Last night from 8:40pm, the Sydney Opera House was lit up red in its annual traditional illumination to celebrate Lunar New Year.
Red is chosen as it is regarded as a symbol of good fortune and luck.
First lit up in red in February 2013 for Chinese New Year, the illumination’s presence saw the City Of Sydney’s Chinese New Year celebration, which had started in 1996, expand, peaking in 2017 with the included additions of a Sydney Harbour Bridge red (pink as well in 2019) illumination amongst other city landmarks and a fireworks display in Circular Quay to coincide with the beginning of the illuminations. The event was renamed Sydney Lunar Festival in 2019, to take into account non-Chinese celebrations of Lunar New Year & the expansion was suddenly dropped in 2020 and is now held at just below its pre-2013 scale, which it has been ever since. However, the Sydney Opera House red illumination, which is independent of the City Of Sydney event, remains. Lunar New Year in Sydney, nevertheless, was and still is the biggest celebration of the event outside of Asia – a feat that should not be ignored.
Lunar New Year last 15 days from the 1st new moon of the lunar calendar until the 2nd next full moon. The 2023 Lunar New Year celebration began on Sunday the 22nd of January and will end on Monday the 6th of February.
The NSW Government has been joining communities across the state to celebrate this significant cultural event for more than a decade.
While Lunar New Year is significant to many across the state, it also represents much of what we all stand & hope for in a new year, especially new beginnings.
To everyone celebrating the Lunar New Year, I wish you all prosperity, good health and fortune for the year ahead.
Dominic Perrottet, Premier Of NSW
You will be hard-pressed to find such rich diversity proudly championed and celebrated like it is in NSW.
It is about showing communities and the world that we welcome everyone and value our diversity.
I wish everyone a prosperous and happy Year of the Rabbit & for those from a Vietnamese background, a very happy Year of the Cat.
Australia Day In Sydney has announced their 2023 program and will see Australia’s Got Talent act The Other Superman doing a world-1st performance spinning high off a crane above Circular Quay in his wheelchair during Australia Day LIVE – the 2-hour finale concert, fireworks, projections & maritime spectacular held at that location.
The Other Superman‘s not-so-secret identity is Paul Nunnari, a silver medallist wheelchair racer at the 2000 Paralympic Summer Games in Sydney and Gunniess World Record holder for the ‘Most 360-degree rope rotations in a wheelchair hanging by one arm in 1 minute (team of two)’, which is 77 rotations!
Normally, he performs at a minimum height of 6 metres but this time a crane is being used and we have no idea how high the crane is going to be but we assume it is going to be fairly high compared to his usual aerial acrobatics!
He is also a public speaker so there is a chance he may make a small speech at Australia Day LIVE.
Produced by the Australia Day Council of New South Wales (NSW) and the NSW Government and brought to you by Destination NSW and the National Australia Day Council, Australia Day LIVE will be held at Circular Quay & the Sydney Opera House between 7:30pm & 9:30pm AEDT and will be broadcast live on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Television (TV) & iView. Tickets, which were free, have already sold out on January 11 (same day tickets became available) for the concert at the Sydney Opera House. To attend in person, you will now need to find a vantage point around Circular Quay before it reaches capacity around 6:45pm AEDT. Pre-show entertainment begins at 6:30pm.
Australia Day LIVE will, once again, be creatively directed and hosted by John Foreman, joining co-hosts Casey Donovan, Jeremy Fernandez and new for 2023, co-host, Sirine Demachkie. They will lead you through a night of entertainment acts including:
Fireworks & projections on the Sydney Opera House
Fireworks from Circular Quay
A concert (detailed below)
A lit vessel parade
Koomurri dancers and,
It is important to all of us to begin ‘Australia Day LIVE’ with a moment that looks at the Aboriginal perspective of Australia Day that celebrates artists from all over the country in different locations
Christine Anu is performing ‘My Island Home’, a song that was originally recorded by the ‘Warumpi Band’ in the ‘80s & has an incredible lineage in Indigenous culture, together with symphony orchestras from across the country.
William Barton, ‘Australia Day Live’ Creative Consultant & Performer
The evening concert, with its powerful performances and tributes, adds greater meaning to our national day & celebrates the Australian spirit.
‘Australia Day Live’ will celebrate artists from around each state and territory across the country, with several symphony orchestras collaborating on a mesmerising opening piece.
‘West Australian Symphony Orchestra’, ‘Queensland Symphony Orchestra’ and ‘Aussie Pops Orchestra’ will all come together to perform a stunning live rendition of ‘My Island Home’, sung by Christine Anu & her daughter Zipporah.
‘Australia Day LIVE’ Creative Director, John Foreman OAM
All this non-musical entertainment will be synchronised to a medley of Australian hits and classics performed live by the following artists in addition to the already mentioned at the televised concert, backed up John Foreman’s Aussie Pops Orchestra:
Dami Im will perform Hunters & Collectors rock song, Throw Your Arms Around Me, accompanied by the Fijian abattoir workers who volunteered and uplifted Lismore residents who suffered during the 2022 eastern Australian floods between February & April last year.
Before Australia Day LIVE, there is a still a day’s worth of entertainment beginning at 5:20am with Dawn Reflection – a projection on the western sails of the Sydney Opera House of a First Nations artwork. This year the artist is proud Kamilaroi artist, Rhonda Sampson and the artwork, for the 1st time, will remain a secret until 5:20am on the 26th of January!
This is followed at 7:30am with the hour-long WugulOra (‘1 Mob’) Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve, which will be it’s 20th anniversary! Televised on ABC TV & iView, the ceremony features Indigenous stories, musical & dance performances, speeches from dignitaries and local Indigenous people as well as a smoking ceremony.
2023 will be the 3rd year for the ‘Dawn Reflection’ which is an important part of starting the day where Aboriginal people are represented. It is a moment to reflect on what it means for this new dawn and reflect on what took place every day prior to 1788 and each day since.
It’s also 20 years of the Australia Day morning ceremony – ‘WugulOra’ is respectful in honouring those who have fallen, continue to suffer but is also about moving forward & how as a state and country we can do this with the First Nations.
