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High winds force Space Needle to cancel New Year's fireworks for first time in 26 years

Seattle rang in the new year with a light show atop the Space Needle after high winds forced the cancellation of the fireworks display.

SEATTLE — The new decade is already marked by a new first in Seattle. The Emerald City rang in 2020 without a fireworks show, the first time the show has been canceled by bad weather. 

After high winds forced the cancellation of the fireworks display, the Space Needle put on an extravagant laser light show at midnight to ring in 2020. 

This was the first time in 26 years the Space Needle had to forgo the Seattle tradition. 

The Space Needle said they "strongly considered" putting on the fireworks display another day, but city resources were not available on such short notice. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the Space Needle said, "At both 11:45pm, and again at 1:45am last night, sustained average wind speeds in excess of 36mph and gusts up to 44mph were recorded at the top of the Space Needle.  Those measurements are well beyond the maximum sustained average wind speed of 25mph and gust speed of 30mph needed to safely proceed with a pyrotechnics display." 

The National Weather Service canceled a Wind Advisory before the show Tuesday evening. However, the winds were still too high at the top of the Space Needle for the show to go on. 

The Space Needle had hoped to light off the fireworks at 2 a.m. instead, but that display was also canceled due to weather.

"The safety of those attending the event is our number one priority, and we completely support the decision of the Seattle public safety officials to cancel our two attempts to launch the show," said Ron Sevart, Space Needle President and CEO. 

The annual 10-minute fireworks show takes several months to produce and more than three days to install atop the Space Needle. 

Ian Gilfillan of PyroSpectaculars said, "Some of the products we use launch several hundred feet above the Space Needle and it is impossible to contain pyrotechnics debris from exiting the exclusion zone with winds that high."

KING 5 Evening's Kim Holcomb, Jim Dever, Saint Bryan and Ellen Meny hosted the exclusive live broadcast of T-Mobile New Year's at the Needle. 

America's Got Talent singing sensation and Maple Valley native Benicio Bryant gave a special performance during the show. 

Over 20,000 people were expected to gather on Seattle Center's 74-acre campus to view the fireworks, and 500,000 viewed the show from Seattle Center’s surrounding neighborhoods. 

The 2020 light show soundtracks

For the first time, the Space Needle hosted four light shows on Dec. 30 and 31. The two different shows featured the songs listed below.

Soundtrack 1:

  • Muse – “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable”
  • Cheat Codes ft. Demi Lovato – “No Promises”
  • Skrillex, Boys Noize, Ty Dolla $ign – “Midnight Hour”
  • Taylor Swift – “The Man”
  • Ellie Goulding & JuiceWRLD (R3HAB Remix) – “Hate Me”

Soundtrack 2:

  • Sam Feldt ft. RANI – “Post Malone”
  • The Chainsmokers & Beba Rexha – “Call You Mine”
  • Diplo & Jonas Brothers – “Lonely”
  • Travis Scott (Skrillex Remix) – “Sicko Mode”
  • Ed Sheeran & Travis Scott – “Antisocial”
  • Whethan ft. Charlie XCX – “Love Gang”

The 2020 fireworks playlist

This year's soundtrack for the fireworks was expected to include hit songs from 2019's most popular artists, as well as a popular classic by the late Ric Ocasek of The Cars.

  • Billie Eilish – “Bad Guy”
  • The “Star Wars Theme”
  • Ariana Grande – “7 rings”
  • Lizzo – “Good As Hell”
  • Jonas Brothers – “Sucker”
  • Shaed – “Trampoline”
  • Taylor Swift – “You Need To Calm Down”
  • The Cars – “Tonight She Comes”
  • 5 Seconds of Summer – “Youngblood”
  • Panic! at the Disco – “High Hopes”

Watch last year's show

Below is the 2018/2019 iconic T-Mobile New Year's at the Needle fireworks show. Watch the full live broadcast here

In partnership with T-Mobile & The Space Needle.