Vivid Sydney, now in its eleventh year, is a 23-day festival of light, music and ideas - and is the largest festival of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency.
Vivid Sydney celebrates creativity and innovation and showcases the magic that can be created when art and technology meet. The program features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House); and creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas). All three celebrate Sydney as the creative industries hub of the Asia-Pacific.
Vivid Sydney was recently recognised by the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) and received 21 accolades at the 2018 IFEA Pinnacle Awards including a Gold placing the Grand Pinnacle catagory. Vivid Sydney was also voted Australia’s Best Event in 2013 and Best Tourism Event in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, Australia’s Best Tourism Event and Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event in 2017 and Best Tourism Event in 2018 at the Australian Event Awards.
Vivid Sydney will return in August 6-28 2021.
You can find out all about Vivid Sydney and what events are on by visiting vividsydney.com/events. You can also keep up-to-date on everything Vivid Sydney through our Vivid Sydney Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account @vividsydney.
The Vivid Light Walk is free-of-charge. You can purchase tickets for Music and Ideas events, and to Vivid Sydney events at Taronga Zoo. Check out the full program at Vivid Ideas, Vivid Music and Taronga Zoo to find information on how to buy tickets. You can also keep up-to-date with everything Vivid Sydney through our Vivid Sydney Facebook or Vivid Sydney Twitter pages.
The Vivid Light walk is very popular and attracts large numbers of people across the 23 nights of the event. Generally Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights attract the biggest crowds. So, if you have small children or need to consider accessibility, plan your visit earlier in the week. Lights come on at 6pm every night, so head out early when it’s easier to see and move around.
If you have lost something around Circular Quay or Darling Harbour during Vivid Sydney, call or visit The Rocks Police Station on (02) 8220 6399. If you have lost something at another precinct or venue, Vivid Sydney suggests you call or visit the local police station in that area or the venue you were visiting.
The information booths located on the Light Walk offer wristbands to parents and guardians of children to put contact details on, in case their child becomes lost. It is also a good idea to give your child a card with your contact details on it or write a contact number on your child’s arm. Vivid Sydney volunteers and security personnel will be briefed to look out for lost children and will contact parents wherever possible or the Police if necessary.
Sydney has a wonderful range of accommodation available from small budget through to 5-star. To be close to the action in the city we would recommend you stay in The Rocks, Circular Quay, Sydney CBD, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont or North Sydney. Destination NSW’s websites Visit NSW and Sydney.com contain a wealth of information for you to choose your accommodation, and to find out what else is on offer in Sydney for you to enjoy during your visit. You can also find Vivid Sydney deals for accommodation, dining and lots more here.
Unfortunately, the Vivid Sydney app is no longer available. To keep up to date with Vivid Sydney visit vividsydney/events for all event information and vividsydney/transport for trip planning information. Consult our social channels Vivid Sydney Facebook or Vivid Sydney Twitter for further information.
Information Booths are open from 6.00pm – 11.00pm. There will be five separate Information Booths situated around Vivid Sydney for the public to approach to ask for directions and obtain information of the program.
Locations for Information Booths:
- Circular Quay (Alfred Street, near Customs House)
- Darling Harbour (near the ICC Sydney)
- Royal Botanic Garden Sydney (mid way through the Garden)
- The Rocks (near the Overseas Passenger Terminal)
- Tumbalong Park (Liverpool Street entrance of the Park)
Traffic & Transport
Plenty of extra trains and buses will run on weekends to help you get to and from Vivid Sydney precincts. With extensive road closures and parking restrictions in place, it’ll be the easiest way to get there as all the precincts are easily accessible by public transport.
You can use the transportnsw.info Trip Planner to plan your trip with up-to-date train, bus, ferry and light rail information. You can also use one of the many real-time apps to track your service. Alternatively, you can call the Transport Information Line on 131 500.
You will need a valid Opal card or single-trip ticket to travel on public transport services to Vivid Sydney precincts. Top up your Opal card online ahead of time to avoid the queues. You can top up your card via the Opal Travel App, top-up machines or at more than 2,100 retailers. For details on Opal cards visit opal.com.au or call 13 67 25 (13 OPAL).