Yvonne Weldon, Deputy Chair of the Australia Day Council Of NSW & the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council
After these 2 significant Indigenous events, at 10:30am, in the middle of Sydney Harbour near Fort Denison, 4 Emerald-Class ferries containing community groups, charities & hundreds of displaced Ukrainians who now call Sydney home will race eastward around Shark Island before finishing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at around 11:20am in the annual Ferrython!
Following that, at 11:30am, will be the newest flagship Sydney Spectacular, the Salute To Australia, which you can read about here.
Between 12:45pm & 2pm, the Harbour Parade, a parade of vessels covered in Australian-themed decorations, will circle Sydney Harbour from either side of the northern Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons to Goat Island, back under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, past Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House & Fort Denison to Athol Bay near Taronga Zoo.
Between 10:30am & 4pm at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, will be a Mega Kidz Zone containing wheelchair basketball, an inflatable ninja obstacle course and a massive maze! Finishing at 4pm as well but beginning 30 minutes earlier at 10am on the Tallawoladah Lawns of the Museum Of Contemporary Art will be Surf Life Saving NSW with a lifesaver dress-up photo opportunity, educationary entertainment on the great work they do alongside with the Little Nippers to educate everyone about beach safety and other family-friendly activities.
All in all remember to reflect, respect and celebrate this Australia Day In Sydney!
This all but brings a full day program of events of flagship Sydney Spectaculars at Australia Day In Sydney for the 1st time:
5:20am to 5:50am: Dawn Reflection
11:30am to 12:05pm: Salute To Australia
12pm to 1:30pm: Navy Helicopter Flag Display
7:30pm to 9:30pm: Australia Day Live
Salute To Australia is, primarily, a military salute. It began in 2010 as just an Australian Army 21-gun salute fired from just north of the Fleet Steps on the western side of Mrs Macquaries’ Point in The Domain into Farm Cove at 12pm to commemorate the Federation of Australia, which was its 99th anniversary at the time (Reminder: The actual Federation anniversary is on 1 January). An 180 metre exclusion zone is in place around the salute when the weapons are armed.
A 21-gun salute stems from the 1700’s when a foreign warship was about to enter a foreign port (let’s use Port Jackson as the example). Outside of the Heads, out of cannon range, which is about 5 kilometres from the coast, the foreign warship would fire each of its cannons, one at a time. As loading cannons is a time-consuming task, the ship was neutralised more after each succeeding shot and could be considered friendly. To check this, Port Jackson would fire 3 cannons for each cannon heard from the foreign warship. 3 bursts of fire were chosen due to superstitions that even-numbered cannon bursts would signal death. Given British ships at the time had 7 cannons, this made the total bursts of cannon fire, 21. Over the past 300 years, it evolved from a security measure, which became redundant in the 1950’s, to a symbol of peace between nations to a military salute (as well as a gesture of friendship between the military and who the salute is being performed for).
In 2011, the 21-gun salute was performed by the Australian Army’s 7th & 23rd Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery, the latter who also performed it in 2012.
In 2014, the salute was expanded to include a Royal Australian Air Force flypast/handling display finale around Sydney Harbour and a Royal Australian Navy salute from a warship stopped in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, which is called a Procedure Alpha. Originating from the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, a Procedure Alpha involves nearly all sailors on the warship to be stationed at an external part of the ship of their choosing, evenly spaced apart & in full dress uniform. The inaugural saluting ship was Her Majesty’s Australian Ship (HMAS) Choules, a dock landing ship, where the Governor Of New South Wales (NSW) reviewed the salute. The 21-gun salute was also relocated in this edition to Milsons Point inside Bradfield Park underneath the north-eastern pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and it was the 1st edition to feature the words Salute To Australia in it’s name.
In 2015, a performance of the national anthem, Advance Australia Fair, by choirs placed around Sydney Harbour was added to the event. A once-off hat tip by the Royal Australian Navy & Australian Army personnel attending the event also occurred. In 2015 & 2016, 2 landing helicopter dock ships were the saluting ships: HMAS Canberra (which hosted numerous dignitaries) and HMAS Adelaide, which is larger (In fact, it is the Navy’s largest ever flagship).
In 2017, it’s timeslot was moved forward by 15 minutes to 11:45am to permanently include an address by the NSW Governor, who spoke from the saluting ship, which was HMAS Canberra that year & in 2018. A Welcome To Country and a speech from Indigenous Elder, Uncle Allen Madden, as well as a video about Australia’s newest citizens was included in 2017. The choirs, which included Tribal Warrior Choir & school choirs, were also now located solely at vantage points around Circular Quay (Hickson Road Reserve, Overseas Passenger Terminal, Sydney Opera House, Bradfield Park ), who performed Waratah, I Am Australian & Advance Australia Fair, the latter with iconic Australian singer, Tina Arena, which concluded with the aerial salute done that year by a Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.
In 2018, it’s timeslot was moved up by another 15 minutes to the current 11:30am slot and a performance of Bapa was added just for that edition. That year, over 500 school children participated in the choirs including 1 choir on the ship, Young Endeavour & 3 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets did the aerial salute, beginning the flypast in formation.
In 2019, a once-off radio broadcast & audio description (89.3FM) was added. Musical performances by The Royal Australian Navy Band and a smoking ceremony first appeared. HMAS Choules (where the NSW Governor was) & Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets were the saluting ship and aircraft (the latter, beginning in formation) in 2019 respectively while HMAS Canberra returned for the role in the 2020 edition.
Then COVID-19 arrived. The 2021 edition was unique in that it had its only television broadcast so far, was held at the later timeslot of 2pm with a shortened duration of 30 minutes and was held at the NSW Government House. Frontline workers were also invited to the 2021 edition, which also saw 2 permanent changes: specially-chosen new citizens were invited to the event & the national anthem was sung with a version in Eora language.
