Vivid Sydney Festival lights up our city

Sydney Opera House at the Vivid festival

Sydney Opera House
y day the majestic Sydney Opera House looks like this, its distinctive shape looking almost like sails billowing in the breeze. Along with the dramatic red rock of Uluru in the central Australian desert, and our Sydney Harbour Bridge, it is the country’s most distinguished landmark. But from May 23 – June 9 every night from 6pm it will look like this…or this…

Sydney Opera House

Vivid Sydney lights up the mighty Opera House
The free festival of light, music and ideas began in 2009, and now draws hundreds of thousands of people into the city centre after dark. The highlights feature immersive light installations and projections, performances from local and international musicians and an ideas exchange forum featuring public talks and debates from leading creative thinkers. Multimedia interactive light sculptures and building projections transform various buildings and landmarks in and around the Sydney CBD into canvases for works of modern art. These are particularly popular with families.

Sydney Harbour Bridge during the Vivid Festival
Travel tour company Viator has special tours of the Sydney Opera House during the Vivid Sydney Festival, so you can see behind the scenes and be inside the Opera House when the lights are turned on. 

International artists and musicians contribute hugely. In its first year, Vivid Sydney was curated by musician and visual artist Brian Eno who arranged the music program at Sydney Opera House and lit up the exterior of the building with his artwork. In 2010 curators  were the late American rocker Lou Reed and artist/musician Laurie Anderson. Co-curator Anderson’s artwork lit up the Opera House sails.

Vivid Sydney Opera House

Tips on how to get to Vivid Sydney Festival

  • With plenty of extra services running, public transport is the best way to get to Vivid Sydney events and home again afterwards. For information go to or call 131 500.
  • Due to road closures in place for the event, there will be some changes to regular bus routes and stops.
  • Due to Sydney’s unseasonably mild weather for this time of year, transport is congested. So be warned there may be delays.
  • Party hard, but party carefully. One man drowned after he fell into Darling Harbour over the weekend.
  • Extensive road closures and special event clearways will be in place in the Sydney CBD, The Rocks and Walsh Bay during Vivid Sydney, so leave the car at home.
  • Extra trains will be running throughout the 18 days of the event and all Vivid Sydney precincts are within walking distance of train stations. The best train stations for access include stations on the City Circle, North Sydney, Milsons Point and Redfern.
  • Harbour City Ferries, Matilda Cruises and Captain Cook Cruises operate ferries on Sydney Harbour and the closest wharves to Vivid Sydney events are at Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Milsons Point and McMahons Point.
  • Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House, Walsh Bay, The Rocks, Martin Place and Darling Harbour are within walking distance of each other.

More Sydney Vivid festival pix

 Rock on, Sydney!

* Images courtesy of Vivid Sydney

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