A 23-DAY PARTY IN SYDNEY – From May 25 till June 16, 2018, the capital city of New South Wales transforms into an urban playground of multi-hued adventures as the world’s largest festival of light, music and technological creativity — Vivid Sydney — kicks off its 10th anniversary celebrations.
The festival owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the New South Wales Government’s tourism and major events agency, attracted a record 2.33 million attendees last year.
Visitors are treated to a showcase of illuminations, cutting edge music and dance events, creative tech engagement and displays, talks, exchange of ideas and more. Here are some of the highlights categorised under Vivid Light, Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas.
Catch the showcase of lights at Barangaroo, Circular Quay, Chatswood, Darling Harbour, Kings Cross, Luna Park, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Taronga Zoo and The Rocks.
Luna Park makes its Vivid Sydney debut with a grand light show, Spirit of Fun, bringing to life through large scale projections the soul and characters of the park on Coney Island. The Ferris Wheel turns with a dazzling refit of more than 3,000 LED lights.
Customs House makes its return to Vivid Sydney with Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, characters created by beloved Australian author May Gibbs. They will drop by to celebrate their 100th birthday with a joyous adventure through the Australian bush.
Skylark show Watch spectacular laser beams and lights beam into the night sky from atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay. The centerpiece is Bradfields Beacon — a fully interactive laser twice as strong as any ever seen on Sydney Harbour. Its full colour beams goes right around the harbour, spotlighting iconic sites and moving from the inner harbour to the headlands each night in a two-minute spectacle every 30 minutes.
The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney offers standout installations, among them, The Bloom a dazzling flower in the Garden with each guest featured at the centre of its 5-metre petals; a meandering puzzle-like pathway of light, Aqueous, that reacts when one jumps, runs and plays on it; and, new at Government House, all lit up by a projection designed by TAFE NSW students.
In Barangaroo, catch The Liminal Hour, a performance featuring a giant six-metre tall puppet which interacts with visitors on Wulugul Walk.
And on opening night, the Sydney Opera House is favoured by the Metamathemagical – this year’s stunning Lighting of the Sails by featured artist Jonathan Zawada.
At venues across the city, sync with diverse sounds.
Creative shows and acts by artistes such as St Vincent, the Grammy award -winning rock star and singer-songwriter, build on the excitement already flooding the city. Catch her on 17 June at Carriageworks.
Innovators in Jazz series At the City Recital Hall featuring triple Grammy award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis and some of the world’s finest jazz vocalists, including Grammy-winning baritone Kurt Elling and songstress Madeleine Peyroux. Also joining the line-up is Orange is the New Black star Lea DeLaria, who will mesh standup comedy with vocals in her live show.
Hiatus Kaiyote, one of the most sampled bands in the world, is at The City Recital Hall on 26 May. Psychedelia purveyors, Brian Jonestown Massacre, is at The Metro on 8 June.
A masquerade ball-rock show at the Enmore Theatre bills in on 7 June when Young Hearts Run Free brings to life the celebrated soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet; then there’s Australia’s electrifying punk band WAAX which performs on 9 June.
Explore also the innovative live event Curve Ball at contemporary arts centre Carriageworks on 18 June, splicing dance music with stunning visuals in an industrial setting. Headlined by EDM dj Alison Wonderland.
At the Sydney Opera House’s historic interiors, Vivid LIVE features 35 international and Australian performances including 19 Australian exclusives and 10 Sydney Opera House debuts. Highlights include the Australian debut of California’s alternative, atmospheric pop duo Mazzy Star at the Concert Hall. Daniel Johns (aka Dr Dreams) and Empire of the Sun’s Luke Steele will also be unveiling their highly anticipated electro-pop collaboration, Dreams for Vivid LIVE.
Join some of the world’s best and brightest innovators to explore fresh thinking in design, technology and culture with Vivid Ideas.
Hear from inspirational Game Changers including futurist and game developer Jane McGonigal and Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert Kriti Sharma, who will join forces and put AI, virtual reality and gaming under the microscope to question the type of society we are creating with technology on 3 June.
Pioneering environmental activists Peggy Oki and Laura Wells team up to talk about protecting oceans, tackling the war on plastic and turning passion into action on 6 June.
Mambo Clothing founder and all-round Australian global success story Dare Jennings will reveal the joys of throwing the rule book away and following your gut to create cult brands on 27 May.
Visual Strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-founder of the Museum of Awe Dan Goods, whose work fusing art and science is shown at festivals, museums and in outer space, shares his unique insights on 3 June.
Details and tickets to all events at vividsydney.com
TIPS: How to Make the Most of Your Festival
Plan ahead with precinct and accessibility maps, transport options and activities available at vividsydney.com or through the festival smartphone app.
Download the Vivid Sydney app to browse and discover everything on offer, take audio tours around Vivid Sydney precincts, light walks and events, save your festival favourites in one place on all your devices, and use the Map feature to see where you are and what’s nearby. Try out the new augmented reality functions while at the festival.
Take public transport. There’ll be road blocks in the CBD and The Rocks so take advantage of extra bus and train services during the festival. Ferries get very crowded, so have a back-up plan.
Go early for the festival and come back for more
Pick your days and time – going early in the week is quieter than Friday and Saturday. If you have young kids in tow, visiting early in the evening when lights go on at 6pm means you can see the lights, grab dinner and get little ones home in time for bed before the crowd builds. At Chatswood and Taronga Zoo, lights go on earlier at 5.30pm.
Confused? Ask Vivid Sydney Volunteers, they’re easy to spot in bright pink The Vivid Information Booths at Darling Harbour, Circular Quay & West Circular Quay have children ID wristbands – just add your contact number to make it easy to be reunited should you get separated in the crowd.