Everything That's Free At Vivid Sydney 2023

Lighting of the Sails
Lighting of the Sails

From 26 May to 17 June, Vivid Sydney returns to shine new light on our city's beautiful nature – our culture, our people, our food, our music and, of course, our world-famous sites.

Australia and the globe's finest chefs, creatives, musicians, thinkers and more will converge in our city – and the best part? You can experience a heap of it without spending a cent (save for tapping your Opal card, of course!).

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

Light

The most famous part of Vivid Sydney won’t cost you a thing. This year, our free Light Walk is a massive 8.5km adventure with 57 attractions including 26 international works, spanning from Central Station to Circular Quay. For a full rundown, check out our ultimate Light Walk itinerary, but here are seven unmissable show-stoppers and interactive works.

Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened (2023) By John Olsen and Curiious | Vivid LIVE

Seeing the Sydney Opera House's sails transform each Vivid Sydney is always a breathtaking sight, but this year's is deeply special as the late Australian artist John Olsen's vibrant paintings of life and energy within the natural world illuminates the sails.

Distilling the essence of Olsen's esteemed career, spanning over sixty years, the animated artwork spotlights Olsen's enduring interest and fascination with Australian nature and landscape. Through images selected by curator Dr. Deborah Hart and animated by creative technologists Curiious, Life Enlivened (2023) celebrates the propulsive power of Olsen's painterly brush to envision the natural world anew.

We are proud to be honouring John's talent and creative legacy on the Sails, and know John was excited and proud about this project. Vale.

The Last Ocean

It's hard to miss The Last Ocean – Jen Lewin's work on Barangaroo Reserve’s Stargazer Lawn is the biggest ground installation in Vivid Sydney history at 588 square metres! A recreation of 3 Antarctic ice shelves you can walk across, the ocean swells up and laps the ice underneath your feet. Changing its shape and colour as you traverse it, it's a poignant reminder of the beauty we risk losing due to climate change.

Elemental

From the big bang to the natural world as we know it, this breathtaking show celebrates the four elements – fire, air, water and earth. Combining spectacular 80 metre water shooters, flames, projection and pyro technics, it’s more than an essential stop on the Light Walk: it's elemental.

Vivid House

Welcome to Vivid House: an immersive 360° experience through four awe-inspiring artworks. Head on a hyper-real journey across Australia’s mountain peaks, verdant valleys and more. Marvel at the beautiful resilience of corals. Experience oceanic photography like never before. Take a psychedelic trip through Sydney's hidden coves.

Written in the Stars

Vivid Sydney takes to the skies for an unmissable, record-breaking drone show – the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere to date! Expect an awe-inspiring journey through the natural world above us – exploring our solar system, from the Sun to Neptune, with plenty of surprising stops and visitors along the way. What will you find written in the stars? Find show dates on the event page.

Waterlight Graffiti

Pick up a brush, stamp or spray, and make your mark with Waterlight Graffiti- no paint required for this inventive take on an 'Etch A Sketch'!

Created by French artist Antonin Fourneau, it's a large electronic blackboard that you can 'paint' with water, each stroke immediately transforming into light. Unleash your inner artist, or just have a scribble.

The Tunnel

They say that most adventures are about the journey, not the destination. However, The Tunnel is a trip of itself, steered by fellow Vivid Sydney spectators.

Travel through an open hallway made of 16 otherworldly, space-age structures, controlled by 'Pilots' - those watching from a nearby console. Each journey is unique, as each Pilot has complete control over The Tunnel’s soundscape and 8,000+ LEDs, creating a one-of-a-kind experience.

Music

In the very heart of the Light Walk is Tumbalong Nights – your Vivid Sydney go-to for free and eclectic contemporary music.

Catch 12 nights of live music, with artists from Africa to Arnhem Land, as well as Sydney’s finest acts! Featuring Hatchie, Yothu Yindi, Kutcha Edwards, Cornelius (JPN) and more, including triple j’s concert celebrating 15 years of Unearthed High.

Plus, DJs keep the vibes high from Sunday to Wednesday nights and beloved Australian children’s acts kick things off before Lights On, every Saturday from 5pm. Find the full line-up on the Tumbalong Nights page, supported by Commbank Indigenous Careers.

But that’s not all – head over to The Goods Line for a stacked line up of Sydney’s finest DJs, each and every night. And if you head to the Light Walk on a Friday or Saturday night, you might catch a surprise show as our line-up of roaming musicians pop up for impromptu live sets!

Ideas

Embrace curiosity with a set of free Vivid Ideas talks and nights across three venues: the Powerhouse, the Australian Museum and our very own Vivid Ideas Exchange. While they’re all free, you will need to register to attend these, as there are limited spots: hit the event’s link and secure your spot!

Powerhouse Late x Vivid Ideas

We've partnered with Powerhouse for a trio of free events each Thursday night of the festival, each celebrating a different creative community vital to our city and culture. Be sure to register by clicking through to each event page.

