The theme for this year’s Vivid Festival is Naturally, and features more than 300 attractions reflecting the world’s natural beauty of land and sea.
Alongside the light, music, and ideas programmes – there’s also a new addition in 2023 – Vivid Food!
We are spoilt for choice to see incredible light displays at this time of year, but as a priority – make some space in your diaries for what is being billed as the biggest drone show in the southern hemisphere.
Written in the Stars is a free light show featuring 1000 drones over Circular Quay, and will run for 10 minutes from 9pm over six nights.
Sunday, 28 May 2023
Wednesday, 31 May 2023
Sunday, 4 June 2023
Wednesday, 7 June 2023
Monday, 12 June 2023
Wednesday, 14 June 2023
Some of the iconic buildings of Circular Quay will once again featured in festival, with artworks projected onto the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House.
This year, the installation at the Royal Botanic Garden will be a ticketed event, with prices starting at $30. Lightscape is described as “an after-dark oasis of botanical brilliance”. It includes a ‘winter cathedral’ installation, tree canopies lined with colour, larger than life flowers, and glowing tunnels. It’s new to Vivid in Sydney, after successful stints in the US and UK.
Vivid Taronga is a fun family event in our neck of the woods. This year the Wild Lights event is back with new installations and lanterns inspired by the 2023 Naturally theme. It runs for 18 nights – but remember to book tickets before you go! You can read more about Vivid Taronga here.
Take the family and head for a stroll around Darling Harbour which hosts the famous water and light show featuring 80 metre water shooters, flames, projections, and pyrotechnics set to an original soundtrack.
At Tumbalong Park, where the light journey begins, there will be live music for the kids from 5pm each Saturday. Parents will remember Peter Combe who is one of the acts! As the night goes on, the music continues with live eclectic contemporary acts.
The historical landmark Goods Line Tunnel, underneath Central Station, will once again feature lights, lasers and smoke effects – but be prepared to queue!
Barangaroo is a big feature of the festival in 2023, with a several free options including an illuminated trail that takes you through the natural surrounds of Barangaroo Reserve, and then along the Wulugul Walk where an array of food options awaits.
Vivid House is an immersive 360 degree experience at The Cutaway in Barangaroo that takes you on a journey exploring Australia’s oceans and landscapes through four different photographic experiences. The Australian Ocean experience captures seals, turtles, dolphins and even the legendary albino Humpback whale, Migaloo.
Outside on the Stargazer lawn is The Last Ocean. Described as a “massive tessellated ice sheet”, it is made from reclaimed ocean plastic and lights up in different ways when stepped on. Great for the kids!
The Vivid Festival is not just about the lights – there is Vivid Music, featuring live music at various venues (many require tickets so check in advance!). Tumbalong Park is free every night, but there are also paid options including acts at the Sydney Opera House, and A Bend in the River, a special tribute to indigenous musician and activist Archie Roach AC at Sydney Town Hall.
Vivid Ideas includes a wide range of speakers, including Jennifer Coolidge (hello White Lotus fans!),to lead thought provoking discussions. Some events are free, others are ticketed so check before you head off.
This year, there’s also Vivid Food, featuring pop-up restaurants to showcase Sydney’s delicious foodie culture. For those with a more refined palate, there is a special “Chef Series” which will see four internationally renowned chefs in restaurants around the city; tickets start at $125/head.
Extra public transport services will operate during the Vivid festival, although there are some changes to public transport services as a safety precaution to manage the crowds expected around the harbour foreshore.
Vivid Sydney runs for 23 days, from Friday 26 May until Saturday 17 June.
For the full program of Vivid Sydney including more details on music performances, food programmes, and discussion forums please visit:
Image credit: Vivid Sydney