Sydney New Year's Eve
Sydney New Year's Eve is an annual multi-tiered event held every New Year's Eve over Sydney Harbour, centering on the Harbour Bridge. Its main features are two pyrotechnic displays, the 9pm Family Fireworks and the Midnight Fireworks, both of which are televised nationally with the latter also televised around the world.
Each year the event takes on a new theme and is regularly viewed by more than one million people at the harbour and one billion worldwide for the televised Midnight Fireworks. For the 2010–11 event, an audience of 1.5 million watched the display at the river bank and 1.1 billion are reported to have watched it globally.
- 1 History
- 2 Pyrotechnic displays
- 2.1 Pyrotechnic Display History
- 2.2 Famous Pyrotechnic Display Sequences
- 2.3 Signature Pyrotechnic Effects
- 3 The Midnight Countdown
- 4 Bridge Effect
- 5 Yearly Display Details
- 6 Broadcast
- 7 Organisation
- 8 Controversies
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Inspiration to use the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a launchpad for fireworks came from the use of fireworks on the Brooklyn Bridge as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations in 1983. Syd Howard, pyrotechnician, used his inspiration and the chances given to him to put fireworks displays on Sydney Harbour to use the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a launchpad for fireworks.
His first opportunity was in 1986 for the 75th Anniversary Review of the Royal Australian Navy. Here he introduced the 'waterfall' effect as well as a pyrotechnic message on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The message read 'NSW salutes Royal Australian navy' and employed thousands of cigarette-style fireworks to create the lettering. It hung over the side of the pedestrian walkway.
2011 and beyond
In 2011, the creative direction was handed over to Marc Newson and Imagination Australia. They have already announced a new 'After Midnight' initiative to promote businesses that are open after Midnight on New Year's Eve.
|1996||- Ric Birch and Spectak Productions are contracted as Producer
- Ignatius Jones and Spectak Productions are contracted as Creative Director
- 9pm Family Fireworks and Midnight Fireworks Introduced
- Nine Network Australia gain TV Rights
|1997||- The Bridge Effect Introduced as a one-off feature.|
|1999||- The Bridge Effect Re-Introduced as a permanent feature.
- First Bridge Effect Multi-Layered and Animated
- Quotes used in Fireworks Soundtrack for first time.
- Fireworks launched from Sydney Opera House.
|2000||- First Bridge Effect with colours (other than Yellow)
- Management of the event brought in-house at City of Sydney
|2002||- Leo Schofield takes over as Creative Director|
|2003||- First non-ropelight Bridge Effect
- First use of fireworks off the vertical hangers of the bridge
|2004||- Roadways of Sydney Harbour Bridge used for pyrotechnics for the first time.
- First 3-D Bridge Effect
|2005||- Wayne Harrison takes over as Creative Director|
|2006||- First Bridge Effect turned on before NYE|
|2007||- First Bridge Effect with fireworks exploding out of it|
|2008||- Rhoda Roberts takes over as Creative Director|
|2011||- Imagination Australia appointed Creative Team, engaging Marc Newson as Creative Headliner.
- 90 second countdown used on bridge effect.
|2012||- Kylie Minogue appointed Creative Ambassador.
- Jet Skis loaded with pyrotechnics.
- Bridge Effect mouthing numbers of the countdown.
|2013||- Reg Mombassa appointed Creative Ambassador.|
The main feature of the event are the two fireworks shows, the "9pm Family Fireworks" and the "Midnight Fireworks". The first pyrotechnic display however is a part of the "Indigenous Smoking Ceremony" segment held at 8:00pm where white smoke is fired from four barges. At 8:40 PM, red 'Falling Angels' are fired off four barges as well as the lighting of a line of red flare pyrotechnics off the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of the 'Acknowledgement Of Country'. The famous 9 PM Family Fireworks occur after this featuring four barges, city buildings and the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge all synchronised to a soundtrack. Only short segments occur on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the latest being a 'Red and White Checkerboard Waterfall'. These segments occur about three-quarters the way through the display.
Firings then occur on six of the harbour barges at the regular intervals of 9:08 PM, 10:15 PM, 11 PM, 11:30 PM and 11:45 PM. These firings match with the theme of the night and increase in size and quantity as the night progresses. The NYE2010 - Make Your Mark event had "'Mark Your Mark' firings" which consisted of green lighting bolt fireworks firing before a barrage of red X-Marker fireworks exploded.
