Vivid Sydney has officially kicked off with a spectacular opening night that included a powerful Welcome to Country, fireworks, beams across the harbour, drones and a very poignant Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House. Now in its 13th year, the 2023 program is as impressive as ever.
Here’s a list of Vivid highlights to help you decide how to spend the next three weeks celebrating Sydney’s incredible light festival.
- Vivid Residence will be a two-week residency for New York chef Daniel Humm of three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park at Matt Moran’s Aria. Humm will bring both his team and his visionary approach to cuisine to one of Sydney’s most celebrated restaurants from 6–17 June.
- Vivid Chef Series welcomes more of the world’s most exciting chefs as they join forces with some of Sydney’s best restaurants, including Kiln, Nel and Yellow, to create exclusive and never-before-tasted menus.
- Vivid Sydney Dinner will return to The Ivy Ballroom, in partnership with hospitality group Merivale, for a fully immersive and unforgettable night fusing light, music, ideas and cuisine into a special feast for the senses featuring esteemed Sydney chefs Ben Greeno and Danielle Alvarez.
- The Vivid Fire Kitchen at The Cutaway at Barangaroo brings together the world’s hottest dining concepts, curated drinks and entertainment for three weeks of flame-fuelled festivities.
When the sun sets, Sydney will transform with more than 57 lustrous light installations, 3D projection artworks and ticketed events for visitors to lose themselves in the hypnotising wonderland of light and colour.
- Vivid Sydney has partnered with Cinewav, enabling visitors to listen to the soundtracks to select projection artworks wherever they are on the Light Walk.
- Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House will see the vibrant works of one of Australia’s most famed artists, the late John Olsen, brought to life as a spectacular celebration of his illustrious artistic career of more than 60 years. Through images selected by curator Dr. Deborah Hart (Henry Dalrymple Head Curator, Australian Art, National Gallery of Australia) and animated by creative technologists Curiious, Life Enlivened (2023) celebrates the propulsive power of Olsen’s painterly brush to envision the natural world anew.
- In a world-first, Vivid Sydney will break new ground with the premiere of Dark Spectrum in Sydney’s Wynyard Tunnels.
- For the very first time, the internationally acclaimed multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sound, Lightscape, is coming to The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
- The Vivid Sydney 2023 drone show Written in the Stars will feature more than 1,000 drones over six shows for what will be one of the biggest drone shows in the Southern Hemisphere to date.
- The waters at Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour will dance with the showstopping Elemental, featuring spectacular 80-metre water shooters, flames, projections and pyrotechnics for the largest water show in Australian history.
More than 60 intriguing talks and workshops, exploring community, authenticity, respect, love and lessons learnt from the natural world will be part of the program in 2023.
- Creator, writer and director of The White Lotus Mike White will join forces with star of the series Jennifer Coolidge for a deep dive into the power of storytelling, satire and friendship in Mike White and Jennifer Coolidge in Conversation This exhilarating and unmissable event – moderated by Benjamin Law – will uncover insightful and hilarious anecdotes from decades of working in Hollywood.
- British author, “master of her material” and “best living writer in this language” Jeanette Winterson joins Vivid Ideas for LIFE AND MARS: The Future of Human and will prod, provoke and challenge your ideas of nature, all while making you laugh as you fall in love with her unique and fascinating way of seeing the world.
- NOCTURNE, from Melbourne-based artists one step at a time like this, takes audiences on a one-of-a-kind-experience with an immersive, sonic journey through the hidden streets and laneways of The Rocks.
- The Vivid Ideas Exchange will feature more than 20 cutting-edge discussions and thought-provoking workshops at the world-leading technology precinct, Telstra Customer Insights Centre.
With a spotlight on First Nations artists, whatever your musical taste, the Vivid Music program will cater to it.
- A Bend in the River: A Tribute to Archie Roach AC will celebrate the legacy of the late Archie Roach AC. Sydney Town Hall will be transformed in a night of tribute performances featuring long-time friends, collaborators and his contemporaries, including Paul Kelly, Emma Donovan, Dan Sultan, Kutcha Edwards, Sally Dastey, Becca Hatch, Dobby, Deline Briscoe, Radical Son, Tenzin Choegyal and Tamala Shelton, with appearances from members of Archie’s family.
- On Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights of the festival, Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour will become the Vivid Sydney go-to for free and eclectic contemporary music right in the heart of the Light Walk for Tumbalong Nights. The 12-night line-up features artists from Africa to Arnhem Land, including Yothu Yindi, Ziggy Ramo, Dan Sultan, Esa’s Afro Synth Band with Kamazu and Mim Suleiman, Emma Donovan, cult Japanese musician Cornelius and more, plus DJs and kids programming on Saturday nights all free of charge.
- Drag extraordinaire and beloved star of stage and screen Trevor Ashley will transform Mary’s Underground into an intimate cabaret lounge for the Vivid Sydney Supper Club featuring live performances from headliners Christine Anu, Rhys Nicholson, David Campbell and more each Friday and Saturday from 9pm to 1am during the festival.
- Diverse and multi-sensory experiences at Carriageworks, with an electrifying line-up including South African artist Desire Marea, Floodlights, Molchat Doma, SOFT CENTRE and many more.
- The Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House line-up will feature more than 40 Australian and international artists. José González, Yaeji, Hiatus Kaiyote and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Cat Power, and many more will take to the stages of the world-famous building in a program curated by Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music Ben Marshall.
For more information and to keep updated about the program, go to vividsydney.com.