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The world’s largest light festival

Sydney is getting ready for the world’s largest light festival. For 3 weeks, landmark buildings and structures such as the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Museum of Contemporary Art will be bathed in colourful light. Laser shows, projections, light fountains and fireworks displays ensure a visual spectacle. The event also features performances by world-famous artists such as Morrissey and Grace Jones. Vivid Sydney is expected to draw 1.5 million visitors.

The festival was created to generate further tourism after the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Vivid Sydney is the brainchild of Tourism New South Wales and Brian Eno; the former keyboard player of Roxy Music inaugurated the event’s first edition in 2009. This was an amazing show, with projections by 23 different light artists displayed on the Opera House. Since then, the festival has been growing each year: in 2013 it attracted 800,000 visitors, while last year 1.4 million people attended. This record should be generously exceeded this year, thanks to 60 light installations and dozens of conferences, workshops, concerts and parties. Use the special app to plan your personal route.

Impression of the projection on the Opera House
Impression of the projection on the Opera House


Light art all around Sydney

Sydney Harbour is an impressive sight indeed, with its Opera House, the famous and spectacular Harbour Bridge, the jumble of floating pleasure boats, ferries and cruise ships, as well as a dozen islands with evocative names such as Goat Island, Spectacle Island and Cockatoo Island. It is at this magical location, in perhaps the most beautiful natural harbour in the world, where most of Vivid Sydney takes place. Under the title ‘Lighting the Sails’, the British art collective Universal Everything projects a nightly kaleidoscopic light artwork in every colour of the rainbow onto the ‘sails’ of the Opera House. Up to 100,000 individually controlled LED lamps illuminate the Harbour Bridge. Images of Sydney’s flora and fauna are projected onto the monumental façade of the Customs House and dozens of tour boats and ferries are also colourfully illuminated. Another 56 light art installations can be admired around the city.

“A kaleidoscopic light artwork is projected onto the ‘sails’ of the Opera House”

Australian fauna on the Customs House

Quiet disco

In addition to the light festival Vivid Sydney Light, the event offers many other attractions. Vivid Sydney Ideas is filled with inspiring lectures and workshops by creative types. ‘Modulations’ in the old Carriageworks train depot offers a combination of food and music with the Italo Dining & Disco Club and 2 performances by superstar Grace Jones. One of the highlights of Vivid Sydney Music are the 4 evening performances by Morrissey at the Opera House. Although his shows sell out fast, there are still tickets available to many of the other concerts. There are also numerous free events, such as a Silent Disco in Central Park.
Sydney Harbour during Vivid Sydney