Then at Midnight, the world famous Midnight Fireworks begin. Synchronised to a soundtrack, the fireworks explode off the arches, catwalk and roadway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the city buildings and all seven Barges. The show opens with an opening sequence on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, city buildings and one barge. The majority of the show features six barges with the Sydney Harbour Bridge doing sequences of varying lengths throughout the show. The barge in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge also features occasionally during the show to synchronise with the Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks or to attract attention as the Sydney Harbour Bridge is about to do something spectacular (like Bridge Effect unveiling and Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks finale). The closing sequence of the show features the Sydney Harbour Bridge before all firing points explode in an 'all-white' finale.
Pyrotechnic Display History
The original Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks display (NYE1996) was designed by Syd Howard Fireworks. The first show, the 9 PM Family Fireworks, was originally the main show and went for about twenty minutes. It used the pylons, arch and catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, city buildings and one barge located in front of the Opera House. The second show, the Midnight Fireworks, lasted about three minutes and only featured Sydney Tower, turning into a 'Olympic Torch' for the countdown to the 2000 Olympics.
For NYE1997, the Midnight Fireworks included the Star City Casino. Also, from NYE1997, the Midnight Fireworks were extended to include the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the 9 PM Family Fireworks were extended to included two barges (one on each side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge) and the displays were co-designed by Foti International Fireworks and Syd Howard Fireworks. From NYE 1998, the Midnight Fireworks were extended to a length of ten minutes and the inclusion of one barge and the 9 PM Family Fireworks included a row of pontoons in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge for the first time. The pylons were not used again until NYE2002 and NYE2006.
For NYE 1999, the tradition began of having the main show at Midnight. The 9 PM Family Fireworks was shortened to a length of twelve minutes and to two barges and the city buildings. The Midnight Fireworks lengthened to 25 minutes and now included more city buildings and the row of pontoons as well as four barges (two on either side of the bridge). The Sydney Opera House also featured in a one-off display.
Since NYE2000, the displays has been fully designed and created by "Foti International Fireworks". and the Midnight Fireworks were shorten to twenty minutes. They were again shortened for NYE2001 to fifteen minutes. The city buildings were removed from the fireworks displays from NYE2002. NYE2003 Midnight Fireworks saw fireworks exploding off the vertical hangers of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in a one-off display. From NYE2004, the roadways of the bridge have been used for the Midnight fireworks causing the closure of the Bradfield Highway at Midnight. From NYE2005, the Midnight Fireworks were shortened to twelve minutes and the 9 PM Family Fireworks to eight minutes. NYE2006 saw the six barges feature with the city buildings return in the Midnight Fireworks. The pontoons in front of the Sydney harbour Bridge and all six barges were used in a one-off special 9 PM Family Fireworks display for NYE2006. NYE2007 saw the introduction of the Harbour Bridge as a seventh barge being used, almost the entirety throughout the whole show. From NYE2008, the existing format for the 9 PM Family and Midnight Fireworks commenced.
Famous Pyrotechnic Display Sequences
NYE1996 - Masquerade Closing Sequence To 'Firebird Suite: Lullaby'
This was the first famous sequence in the whole of Sydney New Year's Eve history. Being the first full pyrotechnic sequence ever to be conducted on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the sequence has pictured in advertisements around the world, most notably, the car advertisement featured after NYE1999 which used a reinterpretation of the 'Eternity' Bridge Effect with the word 'Eternity' replaced with 'Escape' in copperplate writing. The fireworks sequence is pictured above it.
NYE1999 - Sydney's Millennium Opening Sequence To 'Auld Lang Syne' 
Shown to worldwide audience for the first time, this sequence provided the world's first impression of Sydney New Year's Eve. It began with simultaneous firing from all firing points at the stroke of Midnight to the sound of an air raid siren. 'Auld Lang Syne' commenced after that with shooting comets streaking off the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The Smiley face Bridge Effect was switched on with two large catherine wheels spinning inside each eye.
Signature Pyrotechnic Effects
A continual stream of fireworks falling from the base of the Bridge down to actually touch the water. The waterfall comprises approximately 1100 candle fireworks. Each year, it has been a traditional 'golden' waterfall.
