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.

Sydney Spectaculars Returns At The Stroke Of Midnight!

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‘!

Less than 24 hours until 2023!

‘Sydney Spectaculars’ Not Providing Event News Until COVID-19 Pandemic Eased Enough To Guarantee NSW Public Health

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.

Until next time…

City Buildings Return For Sydney NYE2022 In Diversity-Themed Midnight Fireworks

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)
  • Grosvenor Place
  • 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.

The 4 city buildings used for Sydney NYE2022
Photograph: Transport For NSW/Google Maps

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.

Stace Cadet

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.

The Re-Right Collective
Photo by Renee Nowytarger/City Of Sydney 30/11/22

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

Win A Trip To Australia Day In Sydney 2023!

Until 11:59pm Thursday the 15th of December, Australian residents (minimum long-term visa) have a chance to win a trip for 4 to Australia Day In Sydney 2023 – a ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectacular – thanks to the Australia Day Council Of New South Wales (NSW)!

To enter, submit a video or photo that you captured that showcases Australia’s unique diversity or that represents Australians on the entry webpage. Some handy hints & tips can be found here.

All approved (by Australia Day Counil of NSW) entries will appear online here before the Australia Day Council of NSW narrow the entries to a shortlist of 20.

4 celebrities will then judge your work:

  • Casey Donovan (Stage star & Australia Day Live performer/host)
  • Dami Im (Singer-songwriter & Australia Day Live performer)
  • Costa Georgiadis (Gardening guru)
  • Donny Galella (Fashion stylist)

They will determine the winner as the entry that best demonstrates Australian identity and culture and/or what makes Australia or Australians unique.

The winner will be announced on the Australia Day Council of NSW’s online platforms on Thursday the 22nd of December at 5pm.

They will win tickets to:

  • WugulOra Morning Ceremony (4 x Very Important Person (VIP)),
  • Ferrython (4 x on board a competing ferry),
  • Australia Day LIVE (4 x VIP including pre-concert performer meet & greet backstage)


  • AUD$550 to enjoy Australia Day In Sydney,
  • 2 nights accommodation (25/26 January) in a Sydney central business district hotel’s double/twin-share rooms (x 2) valued up to AUD$1500 (excluding goods & services tax (GST)) and,
  • if Sydney is not your closest capital city, 4 return economy airfares from your closest capital city to Sydney valued at up to $6000 (excluding GST).

The winning entry may also feature in the official broadcast of Australia Day LIVE!

For more information on the ‘Only In Australia’ Australia Day In Sydney 2023 competition, click here.

11pm WorldPride 2023 Sydney Harbour Bridge Light/Pylon Projection Show Plus Other New Sydney NYE2022 Details

A Sydney Harbour Bridge light and pylon projection show to promote WorldPride 2023, a biannual international LGBTIQA+ festival hosted by Sydney next year, will feature at 11pm during Sydney New Year’s Eve (NYE) 2022.

Sydney successfully bid for the festival in 2019 and will host it between the 17th of February & the 5th of March with a million people attending over the 17 days.

An artist impression (above) has been released supposedly of the 11pm show. Of note, is the symbol in the middle of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It strikes a resemblance to the iconic and now former Bridge Effect, which last featured at the 2014 edition. From what Sydney Spectaculars can tell, no Bridge Effect will feature at Sydney NYE2022 as there is no structure on the Sydney Harbour Bridge to support a Bridge Effect. This is significant as Bridge Effects (back in 2014) began construction as early as August and no Bridge Effect of that size has begun construction as late as October (2000, after the Olympics). Whilst it may be possible that a Bridge Effect is being considered for the actual WorldPride 2023 event, construction of it would have to start imminently.

Sydney NYE has twice promoted LGBTIQA+ issues: firstly, at Sydney NYE2017 – Wonder when a rainbow waterfall fell from the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the tunes of Go West (Pet Shop Boys cover) by The Village People to mark the legalisation of same-sex marriage in Australia, which came into effect 22 days prior & secondly, during the Sydney NYE2021 – See Sydney Shine‘s Welcome To Country finale when Indigenous drag Queen Nana Miss Koori, presented a handcrafted rainbow message stick to the Lord Mayor, Clover Moore.

