Everything Free at Vivid Sydney 2024

Submitted by Vivid Sydney

05 Apr 2024
Love is in the air drone

 

From 24 May to 15 June, Vivid Sydney returns to spark connection, wonder and reflection through Light, Music, Ideas and Food.

Over 23 nights, activations, projections, gigs, performances, talks and food will converge across our Harbour City as we explore this year’s theme of humanity together. The best part? So much of Vivid Sydney is free for you to experience (save for tapping your Opal card, of course!).

See our guide to free Vivid Sydney events below – some require you to register in advance as they have limited spots, but we’ll signpost those. To plan your Vivid Sydney visit, don't forget to use MyVivid to save your favourite events and create a shareable itinerary.

 

LIGHT

Vivid Sydney’s famous Light Walk is completely free, so lace up your sneakers and take in the 8km stretch packed with wondrous installations and projections. To make the most of your experience, we suggest you break up the Light Walk over several nights. The walk stretches from Circular Quay all the way to The Goods Line, and features over 30 large-scale projections and immersive, interactive works. See the full program or check out our top picks below.

 

Lighting of the Sails: Echo by Julia Gutman
Lighting of the Sails: Echo by Julia Gutman

LIGHTING OF THE SAILS: ECHO BY JULIA GUTMAN

Witness the Sydney Opera House sails be transformed by a projected tapestry of fabric with 2023 Archibald Prize winner Julia Gutman’s reimagining of the Narcissus myth. Each year, the Lighting of the Sails is always captivating, and Julia’s beautiful blend of storytelling, fabric patchworks and technology will be a truly unique spectacle. The beauty of this story will reverberate in your mind long after the lights are switched off.

SEA, SAND AND STARS

Immerse yourself in celebrated Chinese-Australian artist Guan Wei's visionary world. Watch as the story splashed across the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia’s facade takes you from deep in the sea to the outer reaches of space, and back to Bondi Beach. This is the first time Guan Wei’s work has been transformed into a light projection and the result is a poetic journey that explores both the mystical and the everyday.

HORIZON

Get ready to lose yourself in this hypnotic, full-body experience where light and sound combine to distort space and perception. This free installation at Harbour Park, Barangaroo by Spanish light and sound studio Playmodes is a mesmerising encounter that challenges and expands your sense of possibility and reality. It’s time to explore new horizons!

NEST

Step into this large-scale circular projection by Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban and witness the ethereal dance of the brolga, one of only two native Australian cranes. These majestic, larger-than-life birds soar as though in mid-air, inviting you to reflect on the wonder of nature and our enduring connection with the environment.

 

Nest
Nest

GUMSCAPE WITH ROAD AND CREATURES

Strap yourself in and get ready to embark on a surreal road trip with legendary Australian musician and artist Reg Mombassa. Watch Customs House come alive with retro-futuristic robots, one-eyed koalas and other strange creatures in this reimagining of Australian icons. You can also catch Reg performing as part of Dog Trumpet for a live and free concert outside Customs House on Saturday 25 May at 7:30pm.

HIKA RAKUYO

Experience the ephemeral beauty of life through a dazzling light and laser show at Cockle Bay. This stunning work by Tokyo-based artist collective ETERNAL Art Space is inspired by Japanese philosophy, Australian flora, the transient beauty of flowers and our deep connection to nature.

GLOBAL RAINBOW

Gaze up as beams of rainbow lasers stretch 40kms across the Sydney cityscape from the Sydney Tower – wrapping its arms around Vivid Sydney with a spectrum of hope and inclusivity.

OMNIVISU

Look up at a building that looks back at you. Step up to the Omnivisu view finder in Tumbalong Park, and see your own eyes projected onto a distant building. This work by Berlin and New York-based design studio TheGreenEyl gives the otherwise faceless silhouette of our city a human face.

SYNTHETIC HUM(AI)NITY

This piece by Sydney based studio VANDAL is a triptych of humanity, technology and Artificial Intelligence splashed across the ASN Clock Tower. Step up to this visual, interactive and conceptual exploration of our evolving relationship with AI and rethink what it means to be human.