Some years the waterfall effect has been changed such as in NYE2000 when the waterfall changed colours from gold to silver. This was achieved by the 1000 waterfall candles fireworks being half filled with gold and silver formula. NYE2000 was also unique in that fireworks were also fired for the first time from the gantry of the Bridge. 40 Roman candles each with 8 incendiary components encased in a 50mm diameter, one metre long casing were fired from the road gantry. Fire comets were sprayed out of the candles to a distance of 50 metres towards the water below and its effect lasting about 40 seconds created a 'sparkling trinkle' waterfall effect.
NYE2002 had a 'strobing angelic' waterfall effect where 144 Roman candles released mines and stars that 'twinkled' from a 50mm diameter candle from the Bridge's entire road gantry. It was coloured green and white. This effect was repeated in NYE2005 where it changed colour from red to white and also in NYE2006 where it was coloured only green.
NYE2004 had the traditional 'golden' waterfall effect except that it slowed crossed the bridge from south to north. This effect took so long the display finished before it reached the northern side of the bridge. It had only made it halfway at the display's conclusion. This long effect was due to the raising and lowering of that year's Bridge Effect 'Fanfare' (a 3D art piece that closely resembled a disco ball) during the display. At the beginning of the display, it also had the traditional 'golden' waterfall but it was hung from the lower cord of the Bridge. It was set up using approximately 450 waterfall candle fireworks hung from the entire lower arch of the Bridge. This was a difficult set up due to the arch's access but a first of its kind on the Bridge with a spectacular 'torrent style' waterfall effect!
NYE2009 saw a 'lollipop' waterfall effect shoot off the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the 9 pm Family Fireworks. This was followed in NYE2010 where a 'red and white checkerboard' waterfall effect shot off the catwalk of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the 9pm Family Fireworks.
The year's where the traditional 'golden' waterfall effect has not been featured completely are NYE2000 (golden to silver), NYE2002 (green & white strobing angelic), NYE2005 (red to white strobing angelic) and NYE2006 (green strobing angelic).
'Birthday Cake' Effect
Originally fired for the Australia Day Bicenntenial Celebrations in 1988, the effect has been used to (sometimes open and...) close the fireworks display with its loudness and brightness. The effect comprises 200 long burning comets shooting out balls of fire 250 feet into the sky, with a silver star effect at the end fired off the top of the BRidge, simulating a big birthday cake with 200 lit candles. This effect has closed every Sydney New Year's Eve between NYE1996 and NYE1998. It was the used in the finale of the NYE1999 celebrations but due to the uniqueness of the event (as it was the entering of the new millennium) the effect triggered the 'rainbow chase effect' which iconically closed the display. The effect has not been used in Sydney New Year's Eve since NYE1999.
The Midnight Countdown
The climax of the event is at 11:59pm with the countdown to the New Year. Each year, it is done differently but in recent years they have had some similarities.
NYE1996 - 10 second pyrotechnic countdown. Each second, one shooting comet shot off a different building starting from North Sydney and finishing at AMP Tower to form an 'Olympic Torch' to welcome in 1997. Four shooting comets were supposed to be fired off the Harbour Bridge (Two off the pylons and two off the arch).
NYE1997 - Unknown
NYE1998 - 10 second pyrotechnic countdown. Each second, an aerial shell fired off the eastern barge. AMP Tower turned into a 'ticking clock' with shooting comets slowly rotating around the top of the tower. The soundtrack for the countdown was a 'ticking clock' before a 'bell toll' rang in 1999. This 'bell toll' also turned AMP Tower into an 'Olympic Torch'.
NYE1999 - 15 second countdown. The 'Apollo 11 countdown' as well as air raid sirens provided the soundtrack for the countdown. At five seconds to go, the first fireworks is seen launched off the eastern barges. Two seconds later, AMP Tower exploded mines each second until the millennium. All firing points exploded when midnight arrived. This was complemented by a projected countdown on one of the city buildings.
NYE2000 - 10 second pyrotechnic countdown. A larger than life birthday cake was unveiled well before midnight to celebrate 100 years of Australia as a nation. It was placed in front of the Northern Forecourt of the Sydney Opera House on a pontoon/barge. Each second closer to midnight, a pyrotechnic effect was fired from the centre of the cake. At midnight, the cake lit up with a 'chasing' lighting effect running from the bottom of the cake to the top.
