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Special events

Special events

Happening Sydney

Sydney is home to some of the most recognised and loved celebrations in the world. As well as New Year's Eve (NYE), Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations, the City of Sydney holds major events including the Art & About Festival.

New Year's Eve

Sydney's world famous NYE celebrations are watched by 1.5 million Sydneysiders and visitors to Sydney Harbour, and by more than 1 billion on television broadcasts around the world. Every NYE 4,500 kilos of fireworks are set off and Sydney cements its reputation for hosting one of the best NYE parties on the planet.


Every Christmas the City holds its children's concert and Christmas tree lighting in Martin Place to a capacity crowd of 8,000 adults and children. We also present a Christmas on the Green concert in Hyde Park and 4 village family Christmas concerts in public parks over 2 weekends.

Chinese New Year

The City's Chinese New Year Festival has blossomed from a small community event to the biggest lunar New Year celebration outside Asia. Sydney's Chinese New Year festivities are attended by 600,000 people and watched by 36 million people around the world on TV and online.

Each year a different Chinese province sends around 400 artists, media and government representatives to participate in the Twilight Parade.

Starting at dusk the parade draws 100,000 people onto Sydney's streets for a truly magical experience, delighting residents and visitors with beautiful lanterns, bright costumes and talented aerial performers.

The festival boosts China's trade with the Sydney metropolitan area, estimated at around $10 billion a year. The festival also contributes approximately $8 million to the local economy through visits from interstate and overseas travellers.

During the 2010 Festival, Chinese visitors to Australia grew by an extraordinary 56 per cent. In 2011, Chinese New Year scored 45 million media hits and mentions.

The big clean-up

After the parties, the City cleans up. At the end of NYE, the City employs more than 300 staff to clean up, collecting 51.9 tonnes of waste from roads, footways, parks and other open space areas.

To clean up the streets following NYE, the City uses:

  • 6 small tipping trucks
  • 6 high pressure steamers
  • 7 garbage compactors
  • 6 roadway sweepers
  • 6 footway and plaza sweepers
  • 2 footway scrubbers.

Around 80 per cent of all the waste collected is recycled.

Last year's carbon audit of the event found that direct carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of fireworks was equivalent to a family of 5 flying return from Sydney to London. A worthwhile investment for the most spectacular NYE celebration on earth!

Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Town Hall hosts many cultural events and concerts and is open to the public for tours. It has welcomed film festivals, fashion shows and even a special, one-off performance by Lady Gaga. The building is an architectural wonder, full of amazing spaces and stories.


What's On

Fortunato Foti

Enter the Dragon
Virginia Ferris
Chinese New Year Parade Performance Director

Where were you on NYE?
Amazing timelapse of Sydney NYE 2011 clean up

Crowd Pleaser
David Jabbour
Sydney Town Hall Venue Officer

Last updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2012