What’s new at Vivid Sydney 2022
What’s new at Vivid Sydney 202206 Apr 2022
This year’s Vivid Sydney breaks a lot of new ground. For the first time in the festival’s history, the lights, music and ideas are all centred around a theme – The Soul of Our City. “In 2022, Vivid Sydney dives deep into the essence of Sydney’s soul,” says Gill Minervini, Vivid Sydney Festival Director, “exploring what defines the character of great cities.” The new theme brings many new elements to the program: from late nights celebrating Sydney’s history and culture to immersive experiences that flaunt the city’s creativity, be the first to encounter these brand-new experiences in 2022.
Before the lights go on at Vivid Sydney 2022, opening night of the festival launches with a special new event: First Light, a powerful acknowledgement and celebration of our First Nations culture shaped by Creative Advisor Rhoda Roberts AO. Inspired by our First Nations people and the first harnessable source of light and warmth – fire – this spectacular and memorable event includes a Welcome to Country, Smoking Ceremony, and a specially designed performance by NAISDA dancers, choreographed by Deon Hastie. It’s set to a stunning backdrop of the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons illuminated with Sharing the Same Life Essence, by Wayne Quilliam and Rhoda Roberts, which celebrates the Gadigal people and Country. An edited version of First Light will be shown on screens throughout the Light Walk each night of the festival just before Lights On at 6pm
Sydneysiders love their food, so in this inaugural event, Vivid Sydney brings all of the festival’s elements together for an immersive dinner, featuring light, music, ideas and a menu featuring some of NSW’s most incredible produce. Sydney’s ivy ballroom will be transformed with light projections; a menu by some of Sydney’s favourite chefs, Dan Hong and Mike Eggert; hosted by actor and media personality Justine Clarke; with music by James Morrison, Ngaiire and Virginia Gay; as well as moving ‘Love Letters to Sydney’ by Julia Baird and Ken Done.
The Global Storytellers are an unmissable part of Vivid Ideas – a line-up of talks by leaders of their industries who set narratives and fight for a better future. This year, hear from NYC-based Gretchen Carlson (Sun 29 May), a fearless advocate for women’s rights and a leader of the #MeToo movement, who inspired the 2019 film Bombshell and was brought to life on screen by Nicole Kidman. Carlson joins journalist and TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson AM at Sydney Town Hall as they explore what it takes to upend power imbalances and expose toxic workplace culture. Plus superstar musician and actor Troye Sivan (Sun 29 May) will reveal his take on beauty, creativity, and queer politics at Sydney Town Hall.
Join a new late-night tradition as Mary’s Underground transforms into an intimate cabaret lounge each weekend. Host and Curator Trevor Ashley invites the crème-de-la-crème of Sydney’s soirée scene to entertain you every Friday and Saturday evening from 10pm ‘til 1am. After you've finished walking the Light Walk, head down the stairs of this Circular Quay bar for headline performances from Mahalia Barnes (Fri 27 May), Tim Freedman (Sat 28 May), Bob Downe (Fri 3 June) Emma Pask (Sat 4 June), Ursula Yovich (Fri 10 June), Paul Capsis (Sat 11 June), Genevieve Lemon (Fri 17 June) and the International Queen of Cabaret himself, Trevor Ashley (Sat 18 June), plus loads of surprise performances until the wee hours.
Stay up late and celebrate what and who makes Sydney unique at these free nights across the city’s institutions that fuse ideas, music, performance and art. At the Powerhouse Museum, meet the fashion designers who take our style to the world in Beautiful Freak in the Machine, or discover the essence of Ballroom culture with guerrilla performances, live music, voguing workshops, interviews and more at Ballroom & the West Ball. Join a celebration of Sydney's LGBTQIA+ history at Powerhouse Late: Queer Sydney. Join a celebration of Sydney’s LGBTQIA+ history at Queer Sydney. See drag, archival footage and photos of Sydney’s incredible party scene, alongside talks and performances. At the Australian Museum, explore Sydney’s obsession with the wellness industry at Wellmania or embrace the intimacy and loneliness of searching for a soulmate in Modern Love. Watch the MCA get taken over by the next generation, in the festival-style one-night-only FREE event for ages 12-18 featuring artmaking, performances, live music and interactive experiences at GENEXT. And at the National Maritime Museum, spend a day with some of Sydney’s most exciting and engaging First Nations musicians, performers, artists and cultural leaders at Our Place - Sharing Story, Film, Dance and Song.
Some of Australia’s top musicians as well as Sydney’s hottest rising stars will make these free nights in Tumbalong Park a must-visit for the whole family. Performances will be every Wednesday to Saturday for the duration of the festival – right in the heart of the Light Walk. “I’m proud of this line up of diverse talent of domestic touring artists and Sydney acts: a sample of which is Mo’Ju, Haiku Hands, Mildlife, Donny Benét,’ says Vivid Music Curator Joe Muller. Don’t miss dancing to the cream of Sydney’s soul scene on June 11, as Ngaiire, Maina Doe, Becca Hatch and Ms. Thandi take the stage.
The little ones will have their chance to dance, too, as every Saturday from 5-6pm, a special Vivid Kids program lights up the stage for free at Tumbalong Park. Sing along to The Vegetable Plot (Sat 28 May), jump around to the cheery folk-pop of ARIA award winners the Teeny Tiny Stevies (Sat 4 June), join a kid-friendly RnB block party hosted by Playschool star Zindzi and her band the Zillionaires and dance up a storm with Playschool host Justine Clarke.
Be one of the first to step into the latest addition to the Vivid Sydney Light Walk: Vivid House, a multisensory program of light and music artworks that morph across 360-degree LED walls in Darling Harbour. Take selfies, have a dance and be dazzled by the changing colours and patterns of these ever-changing sonic paintings: Temple of Joy is a colourful ode to the city’s dancefloors; watch sound and light play with our perceptions of time and change in Progressum; and be entranced by shimmering worlds that evoke the wonder of imaginary places in Floating World.
Enjoy a stacked line up of DJs at The Goods Line as you weave between superscale installations and projections on Vivid Sydney’s world-famous Light Walk. This music and light mash up is a celebration of Sydney’s world-renowned DJ culture, featuring some of the city's finest selectors and spinners, Stereogamous, DJ Levins, Peewee Ferris aka Pipi Le Oui, Ebony Boadu, LUEN, DJ Sveta, DIOLA, DJ Charlie Villas, Paris Groovescooter, Carolina Gasolina and Kate Monroe, known as the first lady of house. This vibrant soundtrack can be experienced every night of the festival between 6pm-10.30pm.
Vivid Sydney 2022 features the longest Light Walk in the festival’s history, stretching 8km from the Sydney Opera House all the way to Central Station. And each Saturday night, the fun starts as soon as you get off the train. Follow the beat to the Grand Concourse, where a series of free diverse, contemporary live music will bring this historic space to life. Groove to the RnB and Soul tunes of The Vivid Sydney Brass Band (Sat May 28), listen to Australian stories told via the bluegrass sounds of The Morrisons (Sat 4 June), dance to the gypsy tunes of Lolo Lovina (Sat 11 June), and swoon to the love songs of Cope St Parade (Sat 18 June).