Last year’s edition was streamed on YouTube and is now held at Hickson Road Reserve, underneath the south-east pylon of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (though the 21-gun salute is still held underneath the north-east pylon in Bradfield Park on Milsons’ Point) where the NSW Governor now makes their address. They are welcomed to the event with a Guard made up of Australian Army personnel, which they formally inspect before proceedings begin. A Welcome To Country now follows along with a speech, which in 2022, was about Patyegarang, Lieutenant William Dawes and the significance of the land & spoken by Clarence Slockee. A video about Australia’s newest citizens was also played after that speech before I Am Australian was sung by the now-sole choir, Monty Saint Angelo Mercy College Choir (which is now just located at Hickson Road Reserve) featuring Matthew Doyle playing the didgeridoo, which he also does during Advance Australia Fair, which was also accompanied by jet skiers, each holding, in turn, either the Australian National or Australian Aboriginal Flag. HMAS Paramatta, a frigate ship, was the saluting ship & the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II now does the aerial salute formation flypast and handling display finale, now complete with commentary (which was done in 2022 by Australian Air Commander Air Vice-Marshal V.J. Iervasi, though the event actually now concludes with a private, unaired citizenship ceremony.
As you can see, it is now a Spectacular event! As far as we can tell, the 2023 edition will be similar to 2022 though there will be only 2 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft performing the aerial salute. A YouTube broadcast has not been confirmed yet.
The Navy Helicopter Flag Display was introduced last year as a 2-hour display from 11:30am, the start of Salute To Australia. The helicopter with flag in tow lifts off from HMAS Penguin navy base near Middle Head before exiting Sydney Harbour to travel to Palm Beach (For international readers, this is the backdrop for television soap opera, Home & Away) and back before travelling up & down Sydney Harbour and then south down the coast to the Shoalhaven River which it travels up to Nowra before landing at the nearby HMAS Albatross naval air station at 1:30pm. As far as we can tell, the 2023 edition will be similar, but it will run for 90 minutes from 12pm. This very likely will not be broadcast though it may make a cameo appearance during the potential Salute To Australia broadcast.
The 2023 edition of the Navy Helicopter Flag Display will also occur during the following other Australia Day In Sydney events:
However, these 3 events are not considered flagship Sydney Spectaculars.
It also means aviation-based Australia Day events in the following local governments will be focused on more by our site:
Northern Beaches Council
Municipality Of Woollahra
City Of Randwick
City Of Wollongong
City Of Shellharbour
Municipality Of Kiama
City Of Shoalhaven
The Municipality Of Kiama will be holding a helicopter flag display with the Australian National & Aboriginal Flags along their coastline at 10am & 3pm that day and the City Of Wollongong will be holding a flypast along it’s coastline at 5:45pm that day by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society but those aerial displays will not be considered as flagship Sydney Spectaculars as they are still COVID-19 pandemic responses.
Sydney Spectaculars will be providing coverage of the 2023 edition of Australia Day In Sydney and from that event on, we will also be considering military salutes on Sydney Harbour.
Why these events you ask?
With the addition of Wings Over Illawarra in October last year, major annual aerial displays are now considered and on Sydney Harbour, these usually occur only on the 26th of January. The 2023 edition only has 2 aerial displays that have been held before with a consistent history – the Navy Helicopter Flag Display and the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II formation flypast salute and handling display segment of the Salute To Australia. The Salute To Australia, has, as detailed above, grown significantly over the years, particularly since 2014 and gathers the 2nd largest crowd during the day (The biggest crowd being for Australia Day Live). Also, we believe in the near future, aviation-based events such as drone shows will play a central role in Sydney Harbour events, as shown by the recent Elevate Sydney, Sydney Harbour’s first annual drone show and the southern hemisphere’s largest.
To acknowledge their history, growth, our site’s new ‘policy’ of considering aviation-based events & the future growth in such events, we have decided to designate Salute To Australia & the Navy Helicopter Flag Display as flagship Sydney Spectaculars.
Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred, this would have been announced a year ago for Salute To Australia.
What if I cannot attend the event?
The Salute To Australia last year was live streamed on YouTube. However, it has not been confirmed for 2023 yet so do not expect a live stream to appear on the ‘Watch LIVE’ page just yet. However, if prior to the event, they announce, confirm or on the event weekend, publish a live stream, we will promote it.
The Navy Helicopter Flag Display will very likely not be broadcast though it may make a cameo appearance during the potential Salute To Australia broadcast.
Vivid Sydney is a bright star on Sydney’s events calendar supporting the entire ecosystem of the state’s visitor economy during winter, from our creative industries to live entertainment and hospitality venues, accommodation providers and retailers.
Our aim is to be the premier events destination of the Asia Pacific and this internationally renowned, and celebrated, event is vital in realising this vision.
Ben Franklin, New South Wales Minister For Tourism & The Arts
Vivid Sydney was also nominated for ‘Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event (National)’ (but lost to BASS IN THE GRASS Music Festival) and ‘Australian Event Of The Year’ (but lost to AIME).
Just days after welcoming in 2023 with its first big NYE party since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sydney has welcomed its first annual drone show event – Elevate Sydney!
Held between January 3rd and January 7th, Elevate Sydney is an entertainment festival held on the Cahill Expressway but each night at 10:30pm, eyes looked skyward above Circular Quay for the Elevate Sydney Skyshow – the largest drone show in the Southern Hemisphere.
Containing 600 drones, the 5-minute drone show, with a theme of water & ecological sustainability, saw the creation of many images of sea creatures from Sydney Harbour led by an ‘anthromophic’ Benny the Seal. For international readers, Benny the Seal is a real seal who can be found occasionally sunbathing at the Sydney Opera House on Bennelong Point between Vivid Sydney & September.
Elevate Sydney was first held in the 1st 5 days of 2022 thus making the 2023 edition the first consequentially held drone show over Sydney Harbour. Drone shows made their debut on Sydney Harbour in 2016 as part of Vivid Sydney, when a then-world-record-breaking 100 drones took to the skies of Farm Cove as part of a world record attempt by Intel. The world record is now currently around 5000 drones – a record held by China.