Alternatively if you have an American Express, Mastercard or Visa debit or credit card which displays the contactless payment symbol, or linked device, you can use it to pay for your travel by tapping on and off at Opal card readers on trains, light rail and Sydney Ferries. Keep in mind if you’re travelling by bus you still need to use an Opal card. Standard (peak) Adult Opal fare pricing applies. If you consistently use the same contactless card or linked device to tap on and tap off, you may qualify for Opal daily, weekly and Sunday fare caps but no other Opal benefits apply.
With road closures and special event clearways in place in the city each night during the festival, access to parking will be limited and traffic will be heavy. Special event clearway parking restrictions will be in effect on most roads in the Sydney CBD each day of the festival. These clearways are strict no-parking zones, even for local residents or RMS Mobility Scheme permit holders. Check signs carefully as vehicles left in clearways will be towed and a fee applies. Clearways will also be in effect on key roads in Chatswood on Thursday to Sunday nights. Paid parking is available at Taronga Zoo however spaces are limited and will be in high demand, particularly on weekends, so plan to arrive early or consider the public transport options. For more details on special event clearways and their locations during Vivid Sydney, visit livetraffic.com
People with accessible requirements are encouraged to contact the Vivid Sydney access and inclusion team at firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance on how best attend Vivid Sydney or check out the accessibility webpage vividsydney.com/accessibility.
Road closures will be in place in the city each night of the festival. On weeknights closures will be in place around Circular Quay and on weekends closures extend into the Sydney CBD. The city is no place for cars during Vivid Sydney and you can’t enjoy the installations from your vehicle. The road closures are in place to keep pedestrians safe and allow for an enjoyable Vivid Sydney experience. It is an offence to drive on, or exit a carpark or driveway onto a closed road until the road has been safely reopened. Road closures will also be in place in the Chatswood precinct on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays as well as the long weekend Sunday. At Taronga Zoo, no closures will be in place however street parking restrictions will be in effect. Anyone attending a Vivid Sydney event is strongly encouraged to leave the car at home and catch public transport as delays on roads are expected, particularly on the weekends. Detailed information on road closures, clearways and access is available at vividsydney.com/transport. For real-time traffic conditions and updates visit livetraffic.com, follow @LiveTrafficSyd or download Live Traffic NSW from the App Store or Google Play.
Testing and commissioning of systems and trams is underway along the 12-kilometre light rail route from Circular Quay to Randwick and Kingsford. Some parts of George Street may be closed for finishing works and work on the light rail stops, and this may affect how you walk around the city during Vivid Sydney. Wayfinding directional signs and event staff will be on site to help you find your way. For information on the CBD and South East Light Rail project, visit sydneylightrail.transport.nsw.gov.au
Light, Music and Ideas
In the most anticipated annual celebration of creativity and innovation, Vivid Light illuminates Sydney’s skyline with Lights On! from 6pm each evening*. As the jewel in the crown, Lighting the Sails unfurls across the architectural wonder of Sydney Opera House. Weave your way along the Light Walk that stretches from The Rocks around Circular Quay and deep into the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney enjoying the glittering array of over 50 light sculptures and the spectacular 3D mapped projections on Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Customs House. Venture to Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Luna Park Sydney, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo. With so much to see across Vivid Sydney’s eight precincts, it’s worth planning multiple visits with plenty of pit stops to refuel and relax along vast outdoor gallery of light art. Enjoy casual eats to fine dining with incandescent views at the many bars, bistros and restaurants on your Vivid Light journey. If you’re travelling from interstate or overseas, book a fun-filled Winter Getaway to make the most of your Vivid Sydney experience and adventures further afield in New South Wales. Lights On occurs at 6pm and concludes at 11pm daily from Friday 24 May to Saturday 15 June 2019 inclusive. Some precincts have earlier start and finish times like; Taronga Zoo from 5.30pm to 9.30pm, Chatswood from 5.30pm – 10.30pm and Luna Park from 6.00pm to 10.00pm.
