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 (17/05/2017): Foti International Fireworks won the pyrotechnics tender. It lasts until NYE2018 but they have the option to provide the pyrotechnics until NYE2021.

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”

Update (04/08/2017): The VIP Viewing Area at Dawes Point will still have catering as the City Of Sydney have issued a tender for the area’s catering services though the possibility of the catering being on a smaller scale still exists.

Australian Radio Network Announces Partnership With The City Of Sydney


ARN today announces a new partnership with the City Of Sydney, kicking off a huge year of events, celebrations & experiences that celebrate the best of Sydney.

As the exclusive frequency modulation (FM) commercial radio partner, ARN’s KIIS 106.5 FM, Western Suburbs (WS) 101.7 FM & The Edge 96.1 FM/Digital Radio Station will play key roles in supporting major events on Sydney’s calendar including the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, Sydney Christmas & Sydney’s première global event, Sydney New Year’s Eve, which will be presented exclusively with KIIS 106.5 FM.

It all starts with Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival from January the 27th with a 2 week celebration for the Lunar New Year & the Year Of The Rooster.

Over the past 20 years, the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival has grown to become one of the largest celebrations of the Lunar New Year outside of Asia & 2017 will be no exception.

The Sydney Chinese New Year Festival program is packed with a diverse range of events. ARN activations will include KIIS 106.5 FM Lucky Lunar Lanterns while WS 101.7 FM’s Jonesy & Amanda (Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones & Amanda Keller) will be hitting the water as part of the celebrity Dragon Boat Racing event & taking the stage to sing one of their karaoke favourites at Massaoke.

ARN Chief Executive Officer, Tony Kendall, said “ARN are extremely proud to be partnering with the City Of Sydney & contributing to a calendar of great events across the year. KIIS 106.5 FM, WS 101.7 FM & The Edge 96.1 FM/Digital Radio Station are made for Sydney – we love the city’s diversity, spirit of adventure & culture”

“The program of events is the epitome of ‘So Sydney’ & the energy that is our #1 station, KIIS 106.5 FM, in particular. From the vibrant celebrations of the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival and of course, Sydney Christmas & Sydney New Year’s Eve, ARN is excited to partner with the City to create memorable experiences for the whole of Sydney & its community”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the partnership with ARN would open up more opportunities to promote some of Australia’s biggest events: “We are delighted to join with ARN for the next 3 years. This partnership will capitalise on ARN’s capacity to reach large audiences across the nation through their top-rating programs to promote our fantastic city & brilliant events”

ARN will also play a part in helping Sydney transform into a magical summer playground during the festive season with Christmas & New Year activations & experiences including KIIS 106.5 FM broadcasting live on New Year’s Eve making sure listeners don’t miss a minute of the action of Sydney’s ultimate celebration of the city.

For more details on the City Of Sydney, their events & programs, go to cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au.

Media Release: Australian Radio Network

Sydney Spectaculars – Season 2017!

Want to see Sydney in all it’s glory? Check out our 2017 season of ‘Sydney Spectaculars’! Here is what is happening so far this year:

26 January 2017 – Australia Day In Sydney

A day to celebrate the cultures of the Australian continent with many events throughout the day from indigenous ceremonies and cruise ship appearances to concerts and wheelchair races – this is the day Sydney shines. This year will feature 2 pyrotechnic displays – one at Darling Harbour & the other at Circular Quay –  as well as possibly the lighting of the Sydney Opera House & the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons in green & gold for the 1st time in the event’s history! If you’re not in Sydney, you can watch ‘Australia Day 2017 – Live At Sydney Opera House’ (which will feature the Circular Quay fireworks) live on Channel Ten/WIN from 7:30pm AEDT* on Australia Day!

27 January–12 February 2017 – Chinese New Year Festival 

Projections on the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons & the Australian National Maritime Museum will be a new feature for this year’s Chinese New Year Festival while the Sydney Harbour Bridge & Opera House as well as many other local landmarks will continue to be illuminated in red during the first 3 days of the Festival similar to last year. A fireworks display on the 27th of January in Farm Cove will coincide with the switching on of the red lighting of the iconic Sydney structures to welcome in the Year Of The Rooster!