NYE2001 - 15 second countdown
NYE2003 - A 15 second countdown was accompanied with the striking of a gong at midnight.
NYE2011 - A 90 second countdown was used on the bridge effect for the very first time.
NYE2012 - A 10 second countdown accompanied by comets launched from Jet Skis before midnight.
Central to the firework displays each year since 1999 is the lighting display on the Harbour Bridge known as the "Bridge Effect". Made of rope light attached to a panel and truss system, the display showcases a variety of symbols and other images related to the current year's theme. In the months leading up to 31 December (usually from late October), the scaffolding and framework are clearly visible, as is the outline for the design, leaving Sydneysiders speculating as to how the effect is to be realised. The Bridge Effect has been designed by Brian Thomson since (at least) 2006, with the lighting designed by Mark Hammer since 2008.
Yearly Display Details
The first major fireworks display since Australia's Bicentennial took place on New Year's Eve 1996–97. Fireworks were launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, six City Buildings and a large barge situated alongside the Sydney Opera House. The Major show held at 9 PM while the Midnight fireworks were much smaller.
Fireworks were launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, six City Buildings and a large barge.
A Smiley Face was shown on the bridge for Sydney New Year's Eve 1998–99 reflecting the countdown to the new millennium and the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Fireworks were launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Centre Point Tower, six other City Buildings and two barges; one either side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Sydney Opera House and two extra barges were added to the show. This year broke the tradition of having the main fireworks display at 9 PM; instead, the main fireworks display was at midnight. Fireworks were launched from the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House, Centre Point Tower, six City Buildings and four barges situated along Sydney Harbour (two either side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge). Foti International Fireworks were in charge of the two western barges, while Syd Howard Fireworks were in charge of the two eastern barges. A rather unusual feature of the 1999 display was a selection of tugboats that made their way through the harbour, each one carrying a colourful, brightly lit model of a particular sea creature, including various Tropical Fish, an Octopus and a Weedy Sea Dragon. A Smiley Face was visible on the bridge during the show, until the finale revealed the word "Eternity" in Copperplate writing, in honour of Arthur Stace. The Fireworks Soundtrack included a 5-minute "History Of Pop" featuring hits from the 1890's to the 1990's.
Foti International Fireworks created fireworks displays on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Centre Point Tower, eight City Buildings and four barges. During the finale, a Rainbow Serpent reflecting Australia's indigenous heritage and a Federation Star representing one-hundred years since the federation of Australia appeared on the Bridge.
Uluru and The Southern Cross appeared on the Bridge during the massive fireworks finale to welcome the Year of the Outback and a dove of peace slowly came into view to speak peace to the world after the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York.
There were bursts of fireworks from the Sydney Harbour Bridge and four barges located along the Harbour. An animated dove appeared on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the finale, and the word "PEACE" shone after the display capturing the theme for New Year's Eve 2002–03, Celebration in Unity. The 9pm family fireworks had to be cancelled due to high winds of 90 km/h.
The celebrations this New Year's Eve saw Sydney become the City of Light. 16 Buildings around the CBD were lit up on New Year's Eve and stayed alight for eighteen days in January with the centrepiece being the Sydney Harbour Bridge light show. 120 beacons of light bounced from the bridge to the water below to a music soundtrack. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and the four barges again staged in the fireworks display.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge was again reinforced by four barges to welcome in the New Year. The fireworks display was viewed as a disco with pop music and a disco ball suspended from the Bridge to symbolise the theme "Reflections". The disco ball was hung from the Bridge throughout January to create light waves flitting between the Bridge and the water. Fundraisers were held in Sydney during the night to raise money to support countries affected by the recent Asian Tsunami.
Sydney Harbour was lit up with Hearts on New Year's Eve 2005–06. A beating Heart was the icon on the Bridge that appeared after the 9pm fireworks display revealing the theme for the night, "Heart of the Harbour". The fireworks themselves during the show exploded in Heart shapes. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and its roadways as well as the four barges were used to welcome in 2006.
The 2006/07 "Bridge Effect" was created to celebrate the bridge's 75th anniversary or Diamond Jubilee in 2007. The theme was "A Diamond Night In Emerald City". The coathanger in the display was in reference to the bridge's nickname. A question mark was shown in the nights leading up to the celebrations, which also doubled up as the curved end of the coathanger. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, ten City Buildings and six barges were used in the display expanding the show greatly compared to previous years.