Some of the best vantage points are The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, Bradfield Park (under the Harbour Bridge at North Sydney), Luna Park, Lavender Bay, or on the harbour itself.
There will be four locations for accessible viewing, the Sydney Opera House, Hickson Road Reserve, Dawes Point, and Darling Harbour.
Vivid Sydney catalyses the city’s live music culture. At Sydney Opera House, British alt-rock pioneers The Cure and electronic titans Underworld headline Vivid LIVE. Powerhouse electronic act RÜFÜS DU SOL and genre-bending popstar FKA Twigs play shows at Carriageworks, and Curve Ball is back with Hayden James, Touch Sensitive and Mallrat. City Recital Hall presents Paul Kelly, Kate Miller-Heidke, ZOFO and Concertos on Fire. Tap into ‘green-shoot’ talent at X|Celerate gigs across every imaginable genre. Vivid Art After Hours returns to the Art Gallery of NSW with Andrew Bukenya, OKENYO and Jonathan Zwartz Lunar Module. Catch Vivid Music’s best live acts and parties after sampling street fare and dosing up on the cultural highs of Vivid Light and Ideas. See the full program here.
Vivid Ideas brings you 23 days and nights of future-facing talks, hands-on workshops and industry-shaping forums. Game Changers Spike Lee and Esther Perel challenge assumptions on race and relationships. The Mark Colvin Conversation: Net Worth asks what price we’ll pay for our constant digital distraction. In New Horizons, tune in to experts on sextech, co-living, dying for company, digital farewells and the dark web. Citizens of the World workshops unlock essential skills for a better informed and engaged life. Vivid Art After Hours combines free talks by creative thinkers, mindfulness training, art activities and live music. Seek out bright sparks. Find new collaborators. Come up with new ways of thinking and maybe even try a new way of being. See the full program here.
Feedback & Involvement
The Vivid Sydney team welcome your constructive feedback. To do so, head to vividsydney.com/contact-us
If you are interested in becoming involved with Vivid Sydney in 2020 head to vividsydney.com/contact-us
If commercial vessels are interested in taking part in Harbour Lights in 2020, please contact us at vividsydney.com/contact-us
The Vivid Sydney 2021 Expression of Interest for light artists is currently open. Applications close 23 November. To apply go to vividsydney.com/apply.
From time to time Destination NSW does seek quotations for the supply of goods and/or services relating to Vivid Sydney for each of the contract opportunities please visit the Vivid Sydney Work With Us page.
Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo
Taronga’s first concern is always the welfare of the remarkable animals in its care. Fortunately Taronga has more than 20 years experience in successfully hosting after hours events, including New Year’s Eve and the Twilight at Taronga concerts. Keepers constantly monitor the animals for these events, but there has never been a problem. The locations of the lanterns and light sculptures have been carefully chosen to focus on public areas rather than animal exhibits. Taronga’s animals also have access to the comfort and shelter of their night dens and inside areas, but it’s not uncommon for certain animals to choose to remain outside during night events.
The focus of Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo will be on the amazing light sculptures and lanterns, along with Taronga’s spectacular harbour and skyline views. While many animals will be in their night dens and inside areas, visitors may see some animals, such as Asian Elephants, Giraffes and Tree Kangaroos, while exploring the illuminated trail.
Dates: Wednesday – Sunday. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays (excluding 10 June Public Holiday)
Session times: 5:30pm & 7:30pm (start times only, approx. 2 hour experience)
Ticket prices: (AUD): Adult $26.95, Child (4-15 years) $19.95, Under 4 free. (+transaction fee of $3.95, credit card surcharge of 1.95% and 10% GST.
For more information visit the Taronga Zoo website.
Taronga is a non-profit organisation. Every ticket and purchase will help the Zoo present this remarkable light experience and continue to fund its vital wildlife conservation programs.
There are lots of transport options available for visitors to get to Vivid Sydney at Taronga Zoo. You can drive and park at the Zoo but there are limited spaces so the best option is to take public transport. The Zoo is located 12 minutes from Circular Quay by ferry or a short bus trip from the city or North Sydney.
For more event information visit our Transport page