Media releases

Sydney sets pulses racing with Aretha tribute

Published 28 December 2018

A tribute to the late great Aretha Franklin with never before seen firework effects will light up the skies this New Year's Eve as Sydney celebrates with a world-beating pyrotechnic display.

Inspired by the theme, The Pulse of Sydney, and the classic soul tune (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Sydney is set to be dazzled with a new pulsating firework in gold, silver and purple.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney New Year's Eve celebrations will once again set the benchmark for the rest of the world to follow.

"This special night brings together people from all over Sydney and visitors from around the world to ring in the New Year - and I'm sure we'll delight in seeing our beautiful harbour lit up like never before," the Lord Mayor said.

"New Year's Eve is a perfect time to reflect on the year that's been, and it's also a marvellous opportunity to honour artists that have passed, such as the much-loved Aretha Franklin.

"Sydney's world-beating celebrations generate more than $133 million annually for the local economy and further showcases Sydney to the world."

New Year's Eve fireworks director, Forch Foti, said he relished the challenge to come up with the biggest and best fireworks show to date.

With over 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects on the night, 2018 will see more fireworks lighting up Sydney harbour than ever before, including:

  • 8.5 tonnes of fireworks (500kg more than in 2017)
  • 35,000 shooting comets (5,000 more than 2017)

This year, the Sydney Harbour Bridge will take centre stage during the 9pm and midnight fireworks shows.

"The Harbour Bridge is a stunning structure that really lends itself to being at the heart of an amazing fireworks show," Mr Foti said.

"This year there will be an extra 1,000 firework effects coming off the bridge.

"The midnight display will start with a fireworks countdown from 10 to one and the word 'Sydney' emblazoned in white across the arch of the bridge.

"From the pontoons underneath the bridge, there'll be heart-shaped fireworks lighting up the harbour for the first time and a fun smiley face."

As well as new pulsating fireworks, this year's fireworks displays will showcase new 'wave effect' fireworks where the firework colour transforms in a wave moving across the firework, and new strobing fireworks.

New colours of lime and peach will be added to this year's midnight display. The new colours are inspired by Sydney's summertime.

This year, even bigger barges will be used to launch the 9pm and midnight fireworks shows.

It takes 18 shipping containers of equipment, weighing 120 tonnes, to hold the fireworks used on the night.

New Year's Eve marks the 22nd consecutive year that Foti International has created the fireworks show for the City of Sydney.

Fortunato 'Forch' Foti proudly heads three generations of family members creating the memorable New Year's Eve display, including his three children, Angelina, Elena and Salvatore.

"With brothers, uncles, my son, daughters, my niece and my dad keeping a close watch over us all, Sydney New Year's Eve is very much a family affair," said Mr Foti.

Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks are manufactured from biodegradable paper and compounds that dissipate after use to minimise the environmental impact.

For New Year's event information, visit the Sydney New Year's Eve website.

For media inquiries or images, contact the City of Sydney media team.
Phone 0448 005 718 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
Call 02 8974 4165 or email