5 and a half years later, drones finally returned to Sydney Harbour for the 1st edition of Elevate, when they set the Southern Hemisphere-record up to 500 and since then, 3 other drone shows have been held – another one at Vivid Sydney to promote the Paramount+ streaming service (which broke the Southern Hemisphere-record to the now-equal 600), Art Up, a nightly drone show to commemorate the re-opening of the Art Gallery Of New South Wales (NSW) over 9 nights in early December and 2 Christmas-themed shows – 1 at Noel Sydney, a new Christmas event and 1 at Darling Harbour – both held numerous times roughly in the week before Christmas.
It begins at 10am with the 2.5 hour Elevate Family (formerly Kids). This session is targeted at children aged under 13 and their parents with the 2022 edition’s session being bookended by live interactive performances of the Australian world sensation television series, Bluey. Hosted by Play School hosts, Michelle Lim Davidson & Matthew Backer, who also run their own twice-held daily event segment called Story Salad, other Elevate Family content includes Monski Mouse (a disc jockey for babies), The Gagliardies and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. This session was not held on the first event day as it was in 2022.
In 2022, Elevate Kids was held earlier and longer for 4 hours from 8am. Hosted by children’s entertainment personality, Justine Clarke, each day began with a wellness session by former Wiggles dancer, Lauren Hannaford, before Ready, Set, Dance & disc jockey Romeboy take the reins. Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium & everyday item musicians, Junkyard Beats round out the entertainment which are headlined on the first event day by Australian global sensation, The Wiggles, and by Simon Wiggle & Friends on the latter days. The latest Australian global sensation, Bluey, also appeared on the first 3 event days before the characters of Kangaroo Beach appeared in Bluey‘s place on the final day.
Back to 2023 and the next 2.5-hour session begun at 2:30pm and it is called Elevate Social. This consists of 2 75-minute electronic music and/or disc jockey sets. Headliners each day from 4th January were, in chronological order, Young Franco, Anna Lunoe, Kito & The Jungle Giants. They were supported, again in chronological order, by Running Touch, Harvey Sutherland, Touch Sensitive & Kinder.
In 2022, Elevate Social was a completely different event. It was 3-hour variety event held from 2pm called Elevate Arena. Hosted by comedian Joel Ozbourn, it begun with interviews, conducted by former Sydney NYE television broadcast co-host Stephanie Brantz, with sporting personalities. This was followed by performances by The Drummer Queens, The Hula Queen, DB Freestyle (a freestyle football act) and The Tap Pack. On the first 2 event days, Worlds Collide, a multi-cultural music band was the finale while in the latter 2 event days, it was Barrio Soul. Sporting personalities interviewed included:
NSW dragon boat racing champion, Andrew Wong (final event day),
Under 23 Australian road cycling champion, Emily Watts (2nd event day),
A-League soccer runner-up goalkeeper, Jada Mathyssen-Whyman (3rd event day)
Australian (Rules) Football League runner-up footballer, Tom McCartin (4th event day),
A-Leaguesoccer champion, Rhys Williams (2nd event day),
Matilda, Remy Siemsen (3rd event day),
Matilda, Emily Van Egmond (3rd event day),
3-time Australian beach running champion, Ali Najem (2nd event day),
Rugby League World Cup silver medallist, Brian To’o (2nd event day),
FIBA World Cup silver medallist, Katie Ebzery (final event day),
Rugby World Cup silver medallist, Micheal Hooper (3rd event day),
Rugby League World Cup gold medallist, Tom Trbojevic (4th event day),
Cricket World Cup gold medallist, Ashleigh Gardner (2nd event day),
Cricket World Cup gold medallist, Brad Haddin (3rd event day),
2-time World Netball Championship gold medallist, Kimberlee Green (final event day),
Olympic silver medallist beach volleyballer, Mariafe Artacho del Solar (3rd event day),
Olympic silver medallist high jumper, Nicola McDermott (3rd event day),
3-time Paralympic silver medallist rower, Erik Horrie (final event day),
2-time Paralympic gold medallist wheelchair racer, Madison de Rozario (4th event day) and,
5-time Olympic gold medallist swimmer, Emma McKeon (final event day).
The final, main session is at 8pm & last 3 hours. It is called Elevate Nights & unlike the other sessions, it is held every event day. Essentially, it is a nightly concert hosted by Sydney NYE concert television broadcast co-host, Zan Rowe. Headliners in 2023, in chronological order, are, Ya Girl Party B (2 sets), Spacey Jane, Amy Shark, The Veronicas and Sampa The Great. Supporting them are Client Liaison (1st event day), Thelma Plum & Ruby Fields (2nd event day), Mallrat & Becca Hatch (3rd event day), Betty Who & Drax Project (4th event day) and Northwest Party House & Wafia (final event day). All event days apart from the 1st one open with a house disc jockey.
Back in 2022, it started an hour earlier at 7pm (with the drone show being 30 minutes earlier at 10pm also to conclude the session) and was called Club Elevate. It was a slightly different event with theatre included with each night taking a different name (list below in chronological order):
Elevate Sydney Final Night
As you can see above, they quickly ran out of unique names (Note: ‘First’ is a pun referencing both the first event night and First Nations) so it’s not surprising they stuck with a simple Elevate Nights label for all nights in 2023.
Elevate First begun with a Call To Country designed by Sydney NYE2008-2010 Creative Director, Rhoda Roberts, before performances were held by Indigenous artists, Electric Fields (support act) & Troy Casser-Daley (headliner).
Elevate Discotheque was headlined by Leo Sayer with support acts by Marcia Hines & Courtney Act, the latter who also acts as host. Elevate Encore is headlined by Lime Cordiale and supported by Peking Duk. Elevate Music was hosted by Triple J‘s Ebony Boadu and featured the following artists: BVT, CXLOE, Hauskey, L-FRESH the LION & Ngaiire, while Elevate Sydney Final Night was headlined by Tones & I, supported by Tim Minchin & hosted by Joel Ozborn after Courtney Act had to pull out.
