Exploring Vivid Sydney lights show

Back for another year, the Vivid festival will amaze locals and visitors to Sydney from Friday 27th May to Saturday 18th June. 

Last year, 112,000 interstate and overseas visitors came to Sydney to explore the festival’s offerings. The festival is held across Sydney in 15 designated ‘precincts’, all offering spectacular displays of lights, music performances and intriguing discussions, the largest of its kind in the world.

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Sydney's iconic Opera House will light up for the annual Vivid festival 

The Lights
Circular Quay is the centre of Vivid’s light displays, with the ever-popular Vivid Light Walk being set up for another year. The walk features over 60 light art installations along the harbour, and winds past the Opera House to the Rocks and Walsh Bay. This year the eastern side of the Harbour Bridge will also be illuminated, which is viewable along the walk. The Customs House sandstone facade will once again be lit up, this year showcasing Sydney’s ‘hidden stories’.

Also in the Quay, Vivid provides an opportunity to reflect with the McGrath Foundation Mosaic, a projection of thousands of faces of those affected by breast cancer.

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The McGrath Foundation mosaic is designed to encourage fundraising for breast-care nurses

Gliding and zipping around the Harbour, vessels adorned with changing light displays will make up the Harbour Lights installation to enchant waterside viewers, whilst visitors to Central Park will experience a light instillation exploring technology and the ‘Rise of the Robot’.

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Central Park's light projections explore the change from manual labor to automation

Further afield, Taroonga Zoo will come alive with giant animal light sculptures, with a focus on conservation. It’s the zoo’s first year as part of the festival, along with the Royal Botanic Gardens, where 3D-mapped projections across the gardens to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

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Taroonga Zoo will light up during Vivid Sydney for the first time

In Northern Sydney, Chatswood will return to the Vivid program for its second year, taking visitors on a wild journey of prehistoric creatures from Gondwana. This is an ideal spot to take the grandkids, where they can play with illuminated sea creatures at the ‘Luminarium’.

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Vivid light displays at Chatswood, on Sydney's North Shore

Lights are on from 6pm to 11pm every night of the event.

The Music
Vivid LIVE, presented at the iconic Opera House, will feature musical acts such as New Order, Bon Iver and The Wayne Shorter Quartet on the world-famous stage. In Eveleigh, Björk Digital will showcase her new virtual reality project at Carriageworks - the world premiere of the show. On the 4th and the 18th of June, this cultural hub will also host ‘The Night Market’, where New South Wales’ top chefs and food producers will provide visitors with an unforgettable taste experience.

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 British band New Order will perform at the Opera House 

There are twenty locations with live performances and DJ shows. Visit the Vivid website for the full listing.

The Ideas
Vivid Ideas is an action-packed program of talks, workshops, debates and conferences led by some of the most influential talent from across the globe. This year, the likes of Jenji Kohan (director, Orange is the New Black), Spike Jonze (director, Where the Wild Things Are), Margaret Zhang (a rising Australian photographer and stylist) and Beau Williamson (creator, House of Cards) will headline the program with fascinating insights into their creativity. Find the full program here.

Getting Around
Getting to, from and around Vivid Sydney is easy. The NSW government is putting on extra bus and train services, with some bus routes running 24 hours. Ferries are expected to be crowded, so organisers encourage having a back-up plan in case you can’t make it on board. Call 131 500 for timetable and service information, and make sure to get an Opal card!

Vivid is a very popular event, drawing nearly 1.5 million people in 2014. Popular spots such as Circular Quay can become very crowded, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. To avoid the crowds, try visiting on a weeknight, or to the locations outside of the city, such as Chatswood. Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes!

All the light shows are free, whilst some of the Music and Ideas events come at a price. For all the details, head to vividsydney.com

Have you been to Vivid Sydney before? Share your favourite experiences below.