Shortened Radio Broadcast

After a couple of years doing 12-hour broadcasts from 3pm to 3am, KIIS 106.5FM have roughly halved the broadcast for the 2022 edition. It now begins at 6pm, followed by the Calling Country soundtrack at 9pm and the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack before finishing at 12:30am. KIIS 106.5FM is the exclusive radio broadcaster of the Calling Country (9pm) & Midnight Fireworks soundtracks.

Harbour Of Light Parade No Longer In Name Only?

An interesting amendment to the Sydney New Year’s Eve schedule is the removal of the Harbour Of Light Parade name, which has been used since Sydney New Year’s Eve 2000: 100 Years As A Nation, Millions Of Years As A Land. It is now simply called Sydney Harbour Lights.

Also, for the first time since 2000, the City Of Sydney is not exclusively producing this event item. It is now being organised by Banks Events on behalf of the Commerical Vessels Association in co-ordination with the City Of Sydney.

In the only sign of status quo, Sydney Harbour Lights is still boats lighting up Sydney Harbour at 9:15pm before a 1 hour and 45-minute parade begins at 9:30pm, concluding at 11:15pm. The lights are later synchronised to the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack.

There is no sign that the lights will be synchronised to Calling Country.

The Harbour Of Light Parade was not held in 2020 & 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making the 2019 edition the last edition it had its trademarked name.

Media Launch

The media launch for Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 will be held on Wednesday the 30th of November 2022 at 11am. The venue is the Royal Botanic Gardens. Media launch details reveal the likelihood that Calling Country, returning after a 2-year absence, has been creatively consulted by Re-Right Collective, a collaboration between artists Dennis Golding & Carmen Glynn-Braun residing at Artspace.

They follow Blak Douglas, who did a magnificent job in creating an expanded Welcome To Country last year to temporarily replace the 9pm Family Fireworks. His artistic talent was emphasised later in 2022 by winning one of Australia’s most prestigious art prizes, the Archibald Prize. What will the Re-Right Collective produce for Calling Country 2022, where the original Calling Country is joined with last year’s Welcome To Country? It’s a hard act to follow when an Archibald Prize-winning artist led the expansion.

From the Artspace website, we can see Carmen Glynn-Braun focuses on truth & trauma particularly in regard to Indigenous women while Dennis Golding, critiques Indigenous representation by comparing Australia’s colonial history with pop culture references particularly through the motif of a cape. Combined, through art, they truth-tell with sensitivity.

Of note, Artspace says ‘Carmen Glynn-Braun believes the survival and resilience of Aboriginal people makes for compelling and important subject matter and deserves a celebratory and respected platform within the arts (one that is well overdue)’. A worldwide audience of 425 million people on one of the most celebrated nights of the year at one of the biggest events in the world may well be that platform particularly if Calling/Welcome To Country no longer becomes just a COVID-19 pandemic replacement for the 9pm Family Fireworks.

It should be pointed out that a Welcome To Country will not feature as part of Calling Country this year but will precede it as a separate event at 8:57pm. Sydney Spectaculars believes both will be broadcast & Calling Country will immediately follow the Welcome To Country, with an Indigenous ‘countdown’ (based on last year’s Welcome To Country start) concluding the Welcome To Country.

Based on media launch details, Sydney Spectaculars speculates Calling Country will conclude with a performance by Brolga Dance Academy, an Indigenous dance school from Redfern.

Note: You may have noticed 425 million was written 2 paragraphs ago. In 2019, the City Of Sydney revised the figure from 1 billion after an audience evaluation. That is half an audience lost – a dramatic drop but since when and why we do not know yet still, but audience fragmentation due to the Internet is a possible cause.

More details should be released about Sydney NYE2022 on Wednesday!

