Lessons learned, crowds controlled at Sydney's Vivid

Preventative measures have been taken at Sydney's Vivid light festival in order to avoid a repeat of the bottlenecks that left thousands of people trapped and fearing a stampede or crush. 

Police reinforcements were brought in after thousands of people crowded the harbour precinct to see a highly-anticipated drone show around Circular Quay on Saturday night.

The "stampede" on the night came about after long weekend crowds flocked to the event.

A person films Vivid on their smartphone
Chris Minns says he wants to ensure Vivid is a safe night out for families.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said authorities did not anticipate the size of the crowd on that night. 

Festival organisers and NSW Police worked quickly to learn from the mistakes and undertook a major walk-through to ensure spectators felt safe for the remainder of the free community event.

"I'm grateful that we learned from the mistakes of the night before, but I want to see families out enjoying Sydney," Mr Minns told reporters on Monday.

 "I know people are doing it tough at the moment and this is an opportunity for families to spend time together ... enjoy something that doesn't cost any money. 

"We want to make sure it's a safe night out."

Certain streets have now been closed off and some crowd barricades rearranged around the different attractions.

Trains, buses, and ferries were diverted on Sunday night as organisers made arrangements to prevent the same crowd-building to continue around transport hubs.

The crush prompted organisers to post on X, formerly known as Twitter, around 8:30pm on Sunday, asking people to avoid Circular Quay and The Rocks.

Following the drone show on Saturday, one user on X said there was a dangerous crowd crush near the Overseas Passenger Terminal.

AAP reporter Scott Bailey said people were squeezed in like cattle with no security or event staff to be seen.

"Felt as if a stampede was likely for about 20 minutes at bottom of the Rocks and again at Wynyard. So many kids present," Mr Bailey said on X.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by the NSW government's tourism and major events agency.

It is an annual celebration of innovation and technology, which lights up Sydney for 23 winter nights.

The event is in its 14th year. 

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store