Vivid Sydney 2015: Lights, Music, Ideas and Food

It’s that time of year again, when Sydney is at its most vivid. The buildings shine in incredible colours, the streets are alive with music and entertainment, and museums and galleries are filled with the latest and most innovative ideas. Why? It’s Vivid Sydney of course.

Vivid Sydney first began in 2009 and every year it gets better and better. Last year saw musical acts including Pet Shop Boys and The Presets, Martin Place transformed into a light sculpture called “Emergence”, and creative director Ignatius Jones create a walking, moving festival that was 70% free for attendees.

So what will this year bring? Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of this 18-day lights, music and ideas festival:


The Lighting of the Sails
22 May – 8 June, 6:00pm – Midnight

By far the most spectacular site during Sydney Vivid is the switching on of the lights on the Sydney Opera House. This year, multi-disciplinary design collective, Universal Everything, has been chosen to create a projected artwork that taps into their bold, colour-friendly style. Their work will light the UNESCO World Heritage-listed sails every night throughout the event. It’s also here where you’ll find great food and wine, contemporary music and special tours to uncover the mysteries of the backstage world.

Vivid Path to the Future
25 May – 31 May, 6:00pm – Midnight

The University of Sydney will be transformed into a glittering canvas of light, live performance and inspiring ideas as part of a week-long creative program that suggests the ‘path to the future’. The program aims to inspire young people and students to make their mark in the creative industries. Highlights include spectacular 3D-mapped projections on the University’s Quadrangle facade and Sea of Hands, an interactive installation that will grow night after night.

Enchanted Sydney
22 May – 8 June, 6:00pm – Midnight

Iconic in its own right, Customs House will this year be transformed by free-flowing projections of Sydney’s flora and fauna. The artist’s intent is to remind audiences of the organic nature of the city and the enchantment of natural design.

Pyrmont & the Star
22 May – 8 June, 6:00pm – Midnight

Never have lights been more fun than with this interactive installation that lets you be in control. An urban playground of interactive games and activities allows you to play with friends and transform the harbourside precinct into a buzzing, multisensory entertainment zone.

The Dresses
22 May – 8 June, 6:00pm – Midnight

Suspended in darkness, these three beautiful dresses bring a mystical feel to The Rocks’ Kendall Lane and transforms it into a laneway right from the realms of fantasy. Slowly, the illuminated dresses (that consist of hundreds of fibre-optic strands) change colour, symbolising change over time.


Rhythm of the Night Vivid 90s Dance Party
Goodgod Small Club – 30 May, 9:00pm – Late
Tickets: $15

Goodgod is celebrating its first ever Vivid party and they plan to do it in style with the ultimate 90’s music line up. It’ll see the reunion of Aussie band Swoop, whose single ‘Apple Eyes’ took them into the Top 10 Aria Charts in 1996, plus DJs including Joyride, Levins, Ariane and Shag.

Bill Callahan
Sydney Opera House – 28-29 May, 7:30pm – Midnight
Tickets: From $49

Travelling from Austin Texas with 14 albums and 25 years of music under his belt, Bill Callahan will delight audiences with his understated song craft. Callahan attracts a cult following and Sydney has been waiting eight years for him to return. With classics such as ‘The Sing’, it will be worth the wait.

Fractured Fantasy
The Argyle, 22 May – 8 June, 6:00pm – Midnight

For 18 nights, The Rocks’ favourite haunt, The Argyle will get into the party atmosphere with three themed Fractured Fantasies: Discovery (including the Daft Punk tribute show), Wonderland and Star Wars. With DJs on rotation, state-of-the-art lighting and production and Vivid-inspired cocktails, this will be the place to be throughout the festival.


Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Inhuman Photographs
The University of Sydney, 26 May, 6:30pm – 8:00pm
Tickets: Free, but registration required

US Professor David Raskin tries to explain the three strange works of art by Hiroshi Sugimoto and details why it’s important to see the nature of objects and feelings. The presentation suggests an ethical and practical consequence of inhuman art.

Go Inspire Speaker Series: Social Change Via Creative Technology
Museum of Contemporary Art, 23 May, 3:00pm – 5:00pm
Tickets: $25

This talk at the MCA is an opportunity for students to be inspired by individuals who have harnessed creative technology for social change campaigns. Designed to bring awareness and understanding, the event talks about social change creating an impact within a community or institution.

Trust Me, I’m Creative – Trusting Creativity in the Workplace
Museum of Contemporary Art, 3 June, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Tickets: From $99

If you’re a business leader, human resource or marketing manager that wants to foster higher levels of creativity in your organisation, you shouldn’t miss this informative event that touches on increased revenue, profitability, competitive advantage and culture of engagement. Featured speakers include: poet and entrepreneur Matt Jackson, scientist and author Silvia Damiano and Luke Chess, Executive Creative Director for MJW in Sydney.

If you’re planning on attending more than three Ideas events, consider purchasing a Vivid Ideas Multipass, which will save you 10% on ticket prices.


While not an ‘official’ part of the Vivid Sydney festival, food very much plays a role in this one-of-a-kind event. Vivid Sydney offers a feast for all the senses and food options range from gourmet dining to ‘on-the-move’ bites – all with an amazing view of Vivid Sydney.

Martin Place

Try Sydney’s only food truck with highly credentialed chefs, Eat Art Truck. It’s proven to be one of Sydney’s most popular eateries and serves an eclectic selection of meals influenced by American BBQ flavours.

Sydney Opera House

Dine under the spectacular sails projections and enjoy food from the Opera Bar. Already a favourite in town, the Opera Bar is transformed into a garden of neon lights, video productions and an interactive art wall. It also offers live entertainment and designer cocktails.

The Rocks

Practically beneath the Harbour Bridge, Kobe Jones’ Teppanyaki is the perfect restaurant to dine at before taking on the Vivid Light Walk. Enjoy a dinner special that includes crab salad with avocado wrapped in Hiramasa kingfish, seasonal salad, miso soup, rice and your choice of beef, chicken, fish or silken tofu, or treat yourself to a western rock lobster from the A la carte menu.

Darling Harbour

Head to King Street Wharf for all the action and enjoy dinner at Kobe Jones Sydney & Wharf Teppanyaki. A heartbeat away from the festivities, Kobe Jones offers open waterfront dining and every seat in the house can indulge in first class views of Vivid Sydney. Choose from teppanyaki or dine share style with the creative ‘grazing plates’ full of flavour.

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