Vivid Sydney Continues To Break Records Even During A Pandemic

Earlier this year during May & June, Vivid Sydney returned after 2 years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whilst the pandemic is still raging around the world, the event continued to break records showing Sydneysiders will still have confidence regarding major events in a post-COVID-19 world.

The New South Wales Government revealed a new attendance record was set: 2.58 million people over 23 days – a rise of 7.3% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. This equates to an average of about 112,000 per day at Vivid Sydney. Compare that to the official 2022 opening weekend attendance of 440,000 people, another record attendance, which is about double the average attendance (220,000 per day). The opening night itself received 140,000 attendees.

But it didn’t beat the behemoth that is, the (former) Queen’s Birthday long weekend where 636,000 people attended (318,000 per day).

About 81% (2.1 million) of all Vivid 2022 visitors had a meal during their event visit, which shows the importance of a culinary experience at Vivid. Organisers have emphasised this recently by announcing an official expansion of the event to include a new Vivid Food program in 2023. However, most (66%) bought takeaway meals. 701,000 people (or 33% of meal purchasers) ate at a restaurant, cafe or hotel and whilst this may be the less popular choice, it grew as an option by 24% on its previous record.

Public transport usage also grew by 3% to 63% of (1.6 million) attendees while 90,000 people (4% of total visitors) viewed Vivid Sydney from cruises (which themselves are mostly part of a light display) but it shows most Vivid Sydney visitors view the lights not on the water.

While Vivid Light once again is the focus of the event with 96% of the attendance, attendances of the other Vivid programs in 2022 are:

  • Music: 70,100 (3%) (about 701 people per performance on average)
  • Ideas: 27,942 (1%) (about 263 people per session on average)

Vivid Light‘s newest precinct at Central Station & The Goods Line received 45,000 visitors (1,957 visitors per day, 2% of total & Light-only visitors), once again showing that nothing can remove the magnet that is Circular Quay.

1% (20,434) of Vivid visitors go on to travel around New South Wales post-event. It may be a small percentage, but it brings $12.2 million to the regional New South Wales economy.

There were also more than 72,000 family groups with small children in prams as well as 8,912 mobility participants and 5,000 wheelchair participants.

Also, more than 108,000 Vivid Sydney travel packages were bought contributing to a total of 567,249 total nights stayed in commercial accommodation during the event.

Media wise, there were 21,000 media clippings, which was double than 2019 & a 48.4% increase in website traffic on 2019, reaching 2.7 million hits. #vividsydney reached 353 million people while official social media content reached 81 million people (16% increase on 2019). Lastly, there were 411,000 viewers of official live streams on Facebook & TikTok, showing people prefer to be at the event than via a screen.

All up the event brought a $119 million boost to the New South Wales economy.

Volunteers from ages 18 to 89 also contributed 11,498 hours to the event.

After all that, it is no surprise that Vivid Sydney ended up winning 14 medals at the 2022 International Festival & Events Association Pinnacle Awards.

We have seen unprecedented attendance for Vivid Sydney 2022, which is wonderful to see and a clear sign Sydney is back bigger and better than ever

The stats speak for themselves and reflect the significant contribution the festival makes to the city’s economy with local hotels, bars, restaurants, tourism operators and small businesses all reaping the benefits. 
Almost 30 per cent of attendees came from outside Sydney, with a significant portion of visitors then travelling into regional NSW, generating $12.2 million to regional economies. 
World-class events like Vivid Sydney are all about helping to boost the NSW economy, create jobs and showcase why Sydney is the best place to live.

Minister For Tourism, Ben Franklin

Applications Closing Soon For Sydney NYE2022 Volunteering!

Applications close on Monday the 28th of November for the Sydney New Year’s Eve 2022 Volunteer Program!

Based at information kiosks around the Central Business District and also roving the city, these volunteers provide information to the event’s audience.

The 2022 Sydney NYE Volunteer program is being run by Better Impact.

Successful applicants will receive access to an exclusive vantage point, an official cap, statement of service & a certificate of appreciation as thanks for helping with the event.