One constant between the inaugural edition & the 2nd edition was that the drone show soundtrack was composed both times by DOBBY (Rhyan Clapham) featuring Uncle Matty Doyle. The 2023 soundtrack, which was available live online during the drone shows for the 1st time, also featured Kelsey Iris, who opened the soundtrack. All 3 artists are descendants of the Murruwarri people of north-western NSW.
The 2022 drone show had a generic theme of ‘Summer Sydney’ particularly as it was the first edition of the event. The 2022 event also had an augmented reality smartphone experience produced by Charles Clapshaw of Futures of Art and notably had strict COVID-19 protocols, given the public health situation at that time.
Something new in 2023 was the introduction of the world’s longest bar – the aptly named Long Bar! Stretching 127 metres along the Cahill Expressway facing the north over Circular Quay, this bar operated during the Elevate Social & Elevate Night sessions during the final 4 event days.
Whilst tickets to sit at the bar are free, each ticket is only valid for a 1-hour window. There are no tickets handed out for the Long Bar during Elevate Family sessions, particularly as there is, rightly, no alcohol service during that session but the bar is still available to be sat at any time for an unlimited time during that session (if a seat is available!).
Back to the Elevate Social & Nights sessions, an add-on food & beverage package costing $50 per person is also available, which includes a “glass of NSW beer or wine served with a grazing selection featuring the finest of NSW produce”. If you do not purchase the package, there is still other food & beverages being sold at the Bar during those sessions. Also, if you have a ticket for the Long Bar you enter via an elevator on the eastern Circular Quay promenade that is goes up to Expressway level! This elevator is not used during Elevate Family.
Commissioned by Destination New South Wales to help with the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic & produced by AGB Events with producer Olivia Bradley, Elevate Sydney is the beginning of a new dawn in annual events over Sydney Harbour – the biggest since projection mapping was introduced in 2008 for Sydney New Year’s Eve, which later sparked the phenomenal success of Vivid Sydney, which began a year later. Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director of AGB Events, Anthony Bastic, said at the 2022 Elevate Sydney launch:
The coupling of technologies and applying them to outdoor public events greatly enhances the audience experience & will certainly set a benchmark for future events. This world-class initiative really positions New South Wales as a leader in event innovation, & what a stunning debut it will be over Sydney Harbour.
We are very grateful for the support & efforts of the many agencies who have worked with us to realise this project. This is an industry we really want to nurture and promote. The Intel pilots travelling to Australia and sharing their knowledge is an amazing opportunity to grow the expertise of local drone operators
Anthony Bastic, Chief Executive Officer & Creative Director of AGB Events
The 2022 edition’s Cahill Expressway sessions, which had a capacity of 3200, reached full capacity on the penultimate Elevate Kids session & the final 3 Club Elevate sessions. Sydney Spectaculars estimates no more than 63,000 people attended Elevate Sydney 2022 (average maximum 13,100 per day, that is day 2-5) including 18,000 around Circular Quay over the 5 nights to watch the SkyShow (average 3,600 per night) in addition to the maximum 3,200 watching from the Cahill Expressway. Day 1 of the event (New Year’s Day) had an estimated attendance of no more than 3,660 given it was only held at night and also, understandably, Sydney had a big night the previous night.
Intel, who did the drone show at The Games Of The XXXIInd Olympiad: Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony and the first Sydney Harbour drone show at Vivid Sydney 2016, did not return in 2023 with a local company, Mirragin, instead taking the reins.
While the 2023 attendance statistics are yet to be announced, all sessions sold out while the penultimate Elevate Social session was cancelled and the first Elevate Nights session finished early (the SkyShow still went ahead on time in the end, fortunately, though), both due to the weather.
The gate shown in the video, whilst closed for capacity reasons at the time of the crowd crush, is clearly for entry/exit purposes with a sign attached to the gate saying ‘conditions of entry’.
Sydney Spectaculars has circled in red the crowd crush location in the map above that The Rocks published online for event spectators. As you can see, there is no mention of an entry/exit gate to be located there. There is, however, 8 entry/exit gates shown on the map. 2 of which are for free vantage points – East Circular Quay (Gate E1) & Dawes Point (Tar-ra) Park (Gate 13 and likely Gate 16 as well).
The Rocks is a free vantage point as well with the gates opening in the video to it. This is evident as a nearby electronic variable messaging sign says ‘Rocks Now Closed’. The Rocks, whilst free, was not a ticketed vantage point.
Notably, out of all the vantage points featured on the above map, The Rocks is the only vantage point without foreshore access, which might explain why the gate was not featured on the map. Another reason is that The Rocks normally does not fill up until 11pm on NYE.
While no official attendance figure has been published yet, Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 is expected to have had the highest attendance on record – over 2 million people – as a result of being the 1st celebrations largely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020. This came as vantage points filled up at 6:47pm, 4 hours quicker than usual, except the main locations (Sydney Opera House/East Circular Quay) which filled up at the usual time in the late-morning & mid-afternoon respectively.
The Rocks had a capacity of 18,000 a week ago, which might sound a lot if it was not for the fact that this is a decrease of more than half of the capacity it was on NYE2019 – 40,000!
Why would the capacity of The Rocks be halved when one of the largest crowds ever were expected to attend the event? NYE2020 & 2021 were lowered due to public health concerns but it is also likely that recent temporary design changes to George Street in The Rocks made from September 2020 such as making it an one-way southbound-only street between Argyle Street & the Cahill Expressway to include alfresco dining probably has reduced event capacity significantly. It was announced a few days prior to NYE2022 that the changes will be made permanent. It should be noted that the temporary changes are harder to relocate temporarily (concrete blocks etc.) than if it was permanent (just tables, chairs & umbrellas).
