A Guide to Vivid Sydney 2017

mazebackpackers - A Guide to Vivid Sydney 2017

As the long days of summer pass and the long nights of winter set in, all Sydneysiders know that Vivid is coming! Grand-scale light and art projections, fantastical installation art, and world renowned performers and musicians take over Sydney city and harbour, transforming it into a festival full of surprises to tantalise every sense. From its exploration of light, sound, and ideas, Vivid Sydney’s magical realm of possibilities attracts millions of locals and tourists each year. Running from 26 May to 17 June, Vivid returns with promises to surprise our senses in more ways than ever before.

Whether you’ve experienced Vivid before or you’re planning your first time, planning is key to making sure you see all the highlights that this year’s festival has on offer. Spread across several suburbs, the Vivid Lights and Vivid Sounds doesn’t just end at Circular Quay. From Chatswood to the newly-developed Barangaroo, all the way across the Harbour to Taronga Zoo, there is something new and exciting around each corner.


Although you’ll want to see and experience every light installation, musical act, and presentations, there are a few areas that you can’t afford to miss!

The Rocks/Circular Quay

The epicentre of Vivid, where spectacular light projections illuminate Sydney’s iconic Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Around the quay, you’ll find smaller, interactive installations to keep your imagination inspired. Just behind the Museum of Contemporary Art you’ll discover The Rocks, home to cobblestone streets and the hub of Vivid Ideas. From panel discussions on industry-related issues, to greater social and cultural issues, be sure to pick at least one session. But, make sure to book tickets in advance as these sessions sell out quickly.

The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney

By day, The Royal Botanic Gardens are stunning, but by night during Vivid, the space takes on a whole new lease of life. With light projections and interactive sculptures guiding your way around the gardens, you’ll be greeted by The Big Red Button, Birds of Lumos, You Lookin’ At Me, and Spreading Life. And with inspiration being drawn from nature – the magic it allows as well as the environmental challenges it faces – you’ll be transported into a world of societal critique lit by fluorescents.

Martin Place

A nice walk from the shopping hub at Pitt Street Mall, or a few train stops from Circular Quay, you’ll find a wonderland of light set up in Sydney’s iconic Martin Place. The business hub will transform into a visual feast for your eyes. With the iconic curved architecture of the Commercial Travellers Association (CTA) building metamorphosed into Urban Tree 2.0 – a giant mushroom-shaped tree housing various, illuminated critters.

And, if you’ve ever dreamt of seeing the Northern Lights, you will be able to see them in Motti+Smith and Paper Moose’s Atmos, just near the intersection between Martin Place and Castlereagh Street. The waves of illumination on the ethereal fabric draping above the dining area also makes the perfect setting for a magical dinner experience.

Darling Harbour

Always teeming with life, entertainment, and lights, Darling Harbour is a must-see all year ‘round. But this year for Vivid, Darling Harbour is becoming the stage for the incredible Magicians of the Mist, which is bound to be the must-see performance of Vivid Sydney 2017. Art and technology merge as projections are illuminated onto clouds of mist and walls of water. Featuring a mystical figure, fireworks, flames, and music, this technological success and artistic masterpiece is sure to captivate every age.

And, if you’re looking for a greater focus on music while still maintaining the essence of Vivid, be sure to grab a ticket to The Colourblast Full Moon Party. With laser installations, live performances by Social Hooliganz, Tenzin, Ember, and DJ KOSTA, this party is not one to be missed! Or, if you want to be a part of the battle of the DJs, head into the second room where a silent disco will ascertain which DJ reigns supreme.

Sydney Opera House

During Vivid, the exterior of the Opera House isn’t the only thing on show: The Opera House will play host to special musical guests including Laura Marling, Nick Murphy (Chet Faker), and The Avalanches (with special guests DJ Shadow, Briggs, Sampa the Great, and DJ JNETT). With international artists such as the British Laura Marling gracing our shores, be sure to mark your calendars and book your tickets in advance.

Must See event: 2071: Performance for Social Change

There are dozens of intriguing Vivid Ideas this year, both niche and universal, but one stands out: 2071: Performance for Social Change performed at the Seymour Centre. This performance about climate change starring John Gaden and created from the writings of renowned scientist Professor Chris Rapley, is not only about global warming, but also what our world could look like in the future. With 3D projections, theatre performances, original music score, science, and art, this production has already received critical acclaim after its performances in Germany, Brussels, and two seasons in London. Ticket booking is essential.

Get ready for light, music and ideas with Vivid 2017

With endless highlights, it’s clear that Vivid 2017 is going to bigger and better than last year’s incredible showcase. For more information on transport options and for the full list and locations of the hundreds of Vivid events, head to the Vivid Sydney website.