The theme for Sydney New Year's Eve 2007–08 was the "Time of our Lives". The Sydney Harbour Bridge and its roadways, eight City Buildings and six barges were used in the show. For the Bridge Effect a sand timer that rotated established the theme for the night. The Sydney Harbour Bridge acted as a seventh barge for the first time shooting fireworks throughout the show instead of just during the beginning and finale. '
Sydney watched as a pyrotechnic storm reflecting the theme "Creation" welcomed in the new year. A Sun shone on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the display being the centrepiece of creation and the giver of life. The Sydney Harbour Bridge and its roadways, seven City Buildings and six barges staged in the biggest fireworks display yet increasing from $4 million worth of fireworks to $5 million. Environmentally friendly pyrotechnics were used in the show. 30% more fireworks were used on the Sydney Harbour Bridge alone, acting again as a seventh barge.
The theme for the 2009–10 celebrations was "Awaken the Spirit" with a themed colour of blue. For the first time, microchip fireworks were used in the show which lasted longer in the sky and were more accurate when synchronised with music. The show consisted of $5 million worth of fireworks running for twelve minutes. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, nine city buildings and seven barges were used in the show. The bridge effect included a blue circle encased with red & gold representing a blue moon. A Yin Yang symbol appeared on the Bridge during the finale. Once again, more fireworks exploded on the bridge throughout the entire show when compared with previous NYE displays.
The theme for the Sydney 2010–11 fireworks extravaganza was "Make Your Mark", reflecting on the decade gone and the lasting impressions left by our actions; as well as reflecting on ways in which all people can make their mark by contributing to a better future. It was the third and final year for creative director Rhoda Roberts. The bridge effect incorporated the recent red Oprah "O". The show consisted of 7000 kg of fireworks with effects never seen before such as, falling angels, double hearts, crescent moons and lightning bolts. Fireworks director Fortunato Foti claims, that the show was his best yet. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, seven city buildings and seven barges were used in the show. For the very first time the bridge effect was multi layered, which included more than 10 signs and symbols. A giant golden 'Handprint'(inspired by aboriginal rock markings) appeared on the bridge during the display. The midnight show included fireworks sequences from the bridge along with one small pontoon barge, stretching along the northern forecourt of the Opera House with fireworks exploding, the bridge is once again a seventh barge.
The theme for Sydney New Year's Eve 2011 was revealed on 4 November as "Time To Dream". Fireworks Director Fortunato Foti, has stated this year's show will feature new pyrotechnic effects such as, "criss-cross" shells that create a lattice effect, "Quadrant" shells that will burst into four different colours of the nye "endless rainbow" logo. Creative Headliner Marc Newson, has revealed "The rainbow includes violet to represent community, peace, social stability and connectedness; blue to symbolise the harbour, sky and future aspirations; green for the environment, nurturing and growing; and yellow, which epitomises optimism, happiness and a sunny attitude.". The shows budget has increased from $5 million to $6.3 million, once again utilising 7000 kilograms of explosives. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, seven city buildings and seven barges were used in the show. The use of the catwalk, arch & roadways of the harbour bridge have been increased this year, along with a pontoon barge in front of the bridge, marking Sydney's best yet. A cloud, thought bubble & an endless rainbow beamed on the bridge.
The theme for Sydney New Year's Eve 2012 was unveiled on 15 August as "Embrace". Creative Ambassador Kylie Minogue announced in a video message that "Embrace is all about acceptance, tolerance, fun and, above all, love". She later continued and called for revellers to "embrace during the fireworks". The NYE logo featured a swirl of coloured sails in magenta, yellow, purple and red, and marked with Kylie's signature K. Embrace also has four sub-themes: Embrace Love, Embrace Sydney, Embrace the Possibility, and Embrace the Moment. Imagination Australia and The City of Sydney have developed a smartphone app which allowed users to send messages to the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Fireworks director Fortunato Foti told reporters the pyrotechnic display might not be bigger than previous years, but did promise surprises. The show included new effects such as bees, koalas and octopus shells. The show's budget has increased from $6.3 million to $6.6 million. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, seven city buildings and seven barges were used in the show. For the very first time, jetskis were introduced along with a pontoon barge in front of the bridge, making the display much more different than previous years. The Sydney Harbour Bridge holds its fifth year again as a seventh barge. A lip and a butterfly appeared during the midnight fireworks display.
