18 March 2024

Skyfire returns with a bang, breaking attendance record after forced hiatus

| Claire Fenwicke
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Skyfire fireworks

Skyfire returned to Canberra’s skies for the first time since 2020. Photo: Ben Appleton / Photox – Canberra Photography Services.

Canberrans no longer need to ask, “When is Skyfire coming back?” with the event confirming it’s back in a big way by breaking its event attendance record.

It’s estimated more than 130,000 people lined the shores of Lake Burley Griffin to watch more than 40,000 effects, 2500 shells and 25,000 shooting comets light up the sky.

An initiative of amplifyCBR, general manager Craig Wagstaff said the wait had definitely been worth it.

“We were so thrilled when we announced, in October 2023, the return of HIT1047 and MIX106.3 Skyfire and that excitement (and genuine appreciation to the community) was reaffirmed and exceeded when we were advised of a record event attendance on Saturday of in-excess of 130,000 people,” he said.

“In speaking with numerous members of the public throughout the afternoon and evening, there was the strong sense that the community was really looking forward to it (and its return) and that it appealed to all ages with a significant number of family and friends who came to Canberra from interstate using Skyfire as the catalyst to visit.

“It was a fantastic night for Canberra.”

The event hasn’t been held since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Community sentiment seemed to reflect Mr Wagstaff’s enthusiasm.

One patron said they had never “seen that many people in Canberra before”, while another thanked Canberra’s radio stations for bringing the event back.

Some commented that while the drone show at Australia Day had been impressive, nothing could beat “loud bangs and the smell of gunpowder”.

However, there were some complaints that more toilets hadn’t been provided.

Police officers were also generally impressed with how people conducted themselves on the night.

Members of the Territory Targeting Team and officers increased their presence on the north and south sides of Lake Burley Griffin during the event before heading into the city to keep anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related offences to a minimum.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said everyone was pretty well behaved.

“Throughout the evening, there were no significant incidents, and no arrests were made,” they said.

“Three people were taken into protective custody due to their level of intoxication, [and] there were some minor traffic and foot traffic delays in getting the large number of people out of the event.”

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Gregg Heldon8:51 pm 18 Mar 24

Heard it in Greenway

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