On June 1, dive into Australia’s rich culinary landscape with Pearls of Wisdom, a night of intriguing talks, food and cocktails curated by chef Alex Herbert and featuring the likes of Cornersmith Café and Cooking School co-founder Alex Elliot-Howery, writer Benjamin Law and Rockpool Bar & Grill Head Chef Corey Costelloe.

On June 8, head to Natural Wonders, a night curated by Liane Rossler (Superlocalstudio) exploring how the natural world influences and inspires our artists, designers and architects.

On June 15, artist Yuki Kihara curates Paradise Fair, a night of dance, experience and drinks celebrating her bold Powerhouse exhibition Paradise Camp. Stay tuned for the full line-up!

The Australian Museum x Vivid Ideas

Rethink your relationship to nature with these two free Wednesday nights of talks and workshops at the Australian Museum. Remember to register to secure your spot!

On Wednesday 7 June, hear from a trio of in-tune experts - Leila Jeffreys (Temple, Vivid Sydney 2022), Tim Low and David Gandelman – and discover What We Can Learn From Nature. And on Wednesday 14 June, multi-disciplinary theatre marker, choreographer and artist Jacob Boehme curates Connection to Country, an illuminating night of talks, music and activities exploring what caring for Country means and looks like in 2023.

Vivid Ideas Exchange

The Vivid Ideas Exchange transforms the state-of-the-art Telstra Customer Insight Centre into a theatre for ground-breaking thought from our sharpest, wittiest minds. Three talks focused on making a greener future are free: Could The Ocean Be The Solution? (June 10), Sydney in Space (June 12), and [Human] Nature And The City (June 13). Again, be sure to register.

Food

Set alongside the immersive splendour of Vivid House, Vivid Fire Kitchen brings together 11 of Sydney's hottest dining concepts, 15 local and internationally acclaimed pitmasters, a collection of the finest NSW producers, curated drinks and fire-inspired cocktails for three weeks of flame-fuelled festivities.

Grab a spot by the fire to catch free demos from the likes of Lennox Hastie, Sterling Smith, Daniel Lee and Jess Pryles.

The Last Ocean

The Last Ocean is rubbish. No, really: this massive tessellated 'ice sheet' is made of reclaimed ocean plastic. Taking its name from photographer John...

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The Last Ocean
2023
Location: Stargazer Lawn Price:

Elemental

Artist: Oracle Liquid, Foti International, Adam Farrow-Palmer Concept and Direction: Gill Minervini Composer: Peewee Ferris It starts with a spark... Across...

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Elemental
2023
Location: Darling Harbour Price:

Vivid House

Welcome to Vivid House: an immersive 360° experience through four awe-inspiring artworks. Head on a hyper-real journey across Australia’s mountain peaks...

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Vivid House
2023
Location: Vivid House Price:

Written In The Stars

Concept: Gill Minervini in collaboration with Australian Traffic Network Soundtrack: The Planets by Gustav Holst, remixed by Peewee Ferris Head to...

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Vivid Sydney drone show 2023
2023
Location: Circular Quay and the Rocks Price:

Waterlight Graffiti

Pick up a brush, stamp or spray, and make your mark with Waterlight Graffiti - no paint required! Inspired by the practice of 'dishu' in China, where artists...

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Waterlight Graffiti
2023
Location: The Goods Line Price:

The TUNNEL

They say that most adventures are about the journey, not the destination. However, The Tunnel is a trip of itself, steered by fellow Vivid Sydney spectators. Travel...

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The Tunnel
2023
Location: Barangaroo Price:

Vivid Music Roaming Acts

Expect the unexpected each Friday and Saturday night of Vivid Sydney, as our troupe of roaming musicians bring free and live music to the Light Walk, from...

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Vivid Music at the Light Walk
2023
Location: The Goods Line Price:

Could the ocean be the solution?

Our oceans are under myriad threats but it's not all bad news. Hear from a group of experts utilising the ocean’s natural powers as a solution, from...

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Photo of Sydney from the ocean
2023
Location: Vivid Ideas Exchange - Telstra Customer Insight Centre Price:

Sydney in Space

The answers to space's mysteries might be closer to us than we think: what can Earth tell us about the Milky Way and beyond? Join leading scientists...

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Image of space
2023
Location: Vivid Ideas Exchange - Telstra Customer Insight Centre Price:

(Human) Nature and The City

How can cities be better built around our human need for community and belonging? Join a panel of urban designers, artists and architects as they share...

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Child on a swing
2023
Location: Vivid Ideas Exchange - Telstra Customer Insight Centre Price:

Vivid Fire Kitchen

It's back and blazing brighter than ever. Vivid Sydney Fire Kitchen returns, igniting its new home at The Goods Line with flame-seared street food from...

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Vivid Fire Kitchen
Location: The Goods Line Price: Free