Crowd control fears at Vivid Sydney drone show

Photograph: Anthony Warren

NSW Premier Chris Minns said Vivid Sydney organisers need to “do better” after larger than expected crowds at the festival’s drone show left some fearing a crowd crush.

“We need to do better,” he said. “We didn’t anticipate the crowds on that night. What I can say is that the organisers [and] the NSW police worked quickly to learn from the mistakes of the night before they did a major walkthrough with all the agencies, Destination NSW, as well as NSW police.”

Large crowds were drawn to Circular Quay to see the free drone show, but bottlenecks at the exits led to long waits for many as they tried to leave for public transport.

Festival attendee Anthony Warren described the crowds as “packed together like sardines”.

“Looking at the crowd, you could see it was all families and people with prams, and they were packed together like sardines,” he told media.

“It could have gotten so much worse very quickly, if someone started running or shouted ‘fire’. They had nowhere to go.”

Festival director Gill Minervini said the crowd had moved “safely through the festival”.

“Yes, it was very busy, but like when you go to a football game or a concert, it was a very big crowd, all moving out at once,” she told the ABC.

“Of course, we’re always reviewing our plans, and have continued to do so today, as we do every day with this event.”