CHAIRWAVE

It’s time to take a seat and make a new friend! As you approach this fun, interactive work from Amsterdam-based design studio VOUW Studio, an illuminated chair unfolds inviting you to sit down. Once seated, the chair next to you becomes available, encouraging an unexpected encounter with someone you’ve just met.

LOVE IS IN THE AIR (DRONE SHOW)  

Look up and witness a heart-stirring drone show painting the sky with universal symbols of love. This aerial spectacle of light and colour celebrates our innate capacity to connect. This not-to-be-missed show will dazzle Vivid Sydney for three nights only on the 8, 9 and 15 June.  

Hika Rakuyo
Hika Rakuyo

MUSIC

Tumbalong Park, the heart of Vivid Sydney's Light Walk, transforms into Tumbalong Nights, a vibrant stage for contemporary music, echoing with sounds that celebrate our shared humanity. For 23 unforgettable nights, the park comes alive under the starlit sky, featuring a stellar line-up of international voices, local talent and DJs – all for free. Plus, special performances for kids light up the stage every Saturday at 5pm.

You can turn up any night of the festival and experience music that will move you or get organised and pop our highlights below in your diary now.

Tumbalong Park
Tumbalong Park

MALLRAT AND TIFFI (FRIDAY 24 MAY)

Get ready to kick off Tumbalong Nights in style and immerse yourself in a night of indie-pop and intimate lyricism from internationally adored Brisbane export Mallrat and the wry and dreamy sounds of Western Sydney’s tiffi.

JALBU MUNA (SATURDAY 25 MAY)

Join this powerful celebration of the stories and songs of First Nations women. This vibrant, all-women line-up bridges culture, Country and generations through a night of music, dance and First Nations traditions at Tumbalong Nights. This free night of music is curated by musician Deline Briscoe and features Christine Anu, Kee'ahn and many more.

CLUB BROADWAY + THE CARPENTERS FROM KEMPSEY (SATURDAY 1 JUNE)

This will be an unforgettable night of theatrics, singalongs and laughter as show-stopping musical theatre sensation Club Broadway sing you through top musical numbers with all the energy of a big night out. Don’t miss fabulous tribute band The Carpenters From Kempsey who’ll also grace the Tumbalong stage.

K-INDIE MUSIC FEST FEAT. SILICA GEL + SUNWOOJUNGA (FRIDAY 7 JUNE)

Immerse yourself in the captivating sounds of Korea's most exciting K-Indie acts, sunwoojunga and Silica Gel. This Australian exclusive performance is a unique opportunity to experience the depth and diversity of Korean music: a blend of folk, indie-pop and rock.

K-Indie Music Fest Feat. Silica Gel + Sunwoojunga
K-Indie Music Fest Feat. Silica Gel + Sunwoojunga

GRENTPEREZ AND FRIDAY* (SATURDAY 8 JUNE)

This promises to be a night of fresh sounds to elevate the Saturday night of your June long weekend. Enjoy the R&B and vintage bossa nova croon of 22-year-old Western Sydney sensation grentperez and the genre-bending groove of FRIDAY*.

3% PRESENTS 'KILL THE DEAD' ALBUM LAUNCH (FRIDAY 14 JUNE)

An extraordinary celebration of First Nations stories and sound, the innovative rap powerhouse 3% will take centre stage with a performance of its debut album KILL THE DEAD. See the whole album performed live, plus catch appearances from all the album’s guest contributors including Jess Mauboy, Tia Gostelow, Marlon Motlop, Stay True God and Denni.

BUDJERAH AND JEM CASSAR-DALEY (SATURDAY 15 JUNE)

Join pop sensation Budjerah and singer-songwriter Jem Cassar-Daley as they close Tumbalong Nights out with an evening of soul-stirring R&B pop and indie magic on 15 June. This is your opportunity to experience two of Australia's most compelling voices with a night of uplifting melodies and storytelling.

Budjerah and Jem Cassar-Daley
Budjerah and Jem Cassar-Daley

IDEAS

Vivid Ideas is more than a series of talks; it's a platform for activation and inspiration, an opportunity to challenge and reshape perspectives on the world and peoples’ role within it.

