney NYE without being there and we thank the City Of Sydney, the Foti family & The Re-Right Collective and the wider Gadigal nation for a spectacular Sydney NYE! Sydney’s back, baby!

After the event, City Of Sydney employees in garbage trucks, sweepers & compactors worked until sunrise to ensure the City looked clean and accessible.

What a spectacular night we’ve just had. After the challenges of the past few years, it was wonderful to welcome international and interstate visitors back to Sydney and mark the beginning of what we hope will be a safe, peaceful and fabulous 2023.

It was great to see restaurants and venues buzzing with locals and visitors from near and far and Sydney has once again cemented its reputation as the New Year’s capital of the world, so we hope those watching from across the globe start planning a visit here.

The fireworks, projections, music and live performances were a fabulous tribute to our remarkable city, showcasing the best of what our city has to offer as a stunning and safe, inclusive and buzzing destination. From our event organisers to the clean-up crews, thank you to everyone who made this event a terrific success.

After the challenges of the last few years, last night’s unforgettable show not only rung in a New Year it signalled to the world that Sydney is well and truly back!

We have sent a message of diversity and inclusion to celebrate the New Year and I hope it’s a sentiment that echoes around the world as we kick off 2023.

I’m proud we started the year off by centring First Nations stories and a spectacular welcome to those heading down under for WorldPride.

This jaw-dropping start to the new year is only possible because of the many thousands of hours of hard work by our City of Sydney team, NSW Government partners, the Foti fireworks family and the many creatives and professionals who help deliver the event. I offer them our sincere thanks. We said this year’s fireworks would be our best yet, and I believe it was!

We hope last night’s celebration provided some relief and an opportunity to look with hope to the new year. I’d like to wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe and peaceful 2023!

City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore

As the COVID-19 pandemic has finally eased (just!) for a return to a normal NYE, we turn to NYE2023 and whether the 9pm fireworks will now return to its former ‘family’ theme. The Indigenous-themed 9pm 8-minute fireworks have been a great addition – one the event needed after the growing Acknowledgement Of/Welcome To Countries since NYE2008 – Creation. Maybe the City Of Sydney should consider starting the visual broadcast off at 8:30pm with a 4-minute Indigenous-themed fireworks display of 2 barges, one east and one west of the Bridge? The event cannot return the Family Fireworks and lose the 8-minute Indigenous-themed fireworks – not after the last 2 spectacular editions of the 9pm fireworks, which have been the best 9pm fireworks done since 1998. We will have to wait & see on that.

Also, coming up in January, the all-important Sydney NYE fireworks contract is up for renewal. After 25 years, will the Foti family bring another 3 spectacular editions or will a new company bring a fresh perspective on the event particularly from the Howard fireworks family, who have been watching from the sidelines since the 2000 Olympics?

Lastly, on a sober note, tonight may have been the last time we see the Sydney Opera House used for fireworks on NYE as the ‘decade of renewal’ ends with the Sydney Opera House’s 50th anniversary in October this year. It may return in NYE2023 for a 50th anniversary tribute but after that is a total guess particularly after the reintroduction of the city buildings in the Midnight Fireworks tonight, which were removed from the event when the Sydney Opera House was readded on NYE2013 – Shine.

We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 since late November. Stay tuned to our site as the next flagship Sydney Spectacular is just around the corner! And don’t forget in July & August this year, Australia co-hosts the FIFA Women’s World Cup! We also hope to see you again in late November for coverage of Sydney New Year’s Eve 2023.