January 11th, 2008
The 10 Best Fireworks Displays of New Years Eve 2008
New Year’s Eve is just as much about spectacular fireworks displays as it is about expensive club entry fe
es, booze and parties. In recent years there has been growing competition between the world’s major cities as to who can lay claim to the title of best New Year’s Eve fireworks extravaganza, and 2008 was no exception. This year’s party was characterised by displays of war-like proportions; in London the display was of such magnitude that at one stage it seemed Donald Rumsfeld was back to open another can of shock-and-awe whoopass for the world to see! Here are the best displays we could find captured on video. Turn your speakers way up, grab a drink and watch as these major cities quite literally blow up our taxes!
London: At the stroke of midnight on Big Ben, London ushered in the new year with an incredible 10 minute long pyrotechnic and light spectacular. The focal point of London’s fireworks display was the London Eye, which was used as a backdrop for lighting and as a launch site for over 100,000 pyrotechnics. The intensity and rhythm of the display half way through resembled, perhaps deliberately, the theatre of war. There were even two speed boats being used as mobile launch pads as they scurried around the Thames River. Several pauses in the action were needed to allow the huge plumes of smoke to disperse and to give the 700,000 strong crowd a chance to ready themselves for the next visual and sonic onslaught and booming finale. The total cost of the display was ~ $2,500,000, or $250,000 per minute. If you were in London for New Years Eve, you saw the best fireworks display anywhere in the world!
Sydney: Well over one million people lined the banks of Sydney Harbour to be among the first making it into 2008. Up to 3,000 privately owned boats squeezed into the harbour for the best vantage point to see this dazzling show. All other Australian cities usually have to play second fiddle to Sydney’s amazing fireworks display on New Years Eve – and 2008 was no different. Come to think of it, most cities in the world would find it cahard to beat Sydney’s pyro-music-light display. Sydney blew up something in the order of $3,500,000 million of fireworks to create 30,000 effects from Sydney Harbour Bridge, six barges covering 3.75 miles of the harbour plus eight skyscrapers in the CBD for a 12 minute long display.
Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas: Vegas brought in the New Year in the only way it knows how – with a gigantic 20 minute long fireworks and light spectacle backed by performances from a plethora of famous entertainers. The night opened up with Robbie Maddison’s record breaking motorcycle jump at the Rio Suite and Hotel. Then the real party began as the Strip exploded in an eight minute long pyrotechnic extravaganza with fireworks launching from seven casino-rooftop locations.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro: After taking in a few bands in the city center the party moved down to Copacabana Beach where all eyes were skyward at midnight for a impressive barrage of fireworks as roughly two million Brazilians and tourists (give or take a few hundred thousand) say “despedida” to 2007 and “Olá” to 2008. Brazilians, as you well know, like to party and what is really cool about the fireworks in Rio is that they last longer than the usual few minutes – Rio’s fireworks last for well over fifteen minutes! Fireworks are set off from hotel tops and barges out to sea creating one of the best shows anywhere.
Dubai: What more would you expect from this booming city than a fireworks spectacular? Dubai wanted to start 2008 with a bang while attempting to break the world record with one of the largest and most artistically detailed fireworks display in history. The emirate employed the services of NYC-based fireworks specialists ‘Grucci’ to design and orchestrate the two-minutes of dazzling fireworks at Dubai Marina. Incidentally, ‘Grucci’ are the same folks who were responsible for the fireworks at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. A piano concerto led the evening up to the countdown at midnight when fireworks from over 25 locations along the beachfront were launched up to a record breaking 2,000ft. The ‘love and peace’ theme was evident in a stunning rainbow that illuminated the skyline from the Emirates Towers and down the Sheikh Zayed Road.
Taipei: As with most Asian fireworks displays, the creative folks behind the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Taipei made good use of the city skyline. For over three minutes the Taipei 101 Tower was the focal point of everyone’s attention. Not only is Taipei 101 ridiculously tall (standing at 1,671ft) but it also holds the title as the largest countdown clock in the world for use specifically in New Year’s Eve celebrations. The fact that the display was launched from the top 8 floors of one of the tallest buildings on earth made Taipei’s fireworks unforgettable.
Hong Kong, PRC
Hong Kong: It’s the Olympics this year in China and Hong Kong was eager to impress. The highpoint of Hong Kong’s celebrations was the IFC One building, which towers above the skyline at 1,335ft tall. The locals of Hong Kong love a good fireworks show and hundreds of thousands gathered around the Central District, Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui areas to get a good view of the display. If you enjoy the sound of fireworks as much as the visual aspect you needed to get as close as possible to the IFC building itself or the fireworks won’t be very loud. This video was taken from a distance so the sound wasn’t so impressive, but visually the fireworks display was unreal.
Prague, Czech Republic
Prague: Who would have thought of Prague as a New Year’s Eve destination? Prague actually has two fireworks celebrations, the professional display put on along the River Vltava near Prague Castle, which caters to families and tourists. Afterwards there is … the ‘unscripted display’ in the Old Town Square put on by the good people of Prague which is basically an opportunity to risk your life in a free-for-all of rockets and bangers. Alongside the famous ‘Running of the Bulls‘ spending New Year’s Eve in Prague must surely rank highly for those seeking dangerous fun. Check out the footage from the 2007 New Year’s Eve display for a better idea of what goes on. Its an unscripted war zone!
Paris: Les Champs Elysees looked beautiful, L’Arc de Triumph was elegant and the Eiffel Tower was lit up like a Christmas tree but the fireworks were to be honest, quite modest. Still the French revelers, numbered in the hundreds of thousands, were treated to a few minutes of fireworks as rockets, mines, bombs and comets were unleashed from three locations around the Eiffel Tower. Paris does go much bigger for fireworks when they celebrate Bastille Day on 14th July. For a much more dramatic (and perhaps magical) New Year’s Eve in France check out the seven minute long fireworks extravaganza at Disneyland Paris.
New York, USA
New York: Perhaps I’m a purist when it comes to pyrotechnics and this may come as a surprise to some but … New York came in low down the list due to the fact that the fireworks play second fiddle to the famous New Year’s Eve Ball descending from the flagpole atop One Times Square. Over one million Yankees don’t seem to mind as they packed into Times Square in celebration, joined by millions more nationwide and a further estimated billion worldwide via a live televised feed. Honestly, I thought NYC would do NYE better.