Vivid Sydney Festival 2015: An Overview

iStock_000041096424_LargeOver the space of 3 weeks in May and June, Sydney is transformed from a hustling urban centre into a canvas for the world’s most creative people. Vivid Sydney celebrates the creative excellence of artists from around the country and the world through extraordinary light displays, live music, and industry events.

Starting on the 22nd of May and continuing until the 8th of June, Vivid Sydney invites you to explore and discover what is on offer during this iconic winter event. From live music at bars to concerts at the Opera house, Vivid has it all on offer during this three week spectacular. With speaking and industry events, live music and art displays throughout the festival, there really is something for everyone.

The humble beginnings of Vivid Sydney

Back in 2009, while struggling to raise winter tourism numbers, Tourism New South Wales (NSW) decided to create a series of festivals to attract new visitors and increase Sydney’s profile. The result was four festivals aiming to bring in the best of several different industries. Two light festivals – Smart Light Sydney and Firewater – were designed, while a separate speaking event called Creative Sydney and a music event called Luminous were also created.

After feedback from various respected industry leaders, the festivals were combined and Vivid Sydney was born. Luminous became Vivid Live, Firewater and Smart Light Sydney became Vivid Light, and Creative Sydney became Vivid Ideas. The success was small but it quickly grew, and – judging by Vivid Sydney 2014 – it has now grown into a world leading winter festival.

To give you an idea of the size of it all, Vivid 2014 saw 1.43 million people visit Sydney for the festival during its scheduled three weeks. The festival displayed 56 light installations created by 140 artists from 15 different countries, which in turn brought in $10 million dollars worth of income to the city alone.

Vivid Sydney 2015

At this point in time not much is known about this year’s festival, however if previous years are anything to go by, we’re all in for a treat! Morrissey has been announced as the first headline act, playing four shows at the Sydney Opera house, with more musical acts yet to be announced.

Vivid Ideas last year enjoyed over 200 events with 550 speakers, spreading and discussing ideas about design, architecture, animation, visual arts, performing arts, film, technology and much, much more. Currently no hints or secrets have been let out as for who to expect this year, but as always expect to have your mind blown and eyes opened to some incredible speakers, presentations and events.

Sydney Opera House and Harbour Cruises

As with most things based in Sydney, the Opera house takes central stage as it hosts Vivid Live and huge visual displays on its sails. 2014 saw four huge displays take their audiences through a journey of time, as well as showing some of the most incredible achievements of civilisation.

Catch what’s on display while walking around the harbour or, better yet, enjoy dinner and a show with one of the many harbour cruises available.

Things you should know to get the most out of Vivid Sydney!

Going to a Sydney festival for the first time can be intimidating, especially when you haven’t been to the city before. The good news is that we’ve put together some great tips so you don’t make any of the rookie mistakes!

  1. Bring cold weather clothes – May and June weather is unpredictable at the best of times, and Sydney has copped a fair amount of wild weather recently. It’s best to layer your outfit so that you’re comfortable no matter what the weather is. It can also get surprisingly cold overnight, so when you’re exploring the city in the evening make sure you have something warm with you.
  2. There is food everywhere – One of the best things about festivals is the amount of food available. Sydney is well known for it’s amazing range of cuisine, but whenever there is a festival on things get kicked up a notch. There are plenty of vendors around the Opera house and other locations throughout the city, with even the occasional pop up bar making an appearance too.
  3. The best way to get around is with Public Transport – Sydney is home to the Opal card, a debit-style electronic card that is used for all public transportation. Once you have an Opal card, you can load on a specific amount of money that can then be used on all buses, ferries, trains and light rails in Sydney.

So rug up this winter and take the time to check out the Vivid Sydney 2015 festival. Here at Maze Backpackers we book out quickly over this period, so make sure you shotgun your bed now!