This year’s theme of humanity will be grappled through live performances, panel discussions, walking tours, immersive dance pieces and other thought-provoking experiences. Spark your empathy, intellect and imagination with our free program highlights below.

A New Normal
A New Normal

AFTER THE FACT

Join a free, lively and stimulating panel discussion every weeknight that dissects the day's news and current affairs, moderated by Tom Wright. A great way to kick-off your Vivid Sydney evening and to engage more deeply with the day’s breaking news with a drink in hand at Rekodo, Barangaroo House.

WINDOW DRESSING

This performance art piece turns the Frank Gehry-designed building at UTS into a canvas of illuminated stories, inviting onlookers to peer into eight windows animated by a “performance” in each, allowing you to indulge our natural curiosity about the lives of others. Right in the Fire Kitchen action, this free show is not to be missed when visiting The Goods Line.

A NEW NORMAL

What does sustainability look like in the not-too-distant future? Find out when you sit on furniture made entirely from rubbish, feel the heat radiating from a sauna powered by leftovers and see below the bonnet of an old petrol car transformed into a solar-powered 'forever car'. This immersive future-prototype hub is an opportunity for people of all ages to see sustainable, innovative ideas up close and in action.

SPIRITS OF THE HOEY

It’s time to relive the glory days of legendary Sydney music venue, the Hopetoun Hotel, through a panel chat and VR documentary. Featuring Hoey-regulars Sarah Blasko, Clyde Bramley, Sally Seltmann and more, this is a fun and illuminating trip down memory lane.

Don’t forget to register for tickets to attend this free event.

ART AFTER HOURS X VIVID SYDNEY

This Vivid Sydney special edition of the Art Gallery of NSW’s ever-popular Art After Hours brings together stellar Light Walk artists Julia Gutman, Leila Jeffreys, Reg Mombassa and Guan Wei. They’ll discuss art's role in understanding humanity and the talk will be moderated by Benjamin Law.

NOWHERE TO BE

Watch this breath-taking portrait of a bustling world in stillness. This free, Australian premiere of this compelling documentary offers a fresh look at the COVID-19 pandemic through the lens of 31 international cinematographers. Surprising, moving and utterly compelling, catch it at UTS’ Chau Chak Wing Museum on The Goods Line.

SAY MY NAME: THE HUMANITY OF NAMES

Explore what it means to have a so-called “unusual” name in a panel discussion led by Jan Fran. Hear personal stories and cultural histories, then leave with insights and tools for rectifying mispronunciations and working together for a more respectful and inclusive society. Don’t forget to register for tickets to attend this free event.

FOOD

This year Vivid Sydney is serving up two Food options where you can experience the best of the globe’s cuisines for very little. In fact, you can visit VividPlace Food Trail and Vivid Fire Kitchen without spending a dime. You’ll have to exercise very strong willpower though, as the air will be filled with the delicious smells of fire cooking and market fare. Rest assured, there are options at either end of the Light Walk to suit anyone on a budget.

Vivid Sydney Fire Kitchen
Vivid Fire Kitchen

VIVIDPLACE FOOD TRAIL

Behind Customs House, Sydney Place and Bulletin Place laneways transform into VividPlace Food Trail, a night market that brings the world's culinary delights to the heart of Sydney. With over 20 restaurants, bars and market stalls to choose from, it's a chance to explore global cuisines right on Circular Quay's doorstep, no reservations required

VIVID FIRE KITCHEN

Bask in the glow of open flames and enjoy the best of flame-cooked street food as you celebrate the diversity of NSW’s food scene. Food trucks, markets stalls and barbecue stands will serve the best Filipino, Spanish, Sudanese, Lebanese, Greek, Mexican and Italian dishes, plus much more. You’ll also be able to catch cooking demos by the best in the business, such as local pit master Lennox Hastie, Australian culinary legend Christine Manfield and Michelin-starred owner of Nouri, Ivan Brehm.  

At Vivid Sydney, every activation is an invitation to explore and celebrate the many facets this year’s theme of Humanity. We hope our many free events help to enlighten, entertain and inspire you across the 23 nights of the festival.

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