Though it was not the main cause of the crowd crush, rather a contributory cause, no doubt, the use of alfresco dining during major events, particularly after 11pm on NYE, will need to be reviewed as it takes up valuable spectator space. The main cause of the crowd crush probably was poor communication of either the use of alternative unofficial vantage points (such as the back streets of the suburb of Dawes Point assuming they were not full as well, which is a 5-minute walk away. It should be pointed out this is not on the ‘show’ side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge) or the full capacity of The Rocks throughout the city via outdoor advertising, radio and/or the Internet (We were monitoring the Sydney NYE website throughout the day and the event & did not see the 6:47pm ‘All Vantages Points Closed’ announcement leading us to think until the new year that crowds were still low (but higher than NYE2021) and why aren’t other free vantage points except the Opera House & East Circular Quay filling up like usual?)
Spectators could have been redirected to Darling Harbour. However, that area’s fireworks is not considered part of the official event, even if it is listed on the Sydney NYE website as an official vantage point. There are views of the fireworks but at a distance of 2 kilometres away so spectators may have resisted making the 2km trek back there.
The Rocks were contacted by Sydney Spectaculars about the map but they did not respond to our query by the time of publication.
On January 1, following media inquiries about the crowd crush, a statement was issued by the City Of Sydney:
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.
City Of Sydney spokesperson
The City Of Sydney were contacted by Sydney Spectaculars for a copy of the crowd management plan for The Rocks vantage point but they were “unable to share the document”.
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.
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.
After an absence of 4 weeks, Sydney Spectaculars have decided to return to post major event news, just in time for the Midnight Fireworks of Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022!
COVID-19 case numbers have lowered sufficiently over the past week that we believe the public health of New South Wales is protected so if you’re in Sydney, head on down to the Harbour tomorrow and help Sydney New Year’s Eve reach back to an attendance of 1 million people in what is to be the biggest Sydney New Year’s Eve bash in 3 years!
This comes as New South Wales recorded 27,665 new cases in the past week (as of 30th December). The decrease in cases (currently 10,945 cases less per week) is accelerating.
The City of Sydney is working with New South Wales Health & Ambulance to ensure a COVID-19-safe event. Like last year, most of the Sydney Harbour foreshore is ticketed as a COVID-19 precaution.
Before heading to a vantage point to watch Calling Country and/or the Midnight Fireworks, Sydney NYE spectators are encouraged to support local businesses on the night as businesses are still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Full news coverage of Sydney NYE2022 on Sydney Spectaculars will not occur until the Midnight Fireworks begin. However, we will still be updating the Sydney NYE2022 webpage throughout the 31st of December and live coverage will be provided from our ‘Watch LIVE’ webpage from 6pm AEDT with the beginning of the radio broadcast with the visual broadcast beginning at 8:30pm AEDT!
If you cannot access this website, the official fireworks soundtrack radio broadcaster is KIIS 106.5 FM (from 6pm-12:30am AEDT) and the official television/concert radio broadcaster is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (from 8:30pm AEDT on television, 9:15pm AEDT on radio. Tune into 702AM if you’re down on the Harbour for the concert radio broadcast, which is synchronised to the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show. Both the concert radio & television broadcast conclude at 12:20am). For the vision impaired, ABC will audio describe Calling Country and The Midnight Fireworks on the ABC Listen app. The audio description may also be available on 2RPH.
Lastly, we have some exciting plans for the future to announce shortly including the unveiling of new flagship ‘Sydney Spectaculars‘!
Sydney Spectaculars prides itself on providing information on Sydney’s major pyrotechnic, light, projection and air events that allow visitors from all around the world to see Sydney in it’s most spectacular form in a safe way.
Since, at the heart of what we do is promote major events, we believe it is in the best interest of the public health of New South Wales if we stop providing news on Sydney’s events until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased enough to guarantee New South Wales’s public health.
This comes as NSW recorded 37,796 new cases in the past week (as of 2nd December) in what is New South Wales’ 4th wave. New South Wales Health officials have stated they expect this wave to be short and peak a lot earlier than previous waves. The increase in cases (currently 6,265 cases extra per week) is slowing down.
Regarding Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022, the event has not been affected as of writing. The City of Sydney is working with New South Wales Health & Ambulance to ensure a COVID-19-safe event. Like last year, most of the Sydney Harbour foreshore is ticketed as a COVID-19 precaution. As businesses are still recovering from the pandemic, Sydney New Year’s Eve spectators are encouraged to support local businesses on the night before heading to a vantage point to watch Calling Country and/or the Midnight Fireworks.
If you cannot attend the event. the official fireworks soundtrack radio broadcaster is KIIS 106.5 FM (from 6pm AEDT) and the official television/concert radio broadcaster is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (from 8:30pm AEDT on television, 9:15pm AEDT on radio). For the vision impaired, ABC will audio describe Calling Country and The Midnight Fireworks on the ABC Listen app.
For the rest of the news from the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 media launch, please click here. For information on any COVID-19 cases arising from attendances at any Sydney Spectaculars and future Sydney Spectacular news, please refer to the mainstream media.
Sydney Spectaculars, in the meantime, will focus on researching the history of these events and we will still update the site, when the events are held, to provide the ever popular event videos and information & for Sydney New Year’s Eve, the fireworks soundtrack listings. The Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 page will be created throughout December.
We will just not provide news updates.
We have some exciting plans for the future including the unveiling of another new ‘Sydney Spectacular‘ but these will not be revealed until the COVID-19 pandemic has eased enough so the public health of New South Wales is guaranteed.
To stress, we are not waiting until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide event news updates. We are waiting until we believe the public health of New South Wales is protected enough from COVID-19. Then we will provide event news updates again.
4 city buildings will feature during the fireworks displays of Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2022 – their 1st appearance in a decade.
This was anticipated by Sydney Spectaculars, who was expecting the return of city buildings as the Sydney Opera House’s ‘decade of renewal’ comes to an end next year. The ‘decade of renewal’ was the reason the Sydney Opera House was returned as a fireworks location from NYE2013 – the first time since its inaugural appearance at the turn of the millennium.
At the media launch, the official reason for the addition of the 4 city buildings after a decade was to “expand the footprint” and because “it would be a good time to (re)introduce them”, according to Sydney NYE2022 Fireworks Director, Fortunato Foti.