25 March 2017 – Earth Hour

Created in Sydney a decade ago, Earth Hour now occurs around the world. This ‘spectacular’ sees the lights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & the Sydney Opera House turn off for 1 hour to convey a practical message on the environment. Head down to the Sydney Harbour foreshore & have a candle-lit picnic or attend one of the organised Earth Hour events around Sydney! If you’re not in Sydney, participate at home by turning your lights off for 1 hour at 8:30pm!

24 March to 23 April 2017 – Handa Opera On Sydney Harbour: Carmen

A temporary open air opera theatre on the foreshores of Sydney Harbour with the iconic view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge & the Sydney Opera House in the background. With dazzling sets, a performance worthy of a standing ovation & a spectacular fireworks display to top it off, this is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone but spaces are limited so book your tickets now!

7 to 13 May 2017 – United Nations World Road Safety Week

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is lit up with yellow light emitting diodes (LED) for United Nations World Road Safety Week!

26 May to 17 June 2017 – Vivid Sydney

Famous for their Sydney Opera House projection shows, the LED show on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as well as the many projection shows and light displays on the Light Walk, Vivid Sydney is now just as big as Sydney NYE.  Also featuring live music & creative industry events, this is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone from outside of Sydney.

From 28 June 2017 – Badu Gili

A new experience that will light the Sydney Opera House’s famous sails every evening in celebration of the rich history & contemporary vibrancy of Australia’s 1st Nations culture.

You can download the official Badu Gili soundtrack by clicking here.

17 October 2017 – Diwali

Watch the Sydney Opera House light up in yellow/orange/golden colours to celebrate Diwali!

11 November 2017 – Remembrance Day

See the Sydney Opera House be covered in poppies (To Be Confirmed) as New South Wales remembers their Australian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.

25 November 2017 to 25 December 2017 – Sydney Christmas

Featuring projections on St Mary’s Cathedral & lighting on the Sydney Town Hall & other various city structures, Sydney Christmas brings the spirit of Christmas to Sydney in truly spectacular style. Check out the lighting ceremony of the massive interactive Christmas Tree in Martin Place, which features fireworks, for a truly magical night! Maybe Santa Claus will turn up?

31 December 2017/1 January 2018 – Sydney New Year’s Eve




The grand finale of ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ – the original, biggest & best – Sydney New Year’s Eve, the world’s biggest annual & most technologically advanced fireworks displays in the world! Without a doubt, this is a once in a lifetime experience for anyone from outside of Sydney.

That is all?

No! Many other ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ may occur throughout the year such as more Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge pylon projection shows but these other ‘Sydney Spectaculars’ are usually announced with short notice so keep an eye out on our blog if one gets announced unexpectedly.

I cannot visit Sydney to see a ‘Spectacular’ fireworks display. Can I see a non-‘Spectacular’ fireworks display on Sydney Harbour on another day?

Yes! Pyrotechnic displays frequently occur on Sydney Harbour so check our countdowns on the side of our blog to check when the next one is & where the most iconic view of the display is!

*Check your local guides for broadcast times outside of New South Wales.

International Sign Language To Welcome Guests To Sydney New Year’s Eve

For the 1st time, American & British sign language will be projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons to welcome international visitors this Sydney New Year’s Eve (Sydney NYE).

The City Of Sydney introduced the ‘Welcome To Sydney’ Auslan sign language projections in 2013, which will now feature alongside their international counterparts.

Research by leading analysts Stollznow revealed more than 46% of those who attended last year’s Sydney New Year’s Eve had travelled from overseas specifically to attend the event.

“We’re committed to being a city that is inclusive and accessible for visitors from all around the world & we want to ensure more people than ever can enjoy the celebrations” Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said.

“The introduction of British & American sign language projections allows deaf communities from around the globe to further enjoy the celebrations with Sydney”

Gerard O’Dwyer was the 2015 Don’t DisMYability Ambassador & enjoyed last year’s Sydney New Year’s Eve at the Cahill Expressway vantage point. Catching the train to Martin Place, he & his family were pleased with the support available across the city.

