With Vivid Sydney quickly approaching, now is a fantastic time to start planning your experience.
The festival, which combines light, music and ideas, runs for 23 days and nights across a number of the city’s most spectacular locations: Circular Quay, the Rocks, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Chatswood, Carriageworks and, of course, the Sydney Opera House.
Vivid is the winter event to attend and, heading into its eighth year, it is only getting better with age.
To save you from grappling with FOMO, we’ve come up with the quintessential guide to Vivid Sydney. Thank us later.
If you have been patiently waiting for Björk to return to our shores, it’s time to get excited. Vivid Sydney has secured the world premiere of her astonishing exhibition ‘Björk Digital’, which uses virtual reality to welcome visitors into five unique spaces, each of which represents different aspects of the cutting edge performer.
A sensory overload of colour, light, music and joy.
That’s not all though, Björk herself is making the trip to the beautiful Harbour City to host two parties, which will see her and friends spinning tunes, in what we expect to be a sensory overload of colour, light, music and joy.
Carriageworks/June 4-18/Free (bookings advised)
If you are seeking an awe-striking experience, look no further than the Cathedral of Light. The installation – a collaboration between Mandylights, Daniel Mercer, Shane Radcliffe, and Andy Romanowski – makes use of tens of thousands of LED lights to create a 70-metre-long tunnel inspired by the traditional arched windows of churches.
The ‘cathedral’ can be viewed from both inside (for a more intimate experience) and out, and has that same warm sense of inclusiveness that one would expect from a place of worship.
The Royal Botanic Gardens/May 27 – June 18/Free
The installation explores the complex wonder of DNA; featuring 24 moving light tubes that spiral around a core continuously. When viewed from different angles, the installation structure and colours shift, with each colour representing a different element in the DNA molecule.
A fascinating look at the dichotomy of art and science.
Circular Quay/May 27 – June 18/Free
In yet another world premiere, Sydney-only event, Vivid will play host to Grammy-award winning musician Bon Iver as he presents ‘Cercle’, a unique concert experience.
The series of shows will see Justin Vernon, the 34-year-old singer-songwriter behind the project, performing a stripped back, retrospective reimagining of his catalogue in-the-round.
This is set to be a stunning experience for die-hard fans and new introductions alike.
Sydney Opera House/May 27–30/From $89
One big celebration of fine food, wine, dancing and the cityscape in general.
Cake Wines are known for their commitment to the best of art and music as much as their commitment to all things wine. As such, it comes as no surprise that they are presenting a roaming party, along with Lovebombs (one of Sydney’s most respected DJ collectives), that will be one big celebration of fine food, wine, dancing and the cityscape in general.
Hosted across a number of rooftops, warehouses, laneways, and even a basketball court, the party is set to satiate all of your senses’ desires.
Secret location/June 11/From $25
One of Perth’s finest exports, Ta-ku is a talented musician who works across a number of genres. Known for his remixes, mixtape, and phenomenal ‘Songs To Break Up To’ and ‘Songs to Make Up To’ EPs, the enigma (whose real name is Regan Mathews) rarely sets foot onstage. Yet Vivid has secured his Australian solo debut, which will see Future Classic labelmate Wafia join him to wow audiences with their lush sound.
Fresh from his world headline debut at New York’s prestigious PS1, the show is set to be a watershed moment in a career full of surprises.
Sydney Opera House/June 3/From $39
If you have a burgeoning interest in tech, this is the event for you. The Surnise is a conference for founders that brings together some of Australia’s most successful techies to talk about their successes, failures and pivotal decisions.
This year’s panel includes Vinomofo’s Andre Eikmeier, Google Fiber’s Craig Barratt and Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes. They’re drawn from a diverse array of companies, yet they all have one thing in common: they are at the forefront of the field.
Learn firsthand what it takes to build a successful startup in our island nation.
Carriageworks/May 30/From $99
Sessions involve candid keynotes and discussions, creating an intimate day of personal conversations.
Soul Safari Sydney is a two-day event for creative entrepreneurs. The first day is all about listening, learning and connecting, and will feature the likes of designers Beci Orpin and Khai Liew. The sessions involve candid keynotes and discussions, creating an intimate day of personal conversations. Day two is an immersive, live art event that will act as a dreamlike melting pot of makers, designers, creators and collaborators.
Come along to connect with like-minded creatives and turn your vision into a reality.
The School/June 4 and 5/From $75
Rapidly building a global fanbase, Margaret Zhang is a highly successful stylist, photographer and creative director who only entered the fashion industry in 2009. Zhang is set to share her journey, explain her processes and practices, as well her approach to collaborations, and offer a peep into her world and sophisticated aesthetic.
With clients like UNIQLO, Swarovski, Clinique, and Louis Vuitton in her portfolio, this is a talk you do not want to miss.
Sydney Town Hall/May 28/From $25
Set to take over Chippendale’s Kensington Street, these three exciting events will be an intriguing exploration into Sydney’s thriving cultural hub; creative local talent taking the lead.
Three exciting events will be an intriguing exploration into Sydney’s thriving cultural hub.
The first evening will see the Chippendale New World Art Prize Finalist Exhibition opening, where the annual prize winner will be announced. Expect captivating speeches and great art.
The second evening is the Feast for The Senses dinner, which will see internationally acclaimed chef Tiw Rakarin serving up Indochina fare, and feature talks from guest speakers, including Dr Stanley Quek.
The final afternoon features a special edition of the Explore Chippendale’s Free Gallery Walking Tour, with esteemed guests leading participants through a showcase of Sydney’s thriving art scene.
Kensington Street, Chippendale/June 2–4/Free (registration essential)
Whether it’s the music, light, or ideas that you want to experience (and frankly, why not go see it all?) Vivid Sydney is guaranteed to have something to wow and inspire everyone.
The winter festival is unlike anything else in the world. Get out there and see the city like you never have before. Tickets are on sale now (don’t dawdle, seriously) but remember that a lot of the festival is free – and it doesn’t get much better than that.