Media releases

Entertainment legends inspire NYE fireworks odyssey

Published 28 December 2016

David Bowie, Prince and Gene Wilder will take centre stage this New Year’s Eve, with their songs inspiring never-before-seen fireworks effects over Sydney Harbour.

In a tribute to three of the entertainment legends who passed away this year, spectacular new firework designs will shower from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, rain from barges on the harbour and explode in a space odyssey above the city.

“This year sadly saw the loss of many music and entertainment legends around the world. Celebrating their music as part of the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks displays is an opportunity to reflect on the year that’s been and celebrate what the future holds,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“I’m sure we’ll all be star struck by the amazing firework effects this New Year’s Eve.

Among the wonderful displays will be spectacular new designs inspired by three artists lost to us in 2016.

“Sydney is especially significant for David Bowie, who called Elizabeth Bay home for a decade from the early eighties, filming music videos and recording an album here.

“Prince performed in Australia many times and his Sydney Opera House concert was one of his last. And I know children and adults everywhere will delight in the colourful Willy Wonka moment during the midnight fireworks.”

New Year’s Eve Fireworks director Fortunato Foti, said the New Year’s Eve soundtrack had inspired never-before-seen firework formations this year.

“We’re always evolving the effects and coming up with new techniques, and this year we were really excited by the music soundtrack and how we were able to bring it to life visually,” Mr Foti said.

“Over the past 20 years we’ve used hundreds of different shapes and designs, and this year we’ll be adding to that. It’s going to be a real buzz seeing these shine over Sydney for the first time.”

Each year, the fireworks display starts with the music soundtrack. It is compiled by Sydney New Year’s Eve soundtrack producer, Alex Gooden, and completed by early September to allow for the complex technical and design process.

A crowd of one million spectators is expected to gather along the Sydney Harbour foreshore to watch the fireworks spectacular, while an estimated global audience of one billion will see broadcasts of the fireworks.

For the first time Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks will be live streamed on Facebook, reaching a global audience of more than 10 million Facebook followers.

The City of Sydney has brought together broadcast partner the ABC and peak tourism bodies Tourism Australia and Destination NSW to live stream the world’s most famous firework show.

“Sydney New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the world. By making the most of digital technology that’s available for the first time this year, we can put Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show in the palm of people’s hands around the world – right as it happens,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our world famous New Year’s Eve is one of the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations that generates more than $130 million annually for the NSW economy.

“This is an opportunity to further showcase Sydney to the world as we bring the harbour to life like never before.”

Sydney’s world class events are a major drawcard for overseas visitors, with statistics showing half those attending the 2015 New Year’s celebrations Sydney had travelled from the US, China, UK, Germany and other parts of Europe.

Well over a million people attended Sydney’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and according to leading research analysts Stollznow, more than 46 per cent travelled from overseas specifically to attend the event.

The 2016 Sydney New year’s Eve celebrations include:

6pm – Aerial displays above Sydney Harbour by flying ace Matt Hall

8.30pm – start of the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Projections

8.38pm – Welcome to Country ceremony

9pm – Family fireworks

9.15pm – Harbour of Light Parade

Midnight – Main fireworks display

Audiences can watch the live stream of the Welcome to Country, the 9pm fireworks and the midnight fireworks on, the one-stop shop for planning your night on the harbour, at home or across the globe.

The New Year’s Eve 2016 spectacular will be broadcast in HD on ABC TV and ABC iview with the fireworks also streamed live on ABC TV Facebook.

Sydneysiders can tune into 104.1 2DayFM for the exclusive soundtrack at 9pm and midnight.

Follow the event on Twitter and Instagram (#SydNYE) and Facebook (@cityofsydney) for up-to date information.


For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Advisor Belinda Wallis on 0467 810 160 or   

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Paul Mackay on 0432 182 647 or