“It was quite easy getting the train into the city & walking to the Cahill Expressway. On the walk to the event, there were people offering directions which was very helpful” Gerard said.

“I had the time of my life – the crowd seemed happy & the fireworks were spectacular. I enjoyed the celebrations so much, I would love to attend again”

“Leading up to the night, Mum & I went online to get details on the best way to get into the city on New Year’s Eve. The information was very helpful”

“My advice to anyone heading into the city would be to leave plenty of time to get there & be prepared for large crowds”

As a Don’t DisMYability Ambassador, Gerard promoted equal treatment & equal opportunities for people with disabilities.

“I ask everyone this New Year’s Eve to be kind, show each other respect & treat everyone equally”

Sydney New Year’s Eve 2016 offers 8 designated accessible viewing areas for people with disabilities to enjoy the festivities with family & friends. The areas cater for those with sensory, neurological, psychological, cognitive & learning disabilities. The designated accessible viewing areas have been organised in collaboration with the Department Of Premier And Cabinet & other government agencies.

Pirrama Park in Pyrmont provides a less-congested, family-friendly vantage point on the harbourside. With an accessible spinner in the playground, children with & without disabilities can play & enjoy the Park’s facilities. It also provides accessible toilets, access ramps where required & a designated drop-off zone on Darling Island Road.

Pirrama Park image
Pirrama Park Photograph: Sydney New Year’s Eve

Other designated accessible viewing areas include Ballarat Park, Barangaroo Reserve, Cahill Expressway, Goat Island, Mary Booth Reserve, Mrs Macquaries Point & the Sydney Opera House. Bookings are essential.

Go to sydneynewyearseve.com/accessibility for detailed descriptions of each viewing area & to make your booking.

The audio description broadcast will again offer people with blindness or low vision the chance to experience the spectacular Sydney NYE fireworks with the rest of the world. Listeners will hear a high quality live audio description of the Welcome To Country, 9pm Family Fireworks, Harbour Of Light Parade & the Midnight Fireworks.

Leading up to the night, event guides will be distributed across the city centre at train stations, information centres, libraries & service centres. Event guides are available in large print, Braille and audio format & are available in Chinese, Spanish, Korean, German &  Japanese. Download or request event guides from sydneynewyearseve.com/event-guide

Sydney For All provides accessible tourist information including things to do & options for getting around. Head to sydneyforall.com for more information.

Those staying at home can enjoy the celebrations through the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)’s broadcast of the event which offers live closed captions through its television & online services. 2DayFM broadcasts the soundtracks for the 9pm Family Fireworks & the Midnight Fireworks through their radio station 104.1FM.

People can listen to the ABC audio description on ABC Extra via your computer or device on: abc.net.au/radio  or abc.net.au/radio/digital/extra

  • Download the ABC Radio smartphone application for iOS or Android
  • Listen on your computer on the ABC Radio website
  • Look for ‘ABC Extra’ on your digital radio receiver

The City Of Sydney offers an interactive accessibility map to assist in planning the best route around the city. Head to www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/explore/getting-around/accessibility/accessibility-map for assistance in planning your night.

There will be major road closures &special event clearways in the city centre, on the harbour foreshore, North Sydney & lower north shore. To help plan your route on the night, you can use an interactive map that also features public transport information: sydneynewyearseve.com/road-closures/.

For a list of accessibility smartphone applications to assist with transport, head to transportnsw.info/en/travelling-with-us/keep-updated/apps/accessibility.page.

If you want to find out more about how to get to the city for Sydney NYE, go to www.sydneynewyearseve.com or call Transport Information on 131 500.

 Contact the City Of Sydney for assistance with planning your night:

Sydney New Year’s Eve Accessibility Officer:

Email: nyedisability@cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au

Phone: +61 2 9265 9333

For wheelchair-accessible taxi bookings, call 02 8332 0200 or visit zero200.com.au.

Media Release: Sydney New Year’s Eve