As the clock struck midnight, marking the transition from 2023 to 2024, 6 months of work culminated in a show to celebrate the coming of the new year in London.
The legendary annual show, produced by Identity and a team of heavy-hitting partners featured fireworks, lighting, and a drone light show, not only highlighting the vibrancy of the UK’s capital city but also encapsulating the magical moments of the past year, including the Coronation of King Charles III.
In our fifth consecutive year on this project, our mission was to curate a musical backdrop for the UK’s largest annual fireworks, lights, and drones display over the River Thames.
The challenge extends beyond simply selecting tracks; it involves crafting a musical narrative that aligned with the overarching theme, “London: A Place For Everyone.”
Additionally, all music tracks of course have to be fully clearable for national broadcast. Key moments of 2023, such as the 75th anniversary of the NHS, 75 years since the arrival of the Empire Windrush, and a decade since the legalisation of same-sex marriage, were integral to this year’s narrative.
The role of audio is vital to telling the narrative of the show and delivering its core theme. Sound design, music, dialogue and archive content were once again central to the story-telling.
Once the creative route was established we were able to extensively research music and start to experiment how the chosen tracks would fit together to maximise the impact of each message.
NYE always necessitates strong coordination with the various partner creative teams, working with pre-visualised animations to synchronise the soundtrack with what the audience sees.
Throughout the project timeline, spanning from July to the month of the show, the soundtrack underwent multiple iterations. Creative transitions, extra layers of instrumentation and manipulation of sounds are all techniques we used to perfect the emotion and dynamics of the piece and deliver a multi-genre and multi-generational musical mix that underscored London’s biggest New Year party!
To build the clarity of the narrative, prominent voices were enlisted, including Dame Helen Mirren, Bella Ramsey, Stephen Fry, Joanna Lumley, George the Poet, Phoebe One and Baroness Floella Benjamin. Their recordings are integral components to help guide the audience and give clarity to the story.
The final show featured more classic hits than recent years, lending a timeless feel to this year’s show. Over 12,000 fireworks, 600 drones, and 430 lights, set to our soundtrack, ushered in the New Year, televised to millions on BBC One and BBC iPlayer and watched by millions subsequently on YouTube.
Broadcast: BBC One
Musical directors: ON THE SLY Audio Production & Kojo Samuel
Creative director for Identity: Dan Colborne
Project director for Identity: Jamie Beeston
Pyrotechnics: Titanium Fireworks Ltd
Lighting: Tim Routledge
Drones: SKYMAGIC Drone Shows
Client: Mayor Of London’s Office / Greater London Authority