The 4 buildings are:
Overseas Passenger Terminal
Quay Quarter Tower (the new version of the former AMP Centre, opened early 2022)
Crown Sydney (2nd tallest structure in Sydney, opened 28 December 2020)
The latter building being the 2nd time a casino has featured as part of the fireworks since Star City Casino featured in Sydney NYE1997 to celebrate it’s opening.
Also, the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack is a world premiering dance track called Follow The Lights by platinum-selling, Australian Recording Industry Award-nominated music producer, disc jockey & vocalist Stace Cadet featuring vocal powerhouse KLP.
Stace Cadet was very honoured at being chosen:
The Sydney fireworks are so iconic and I am thrilled to be a part of this momentous occasion. I wanted to complement the light display with a cinematic journey purposely designed to articulate the joy that surrounds ushering in the new year and celebrating the last. I’m beyond grateful to have the insanely talented KLP and her amazing vocals featured.
Sydney NYE2022’s Midnight Fireworks will also be themed to diversity, beginning with a rainbow being formed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge BEFORE the countdown, which will be started by pyrotechnic “infinity pods” on the Bridge bringing Sydney together, shooting mines & comets. A rainbow waterfall will feature during the display, most likely during the opening sequence.
From 184 firing points on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 7000 pyrotechnic effects will fire during the Midnight Fireworks. The Sydney Opera House’s 4 sails will have 2000 pyrotechnic effects fire off them as well.
Out of 16,000 individual firework cues, the Midnight Fireworks will feature the colours of aquamarine, lemon & magenta as well as waterfall shells in silver and willow shells that crackle with gold & glitter in green and yellow.
With so many people finally able to come and watch the fireworks in person, we really wanted to make sure they were in for something special as we all come together to share this amazing experience
This year we’re launching fireworks from four city rooftops as well as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. This will let us create a ‘Panorama of Pyro’ which will be sure to wow crowds.
As with every year the soundtrack and pyrotechnics work hand in hand to create the phenomenal experience that is Sydney New Year’s Eve.
The fireworks are ultimately the performers and the night sky their stage, what we do is give them the freedom to dance.
If we can bring everyone together in celebration and get them looking forward to the New Year ahead with renewed optimism and joy, then we see that as a job well done.
Foti International Fireworks director, Fortunato Foti
The 2 fireworks displays of the night, Calling Country & The Midnight Fireworks, will contain 8 tonnes of fireworks including 35,000 shooting ground-based effects (such as comets, mines and crossettes), over 13,000 aerial shells & over 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects, from all firing locations including 7 water-based platforms such as the 6 barges – the first time the full set of barges has appeared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will take 18 shipping containers, more than 5000 crew hours, 16 computers and 35 kilometres of data link to put on the fireworks displays.
First Nations storytellers will celebrate local histories and contemporary experiences through art, song, sound and dance.
While we honour the histories of our First Peoples of this Country, we recognise the strength and resilience that also exists in our First Nations youth, who lead us into the future.
Re-Right Collective Artist, Dennis Golding
As revealed earlier this week, Calling Country is being creatively consulted by The Re-Right Collective. What we did not know was that the creative consultation was being done in collaboration with Gadigal artist Nadeena Dixon, who has helped design the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections for Calling Country. Her pylon projections highlight the story of Gadigal fisherwomen with illustrations of land, water, marine life & figures of her ancestors.
As hinted in our previous article, the Calling Country pylon projections designed by The Re-Right Collective will honour Aboriginal women’s knowledge and resilience & to celebrate Indigenous peoples who care for Country, kangaroos draped with superhero capes will feature. The latter is Dennis Golding’s creation (He dreamt becoming a superhero). The kangaroos celebrate this land’s First Peoples who have always cared for Country while the superhero capes recognises Aboriginal cultural identity’s strength. More than 100 young First Nations artists from schools across Sydney have also designed superhero capes & animators have brought to life some of their artworks’ elements for the pylon projections. In addition, they have each written a story in their Indigenous language, with each being translated for projection onto the pylons. Carmen Glynn-Braun’s pylon projections feature the moon as a symbol of connection to Country indicating time, seasons, fertility & new beginnings.
The Calling Country fireworks will feature peonies and umbrella aerial shells, both in sky blue, and pastel peonies in red, orange & lemon to symbolise the sky & sunburnt country respectively. Fireworks will also represent twinkling stars, sunburnt florals and ocean creatures. There will also be strobing & ghost shells as well as a waterfall off the Sydney Harbour Bridge (most likely not a golden waterfall, which is expected to appear exclusively during the Midnight Fireworks)
All of this will be set to a unique soundtrack from sound artist Salllvage (Rowan Savage) featuring Nadeena Dixon as vocalist. It uses recordings of animals & water collected on Gadigal Country alongside a song in language about fisherwomen who lived and gathered food on Sydney Harbour. After the soundtrack, there will be a debut live performance from the Brolga Dance Academy (as hinted in our last article), Gadigal singer-songwriter, Akala Newman and hip-hop artist/rapper, Kobie Dee, which highlights the strength and resilience of First Nations peoples & explores connections of their own to Country. It will conclude with the presentation of a specially created message stick to City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.
The overall theme for Calling Country this year is Sky, Land & Sea and tells of a journey from sunrise to sunset.
City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, said the City Of Sydney is committed to celebrating First Nations stories in the public domain:
This year’s talented artists have created music, visual art and performances that celebrate Sydney’s rich First Nations identity and people, and the glorious land and ocean that surrounds us.
The City is committed to increasing recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage in the public domain, and New Year’s Eve provides the opportunity to do so loudly and proudly in front a global audience.
City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore
A smoking ceremony from the Tribal Warrior will open the event at 7:30pm while before Calling Country at 8:57pm, 2 Elders from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council will welcome visitors to Gadigal Country as part of the Welcome To Country.