Applicants need to be over 18 years of age, available on Tuesday the 20th of December and NYE & have local Sydney city centre knowledge as well as a polite, friendly manner.

Being fluent in a 2nd language is desirable & customer service experience is welcomed.

There are shifts available as early as Tuesday the 27th of December.

If you apply, you may be selected for an interview, which will be held up to Monday the 5th of December. A mandatory volunteer briefing session will be held on Tuesday the 20th of December with all new volunteers having to attend an extra on-site city walk on Tuesday the 27th of December.

Team leader roles are also available, where you manage up to 10 volunteers. Previous volunteer team leader experience is desirable. There is no different process to apply for a team leader – you just need to nominate yourself in your general application – but all successful team leader applicants need to attend a mandatory briefing on Tuesday the 6th of December.

The shifts before NYE are in information kiosks at Customs House or the Queen Victoria Building for about 6 hours, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

The shifts on NYE are in the above information kiosks as well as in roving teams for about 4-8 hours, three times during that day – one in the morning, one in the afternoon & one in the evening.

You can nominate any shifts in your application and during the selection process, you will receive more information.

Only 37 days to go until 2023!

Wings Over Illawarra 2022 Drops Jaws

Photograph from Classic Aircraft Photography

About 30,000 people’s jaws dropped at Wings Over Illawarra 2022, held about two weekends ago.

It began on the Friday when the first ever Schools & Careers Open Day (a non-general public day) was held. It was headlined by a C-130J flyover at 12pm, which was viewed by 1,500 students and prospective aviators. The same C-130J then landed and was put into position as a static display for the 2 public air show days.

Saturday was a sublime day with the new Warbird Balbo successfully debuting with 8 warbirds in the sky including the Lockheed Hudson, Grumman Avenger, Vought F4U Corsair, Supermarine Spitfire MK VIII, CAC CA-18 Mustang, Focke Wulf Fw-190, CAC Boomerang & Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk in what was the penultimate display of the day.

A skydive demonstration kicked off the air show by Skydive Australia before the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes did their signature formation flying display, accompanied by 3 fireball pyrotechnics to conclude their show with their ‘bomb-burst’ formation finale.

A few hiccups followed – the English Electric Canberra TT-18 arrived early immediately after, piloted by the former head of the Australian Defence Force, Mark Binskin. After the Lockheed C121-C Super ‘Connie‘ Constellation flew, the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Twins, a set of 3 aircraft consisting of the C-47 Dakota/Douglas DC-3, a Grumman S-2G Tracker & a DHC-4 Caribou, were to do a flypast but the C-47 Dakota/Douglas DC-3 was not able to take off.

As the afternoon started, the Focke-Wulf Fw-190 & Supermarine Spitfire Mk VIII (of which 2 appeared at the air show) did a new dogfight demonstration, which was opened with a simulated ‘air raid’ of Shellharbour Airport by the Focke-Wulf Fw-190, complete with fireball pyrotechnics & simulated gunfire across the runway.

The Saturday successfully ended, though a bit late, with the headline act – the F35 Lightning II, the newest military jet of the Royal Australian Air Force. Unlike last year’s debut display, it did not shoot flares off the aircraft, but it did conclude with the explosive Wall Of Fire (as spectacularly pictured above by Classic Aircraft Photography) .

Sunday was expected to have significant amounts of rain compared to the Saturday. There was even forecast the possibility of an afternoon severe thunderstorm. Organisers, therefore, reorganised the flying display program on the morning of, prioritising the more popular displays such as the simulated ‘air raid’ and dogfight demonstration & most significantly, the F35 Lightning II & the Wall Of Fire, which was brought nearly 4 hours forward. The opening skydive demonstration also did not take place and the Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes, whilst remaining in its opening timeslot (minus the fireball pyrotechnics, which was added to the F35 Lightning II handling display) left early at approximately 1:30pm due to poor weather at their Sale, Victoria base.