The theme for Sydney New Years Eve 2013 was revealed on June 6 as "Shine". Fireworks director Fortunato Foti has revealed that the New Year's Eve 2014 display would be his biggest yet. For the first time since the Millennium night, over 1000 specially designed fireworks will launch off the sails of the Sydney Opera House in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. The bridge effect will also be twice as big than previous years and use new LED technology. Twice as many fireworks are set to be used on the Sydney Harbour Bridge as were used in the 2013NYE show.
From 1996–2006, the rights to the television broadcast were held by the Nine Network with Richard Wilkins as a host for almost every year. From 2006–2009, Network Ten was broadcaster after winning a three-year deal from Nine. In 2009, Nine regained the rights back from Ten until 2013. ABC1 will be the current broadcaster.
|1996–97||Nine Network||Richard Wilkins
|unknown (Family) 11:55pm – 12:05am (Midnight)|
|1999–00||Eddie McGuire||8:30pm – 10:30pm
(Family and Midnight)
|2000–01||Richard Wilkins||8:30pm – 9:40pm (Family)
11:40pm – 12:20am (Midnight)
|2006–07||Network Ten||Gretel Killeen
|8:30pm – 9:30pm (Family)
11:30pm – 12:30am (Midnight)
|2009–10||Nine Network||Leila McKinnon
|8:35pm – 9:10pm (Family)
11:40pm – 12:15am (Midnight)
|8:30pm – 9:15pm (Family)
11:30pm – 12:20am (Midnight)
|8:30pm –9:15pm (Family)
11:30pm – 12:15am (Midnight)
|9pm – 10pm (Family)
11:30pm – 12:30am (Midnight)
Under the current broadcaster, the two firework displays are televised as two same-named shows; the "9pm Family Fireworks" from 8:30pm–9:30pm and the "Midnight Fireworks" from 11:30pm–12:30am. Within each are various other segments and musical acts before and after each fireworks display. Since the 2006–07 event, the fireworks soundtracks have been broadcast by radio station 2Day FM in synchronization.
The City of Sydney Council is the official presenter of Sydney New Year's Eve. From NYE1996 to NYE1999, management of the event was contracted out to Ric Birch’s Spectak Productions. From NYE2000, the City of Sydney brought production of the event in-house.
Birch, known for his work on numerous Olympic Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies including Los Angeles and Barcelona brought with him former Jimmy and the Boys front man Ignatius Jones as Creative Director and Catriona Brown as Senior Producer.
When the City of Sydney brought production of the event in-house in 2000 Jones stayed on, with Adelaide Festival Centre's Ken Wilby brought in as the Event Producer. After six years as Creative Director, Ignatius Jones stepped down in 2002 to be replaced by former Melbourne and Sydney Festival Artistic Director Leo Schofield. Ken Wilby moved on the following year with the event's Production Manager Ed Wilkinson elevated to the Producer role from 2003 to 2005.
Former Sydney Theatre Company head Wayne Harrison joined Katrina Marton in taking over leadership of the event as Creative Director and Producer respectively for the events from 2005 to 2007. Brenton Kewley, who had worked on the event since 1996 in various roles, including Art Director and Associate Producer took over as Producer for the 2008 and 2009 events while Journalist and broadcaster Rhoda Roberts, took over from Harrison in 2008.
Imagination Australia won a $335,000 contract for the NYE2011 event, to design the creative aspects of the event. Marc Newson is the new and current Creative Headliner, taking over from Rhoda Roberts in 2011.
Kylie Minogue was appointed as creative ambassador for the 2013 celebrations.
Reg Mombassa will be the creative ambassador for Sydney NYE 2013.