The 11pm WorldPride 2023 Sydney Harbour Bridge light & pylon projection show, revealed in our last article, will last 3 minutes and may feature a synchronised light show on the Sydney Harbour Lights boats as well. It is also officially called the WorldPride 2023 Moment and will feature the Progress Pride colours. Hosted by Jeremy Fernandez, a wider surrounding televisual segment will feature performances by Electric Fields, Courtney Act & Casey Donavan, most likely from the televised concert (which is mentioned in more detail below).
The lighting designer is once again Ziggy Zeigler of 32 Hundred Lighting, returning for his 6th edition and the pylon projections are being produced by Vandal for the 2nd year in a row.
The City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, is also expecting a crowd of 1 million people to return for the 1st time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sydney’s iconic fireworks are the best in the world and kick off global celebrations with a spectacular bang.
As we go over the final plans and get ready for the countdown, we are hopeful this will be our best New Year’s Eve yet!
After the challenges of the past few years, we’re excited to welcome international and interstate visitors back to Sydney to mark the beginning of what we hope will be a safe, peaceful and fabulous 2023.
Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to ring in the New Year and we set the benchmark with a spectacle that showcases the best of what our city has to offer as a stunning and safe, inclusive and buzzing destination.
This year’s fireworks displays include a special celebration of the original custodians of our land and, as we ready to host WorldPride 2023, projections, coloured comets and pyrotechnic showers will turn the iconic Harbour Bridge into a spectacular rainbow.
We are not out of the woods of the pandemic yet and its impacts are still being keenly felt throughout the community. We’re hopeful this celebration provides some relief from the challenges faced over the past few years and an opportunity to look with hope to the new year.
Our service, hospitality and tourism industries have particularly struggled through the pandemic but are now making the most of strong, pent-up demand and starting to bounce back. I encourage everyone in the community come join us this New Year’s Eve and make a night of it. Make a reservation at a restaurant or bar to start your evening, stay overnight at a hotel and support our terrific Sydney businesses.
City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore
The City of Sydney is working with NSW Health & Ambulance to ensure a COVID-19-safe event, this year costing $5.88 million to put on. The event currently contributes $280 million to the Sydney economy. Like last year, most of the Sydney Harbour foreshore is ticketed as a COVID-19 precaution. The City Of Sydney provides 6 of the many vantage points. However, unlike most of the vantage points, their vantage points are free of charge and for 4 of them, ticketed. Facing questions from journalists at the media launch, Lord Mayor of the City Of Sydney, Clover Moore, agreed that the other vantage points, which are run by either local governments or the NSW Government and require a fee, should consider lower the current price of their fees to encourage event visitation.
It should be kept in mind, particularly for international visitors, that New South Wales is currently in its 4th COVID-19 wave. It is not yet of sufficient concern to affect the event but businesses are still recovering from the pandemic so Sydney NYE spectators are encouraged to support local businesses on the night before heading to a vantage point to watch Calling Country and/or the Midnight Fireworks.
There is a chance the 4th COVID-19 wave will be of sufficient concern to affect the event by the 3rd December, at which point Sydney Spectaculars will once again cease to post updates on our site until the public health of New South Wales once again can be guaranteed. NSW Health officials have stated they expect this wave to be short and peak a lot earlier than previous waves.
If you cannot attend the event. the official radio broadcaster is KIIS 106.5 FM (from 6pm AEDT) and the official television broadcaster is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) (from 8:30pm AEDT). For the vision impaired, ABC will audio describe Calling Country and The Midnight Fireworks on the ABC Listen app.
Hosted by Charlie Pickering (the new ‘Richard Wilkins’), the ABC broadcast will begin, simulcast on ABC ME, with The Early Night Show, which itself is hosted by Rhys Nicholson, Casey Donovan, Gemma Driscoll along with surprise guests. After Calling Country, at the start of Sydney Harbour Lights, is Zan Rowe, returning as concert co-host to guide you through performances by Tones and I, Ball Park Music, Vika and Linda, Dami Im, Morgan Evans & Tasman Keith.
The concert will also be aired on the entire ABC network including social media, local ABC radio (so if you’re down on the Harbour, tune in on 702AM from 9:15pm) as well as ABC International for global audiences.
We’re thrilled to be ringing in another new year with our partners City of Sydney to deliver yet another unforgettable NYE celebration. We hope that Australians at home and around the world join the ABC in celebrating what we expect to be a magical night
ABC Director of Regional & Local, Judith Whelan
At the media launch, journalists inquired whether drones have been discussed or imagined to be added or to replace the fireworks. The Lord Of Mayor of the City Of Sydney, Clover Moore, confirmed drones will be used during Sydney NYE2022 though Sydney NYE2022 Fireworks Director, Fortunato Foti, confirmed they will not be used for fireworks. This indicates drones will most likely be used as part of the ABC broadcast. However, Fortunato Foti conceded drones being added for fireworks as “probably inevitable and a matter of how and when we do it”. He also acknowledged that they already have someone to collaborate with for drones. In fact, drones have already been used for fireworks at the conclusion of the 2021 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
The official charity partner of Sydney NYE2022 is The Smith Family, who help disadvantaged children get the most out of their education through long-term support and evidence-based programs.
As part of Sydney NYE2022, The Smith Family is holding a raffle. You can buy up to 20 tickets at a time, with funds going to The Smith Family’s Learning For Life program, which provides long-term support for the participation of young Australians in education.
3rd prize is 2 premium tickets to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at Sydney Lyric Theatre with chocolate & drinks (Valued at $320.00); 2nd prize is 2 nights accommodation at Pullman Melbourne On Swanston, 2 premium seats to Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap and a Webjet voucher (Valued at $2,120.00) while 1st prize is a return trip to London for 2 people thanks to Singapore Airlines including 2 nights stay in the centre of London (Valued at $10,674.36).
You can enter here with entries closing 11:59pm, Sunday the 8th of January 2023 AEDT.
The Smith Family has supported children and young people for 100 years, and today we are helping more children than ever to achieve their potential through the transformational power of education.
We are so proud to mark the end of our centenary year as the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve official charity partner, and with the generous support of the community, we can help even more children experiencing disadvantage to create better futures for themselves.
Chief Executive Officer Of The Smith Family, Doug Taylor