Sydney waved goodbye to 2021 and ushered in the new year with its signature fireworks spectacular, marking a return to a traditional program after a limited display in 2020.
First Nations artist Blak Douglas curated the 9:00 pm fireworks and Welcome to Country. The display included projections of local First Nations custodians and dancers and featured a live performance by hip-hop artists BARKAA and DOBBY.
The 12-minute midnight show featured 25,000 fireworks across five barges with electronic music duo The Presets providing the soundtrack.
Frontline workers were thanked with a sea of five thousand blue lights flooding the harbour to acknowledge their work during the pandemic. The Pylons on the Harbour Bridge were illuminated with images of nurses, who were the focus of the night. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was also celebrated as 2022 marks its 90th birthday.
However, climbing COVID-19 cases stifled Sydney’s celebrations, after NSW recorded 21,151 cases of COVID-19 and six deaths on Friday.
The City of Sydney issued 17,000 tickets to the foreshore sites it manages, with tickets to prime vantage points still available late into the evening. The waterfront typically hosts more than one million spectators.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore acknowledged the subdued celebrations, thanking would-be attendees who decided to stay home on the night.
“New Year’s Eve is a night people really look forward to, so staying home can be hard,” Cr Moore said.
Spectators who attended vantage points were also praised for wearing masks, using QR codes, and social distancing. However, fears remain that the New Year’s celebrations could lead to a spike in cases.