Summary of Creative Directors and Producers of the events:
|1996||Ignatius Jones||Ric Birch|
|1997||Ignatius Jones||Ric Birch|
|1998||Ignatius Jones||Ric Birch|
|1999||Ignatius Jones||Ric Birch|
|2000||Ignatius Jones||Ken Wilby|
|2001||Ignatius Jones||Ken Wilby|
|2002||Leo Schofield||Ken Wilby|
|2003||Leo Schofield||Ed Wilkinson|
|2004||Leo Schofield||Ed Wilkinson|
|2005||Wayne Harrison||Katrina Marton|
|2006||Wayne Harrison||Katrina Marton|
|2007||Wayne Harrison||Katrina Marton|
|2008||Rhoda Roberts||Brenton Kewley|
|2009||Rhoda Roberts||Brenton Kewley|
|2010||Rhoda Roberts||Di Henry|
|2011||Imagination Australia||Aneurin Coffey|
|2012||Imagination Australia||Aneurin Coffey|
|2013||Imagination Australia||Aneurin Coffey|
NYE1999 TV Rights Controversy
Channel Nine won the exclusive TV rights of NYE 1999. Being the millennium event, hundreds of international TV networks attempted to access the television footage of Sydney's Midnight Fireworks display. The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) entered a deal with the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) for the BBC to provide coverage of each nation's respective millennium celebrations as part of their '2000 Today' marathon. When the ABC announced its intention of broadcasting Sydney New Year's Eve, it caused severe backlash from Channel Nine.
This led to a Federal Court case which won in the ABC's favour. Since then, any domestic channel has been able to broadcast from there but exclusive access to the Lord Mayor's Party, Lord Mayor's Picnic, VIP Viewing Area, creative & production team, City of Sydney politicians and the fireworks soundtracks goes to the current TV Rights holder .
NYE2004 Fireworks Soundtrack Controversy
When the theme of Reflections On Australiana was unveiled, the finale of the Midnight Fireworks soundtrack was unusually revealed early. The song unveiled, Advance Australia Fair/Waltzing Matilda (Hylton Mowday Remix), which was composed especially for the event, caused backlash from the public mostly from talkback radio listeners but most notably, the Prime Minister of Australia of the time, John Howard. After hearing it during a radio interview, John Howard has been quoted to say that "The public will not be able to sing along. The anthem should only be played and sung to allow maximum audience participation. It is after all our national anthem and I don't think it should be played around with. It's become widely accepted and I think people should be encouraged to sing it with great gusto, but it's got to be played in a way that enables them to do so. Most of us are pretty inadequate singers at the best of times and trying to keep pace with that, I don't know about you but gee I couldn't".
John Howard wasn't the only politician against it. The NSW Opposition Leader of the time, John Brogden was quoted to say "it is simply a bad piece of music. I think it actually strangles the national anthem, which is what I think is upsetting people the most. It's not like it's a slight change on the version that people are willing to entertain for a party. What it is on this occasion is a very bad piece of music and that's why I think the public anger has been so strong. I think people actually regard the treatment of the national anthem as disrespectful, cause it just doesn't work."
Due to the fireworks already programmed to the music, the song had to be played anyway and it did. On the night, it provided the soundtrack of the Sydney Harbour Bridge closing sequence of the Midnight Fireworks after 8 minutes of barge firings. The display was received with great fanfare afterwards.
Network Ten coverage
Network Ten received many complaints regarding its first ever coverage of the event. The main issue was with a special episode of The Big Night In with John Foreman, shown between the two firework displays where Matthew Newton simulated oral sex with Foreman and pretended to play a piano with his penis. Many people claimed that he appeared to be under the effects of alcohol, with this all leading to the coverage being called the "worst new year's eve ever" and put forth calls for the broadcaster to lose the rights of the telecast.
- KIrvin (1 January 2011). "Sydney Makes its Mark and welcomes the new decade:: Sydney Media:: City of Sydney". Sydney Media. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- The Sydney Morning Herald http://newsstore.smh.com.au/apps/viewDocument.ac?page=1&sy=smh&kw=sydney+harbour+bridge&pb=all_ffx&dt=enterRange&dr=1month&sd=25%2F01%2F1988&ed=30%2F01%2F1988&so=relevance&sf=text&sf=headline&rc=200&rm=200&sp=adv&clsPage=1&docID=news880128_0265_9470
|url=missing title (help).
- "Sydney New Years Eve | NYE | The Official Event Website". Cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Foti International Fireworks archive
- "Sydney New Years Eve Photos | NYE | The Official Event Website". Sydneynewyearseve.com. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- LLincoln (4 November 2011). "What’s your dream, for 2012? :: Sydney Media:: City of Sydney". Sydney Media. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- Gosnell, Peter (2 January 2007). "Ten's smutty party an insult". news.com.au. Retrieved 8 January 2008.
- Gosnell, Peter (3 January 2007). "Zero out of Ten". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 March 2008.