Melbourne to ring in 2022 with Oz’s ‘biggest drone show’ yet

Melbourne drone show

The city of Melbourne will be hosting what officials say will be the largest drone show ever in Australia – possibly in the Southern Hemisphere – among its list of New Year’s Eve events.

The spectacle will launch 350 drones over Melbourne’s Docklands area, where they’ll perform two different seven-minute shows on the night of December 31. The first performance will take place at 9:30 p.m. and the second at midnight above iconic sites including Victoria Harbour and legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground. 

Unlike many cities and events turning to increasingly popular drone shows as a replacement for traditional fireworks, Melbourne’s New Year’s Eve festivities will set those pyrotechnic displays off immediately after the UAVs have taken their bow. Still, officials promise the quadcopter newcomers will be memorable in more ways than one.

“This is going to be the biggest swarm drone show that Australia has ever seen,” said Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp. “With 350 drones lighting up the sky, this will be one of the first drone shows of this scale to ever take place in the southern hemisphere.”

The performance will be prepared and staged by Bath-based drone art company Celestial, which has several highly successful UAV shows to its record. Those include this month’s  video message to leaders at the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, an earlier choreography marking Greenpeace’s 60th anniversary, and the December 31, 2020 “Fare thee Well” spectacle celebrating Hogmanay in Edinburgh. 

With those first two displays incorporating 300 craft, the Melbourne show appears to be the largest Celestial will have staged thus far.

Melbourne’s New Year’s events will also celebrate the end – for now, at least – of prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns people across Australia have suffered with over the past year. With that in mind, however, only vaccinated people will be allowed to take in the shows from eight designated areas requiring tickets for entry.

“That is the way that we’ve been able to open up here in Melbourne and we want to stay open,” Capp said. “We want to be able to welcome the maximum number of people as safely as possible.”

Mindful that not all city residents wishing to attend will get one of the 40,000 tickets being issued, Melbourne will continue hosting the Celestial show twice each night from January 3 to 30, 2022.

Meanwhile, a drone show was also featured during this weekend’s festivities in Qatar, marking the one-year countdown to the opening of the World Cup of football in the country.

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