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Vivid SydneyMay - June

Sydney, New South Wales

See Sydney in a sparkling new light during the annual Vivid Sydney. Each winter, the world’s best designers and artists transform the city. See stunning images projected onto Sydney Opera House, control the lights on the Harbour Bridge, play with interactive light sculptures throughout the city centre, experience great music and hear inspiring talks.

Reasons to attend

1. What started out as a little idea to boost winter business in central Sydney is now one of the city’s biggest success stories. Vivid started in 2009 with four elements but has since been streamlined into three simple concepts – light, music and ideas – that unfold over 18 days. The event is now so popular that it attracts nearly 1.5 million attendees each year.

2. Grab a camera and experience Sydney in a whole other light. Australia’s harbour city is gorgeous by day but, with help from the world’s most cutting-edge artists and designers, it is transformed into something magical with light-art sculptures, grand-scale projections and installations in unexpected places.

Experience: The Sydney Harbour Bridge can be climbed all year but it’s particularly spectacular during Vivid. Climb the bridge at night for a bird’s-eye view of the projections on the Opera House sails and the lighting of other city landmarks. For the past few years, climbers have worn flashing vests to become part of the light show. 

Vivid Festival, Museum of
Contemporary Art, Sydney, NSW

3. Regular festival-goers look forward to Vivid’s centrepiece event: the lighting of the Opera House sails. Previously, the iconic sails have become a canvas for projections that included snakeskin, butterfly wings and space-inspired patterns, and included imagery from musicians Brian Eno and Laurie Anderson.

4. While much of the after-dark sparkle is concentrated in Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, Vivid Sydney’s brilliant light also returns to Chatswood, Central Park and the Australian National Maritime Museum, Martin Place and new precinct The Galeries, which becomes the festival’s first indoor precinct. Treasured attractions, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Taronga Zoo, will light up during Vivid Sydney in celebration of the monumental anniversaries both celebrate in 2016. 

Experience: Get off land and experience VIVID from a whole new angle. Jump aboard a boat for a dining cruise that includes a 6-course degustation menu, vintage Australian wines and a liove band to soundtrack your view of Sydney illuminated in colour. 

Vivid Sydney, Walsh Bay,
Sydney Harbour, NSW

5. Sydney’s harbour watercraft also join in the Vivid fun. Ferries, cruise boats and water taxis are adorned with bright lights during the festival. Darling Harbour showcases “dancing” water jets, sculptural fountains, full-colour lasers, video projections and marine fireworks during Vivid. 250,000 people watch the shows unfold hourly from 6pm until 11pm, with an extra show on Saturdays.

6. Vivid’s cutting-edge music program covers everything from indie, pop and rock concerts through to classical orchestras – previous big names include The Pixies, Pet Shop Boys and Lauryn Hill. The gigs take place in venues ranging from intimate subterranean spaces through to the grand Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.

How to get here

Don a pair of comfortable walking shoes. The best way to see Vivid is on foot so start in Circular Quay, head to Martin Place and on to Darling Harbour. Buses regularly service The Star casino and the University of Sydney; take a short taxi ride to Carriageworks.

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