David Bowie, Prince, and Gene Wilder, were all honoured in Australia’s New Year celebrations at Sydney Harbour.
The twelve-minute midnight show featured 120 tonnes of fireworks and a 3D paper sculpture of Sydney landmarks with native flowers.
Rocket after rocket was fired from seven barges to mark the beginning of 2017. Two thousand four hundred special light effects were used with the Sydney harbour bridge becoming a focal point for the show.
Around 1.5m people watched from the foreshore, and around 46% of this audience came from overseas injecting $130m into the economy. Live streaming and television broadcast audiences reached over one billion.
Clover Moore, Sydney’s Lord Mayor, recognised the loss of so much talent in 2016. She said, “Sydney is especially significant for David Bowie, who called Elizabeth Bay home for a decade from the early 80s, 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.”
The organisers were quick to point out that the arrangements were finalised before the deaths of Carrie Fisher, George Michael, and Debbie Reynolds had happened.
Meanwhile in Melbourne, 13.5 tonnes of fireworks were fired over a 6 square mile area, lighting the entire city. Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor, stated the display could be seen from anywhere in the city and cost $3m. Nearly all of this was spent on security arrangements.
It is believed that 500,000 people attended the event before going to various locations to see live bands. The Lord Mayor said, “We’re always a bit nervous, as I say every year, you don’t often throw a party for 500,000 of your best friends, but when they come over you better be ready and we are.”