“A First for Sydney”: The Brand New Drone Sky Show - Hope 103.2

“A First for Sydney”: The Brand New Drone Sky Show

In case you missed it, there was another spectacular light show over Sydney's famous harbour to bring in the new New Year.

By Michael CrooksMonday 17 Jan 2022EntertainmentReading Time: 3 minutes

If you happened to look to the skies above Sydney Harbour earlier this month, you would have seen something mystifying playing out between the bridge and the Opera House.

A giant bird perhaps, its wings flapping.

Or a floating boomerang.

Maybe even a rainbow love heart suspended above the water.

Elevate Drones Sydney SkyShow Cockatoo

Source: Daniel Griffiths, Destination NSW

In a spectacular technological event to rival the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, 500 drones lit up Sydney Harbour in a light show like no other on January 1.

The inaugural Elevate SkyShow used 500 Intel-powered drones to create animated display of shapes, patterns and messages above the harbour.

The inaugural Elevate SkyShow used 500 Intel-powered drones to create animated display of shapes, patterns and messages above the harbour.

In what was the largest ever drone display in the Southern Hemisphere, the SkyShow featured cutting-edge technology, art and a First Nations narrative. According to AGB Events, the company behind the show, the technology created “an entirely new form of night-time entertainment”.

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Elevate Drones Sydney SkyShow Gadigal

Source: Daniel Griffiths, Destination NSW

The 10pm show was the nightly culmination of the five-day street festival Elevate Sydney, which was commissioned by the NSW Government through Destination NSW.

The festival ran from January 1–5 and involved turning the Cahill Expressway into a pedestrian zone. It featured artists Tones And I, Tim Minchin, The Wiggles and more.

AGB Events told Hope 103.2 it is “hopeful” the festival will be an annual event, but that decision rests with Destination NSW.

AGB Events told Hope 103.2 it is “hopeful” the festival will be an annual event, but that decision rests with Destination NSW.

For the SkyShow, the drones were used like flying pixels to create a live animation in the sky.

Elevate Drones Sydney SkyShow Waratah

Source: Daniel Griffiths, Destination NSW

The narrative component of the show paid “homage to the ancient wisdom of the Eora People, the unmatched beauty of the Australian flora and fauna and the pure joy of experiencing summer in Sydney,” AGB Events said in a statement.

“The innovation and technology… is really exciting,” AGB Events CEO Anthony Bastic said.

“[The drones] are environmentally friendly with zero emissions, you can create a narrative and tell a story, and the possibilities are endless. They really are the future of major events.”

“The drones are environmentally friendly with zero emissions, you can create a narrative and tell a story, and the possibilities are endless,” – AGB Events CEO Anthony Bastic

Pioneering entertainment

According to AGB, Intel deployed “specialist drone pilots” to program the Sydney show.

“The collaboration created a first for Sydney,” Mr Bastic said.

“The coupling of technologies and applying them to outdoor public events greatly enhances the audience experience.”

The animation was set to a soundtrack composed by Filipino-Indigenous artist Dobby.

The animation was set to a soundtrack composed by Filipino-Indigenous artist Dobby.

“We’re very grateful for the support and efforts of the many agencies who have worked with us to realise this project,” Mr Bastic said.

“This is an industry we really want to nurture and promote, the Intel pilots travelling to Australia and sharing their knowledge is an amazing opportunity to grow the expertise of local drone operators.”

Check out the SkyShow below.

Elevate Drones Sydney SkyShow Cockatoo

All images: Daniel Griffiths, Destination NSW