In a spot of luck, the weather remained a lot better than forecast all day for spectators but at the expense of a totally reorganised flying program. Safety is paramount at air shows, so the flying program changes were needed especially as wind shear, a hazardous meteorological phenomenon for aircraft, was a feature of the morning for the pilots. The Warbird Balbo, though, remained in its timeslot and concluded the Sunday but it was reduced to 5 warbirds. Most of Sunday’s flying program went ahead in the end, albeit in a different order.

Despite the reorganised Sunday, both days saw aerobatic displays by Paul Bennet, Glenn Graham, Matt Hall and The Sky Aces as well as a plethora of warbirds & historic aircraft, both in the air and on display on the tarmac. In the air, there was a L-39 Albatros and an AP-3C Orion among others while on the ground, there was an F-111 and of course, the iconic City Of Canberra Boeing 747. There was also static Australian Defence Force aircraft, exhibits, stalls as well as drone racing. The latter of which was live streamed in full over the 3 days, which was won in the end by Davey FPV. A vintage military vehicle and German World War II exhibit (the latter complete with re-enactors) rounded out the static exhibits which were accompanied by general aviation exhibitors & scenic helicopter flights by Touchdown Helicopters. An expanded amusement ride carnival, The Captain’s Carnival with its signature ride, Speed & new food and wine tasting such as Wings Winery provided some alternative entertainment.

Wings Over Illawarra has landed as the latest flagship ‘Sydney Spectacular’ and we look forward to seeing how this (already large) event grows into the future.

Remember, if you missed the air show, the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Museum, which is based at Shellharbour Airport, is open nearly year-round and holds monthly Tarmac Days, which if you’re lucky, may feature their historic aircraft taking flight.

But the time to be at Shellharbour Airport is Wings Over Illawarra – the newest ‘flagship’ Sydney Spectacular! Until November 2023!

Sydney Remembers The Fallen Of World War I

At Friday dawn, the Sydney Opera House was lit up with projections of poppies as a service was held across the Harbour at the Overseas Passenger Terminal to commemorate the fallen of the 1st World War.

The projections were repeated again at 8pm that night.

RSL NSW President Ray James OAM reciting The Ode
Photograph: RSL NSW

Attended by veterans, RSL NSW members, currently serving members, their families, the Minister for Transport, Veterans & Western Sydney & the general public, the dawn service featured The Ode being recited by the President of the Returned & Services League New South Wales (RSL NSW), Ray James OAM before the Army Bugler performed The Last Post across Circular Quay.

The projections of poppies have been an annual Sydney Opera House night projection held on every Remembrance Day since 2014. A dawn projection was introduced in 2020 and a dawn service in 2021, both most likely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. All dawn services have been held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

RSL NSW President Ray James OAM reciting The Ode, alongside the Minister For Transport, Veterans & Western Sydney, David Elliott
Photograph: RSL NSW © Salty Dingo 2022

As a mark of thanks from the state of NSW, travel was made free for Australian Defence Force members and families all day on Remembrance Day.

Minister For Transport, Veterans & Western Sydney David Elliott said 11 November was a day to pay respect to & remember those who have given their lives in service to Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions as well as their families.

Remembrance Day Poppy Projections on the Bennelong sails of the Sydney Opera House
Photograph: RSL NSW © Salty Dingo 2022

Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the beginning of the enforcement of the armistice of World War I, which began at 11am on the 11th of November 1918. Services were held around the world to remember the fallen & the war with a minute’s silence at the 11am mark.

Remembrance Day gives the community an opportunity to pause and reflect on the courage, resilience and sacrifice service men and women have shown for our nation. The poppy projection on the Sydney Opera House is a simple reminder for people here, and around the world, to ‘remember to remember’ those who have come home injured or ill, in body or spirit, and all those who bravely serve our country today

RSL NSW President, Ray James OAM

For more than a century, red poppies have been used as a symbol of community respect and recognition, marking the end of fighting in the First World War

Minister for Transport, Veterans & Western Sydney, David Elliott