The Only Guide You Need for Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

The days may be get­ting shorter, but Sydney’s turn­ing the lights on to keep the city shin­ing bright dur­ing Vivid Syd­ney 2015.

The Vivid 2015 sea­son has begun here in Syd­ney, bring­ing its biggest pro­gram yet with an abun­dance of fes­ti­val firsts. Over the next 12 days, the fes­ti­val of light, music and ideas will splash the city in colour, spin a lively sound­track and spark the minds of Syd­neysiders and vis­i­tors alike. All will be ablaze with colour­ful light instal­la­tions and pro­jec­tions fea­tured across the city. See the glow­ing Opera House Sails, mor­ph­ing MCA façade, the lumi­nes­cent water the­atre in Dar­ling Har­bour and even the boats that dot the waters sur­round­ing Syd­ney Town. While Syd­ney is illu­mi­nated, its res­i­dents and vis­i­tors will be enlight­ened. The festival’s Vivid LIVE brings a mas­sive pro­gram of con­tem­po­rary music for its sev­enth year in a row, while Vivid Ideas hosts a slew of sem­i­nars to dis­cuss inno­va­tion, chal­lenge think­ing and bring new ideas to the table. And though the fes­ti­val has already begun, there is still a ton on offer to see, hear and do.

Only have a day to dis­cover Vivid Syd­ney 2015? Here’s your one night guide of places and events to hit while you paint the town red (and yel­low and green and brown and scar­let and black and ocher and peach and…)

Vivid Sydney 2015 at Central Park


Sydney’s new ‘urban vil­lage’, Cen­tral Park makes its Vivid debut this year as street art comes to life, mar­kets light up the night and inter­ac­tive enter­tain­ment keeps you com­ing back for more.

5:30pm aMBUSH Gallery, L3 Cen­tral Park, 28 Broad­way, Chippendale

Head up to the aMBUSH gallery space to check out Streets Ahead and immerse your­self in the world of street art and streetwear through a one-off exhibit and Vivid Ideas talks with artists, design­ers and brands at the fore­front of street cul­ture. The exhibit dis­plays works by all of the spe­cially invited inter­na­tional speak­ers includ­ing Tony Arcabas­cio, jeff­stable, Mishka, 123KLAN and L’Amour Supreme.

6pm aMBUSH Gallery, L3 Cen­tral Park, 28 Broad­way, Chippendale

After the exhibit, find your way to the New­town Hotel pop-up bar in the gallery’s event space for a drink and front-row view of the Streets Ahead light show, spark­ing up at 6pm. Watch as works by indige­nous artist, Reko Ren­nie and mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary artist, Beast­man dance across the heritage-listed CUB Brew­ery façade. The pop-up is also host­ing an eclec­tic music pro­gram chock full of DJs and bands from all over the music spec­trum. See the sched­ule here.

Color the Bridge, viewed from North Sydney. Vivid Sydney 2014.


Grab a train from Cen­tral to Cir­cu­lar Quay to the lit­er­ally beat­ing heart of Vivid. Expect crowds, but also expect to be in total awe. Explore your sur­rounds as you step into a vibrant play­ground where light instal­la­tions abound, set to a unique score of musi­cal sound­tracks and excited fes­ti­val­go­ers. Across from the sta­tion, Cus­toms House enchants as its façade blos­soms with Sydney’s flora and fauna, while next door, the New Zealand-Japan made Light Origami cre­ates a kalei­do­scopic world of over 320 origami shapes reflect­ing and refract­ing spec­trums of light through­out a mir­rored dome. But don’t go too far from the wharf though because you’ve got a boat to catch at 8pm.

8pm Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tour, Wharf 4, Cir­cu­lar Quay

MCA Façade, Vivid Sydney 2014Grab yet another spec­tac­u­lar front-row view of the lights aboard one of the city’s iconic yel­low and green fer­ries dur­ing a Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tour. This fes­ti­val first gives you an exclu­sive, beyond-breathtaking show of Vivid Sydney’s Har­bour Lights precinct set to an orig­i­nal Vivid Music sound­track with com­men­tary pro­vid­ing the behind-the-scenes scoop on the mes­mer­iz­ing light dis­plays to be seen. Start­ing at the Opera House Sails designed this year by Uni­ver­sal Every­thing, and the Museum of Con­tem­po­rary Art’s elec­tric Mer­chan­dised Colour Assem­blage pro­jec­tion, the ferry – only at half-capacity so every­one can expe­ri­ence the dra­matic views – putt-putts along under the daz­zling Har­bour Bridge cov­ered in 100,000 LEDs. Next you’re taken to Antarc­tica on an explo­ration of the Polar Lights as they bounce and reflect atop the Mar­itime Museum’s roof. Con­tin­u­ing on towards Pyr­mont Bay Park, the night is set ablaze with an inter­ac­tive dig­i­tal fire­works dis­play, just one part of this mul­ti­sen­sory urban play­ground. Finally, as the ferry chugs its way back to Cir­cu­lar Quay, you’re taken past the Light Walk from The Rocks to the Walsh Bay Tree of Light for a finale burst­ing with even more colour and glim­mer­ing lights.

The Vivid Syd­ney Har­bour Tours are an absolute must for a totally unique per­spec­tive of the shim­mer­ing har­bour. Find out more and buy your tick­ets to board here.

Robotantic Martin Place, Vivid 2015


As a break­out favourite last year, this busy day­time stomp­ing ground for Sydney’s cor­po­rates trans­forms into an lumi­nous evening precinct, appeal­ing to all five senses. With deli­cious smells waft­ing from some of the city’s tasti­est food joints, inter­ac­tive instal­la­tions to see and hear, plus the chance to bat­tle in out in a game of drones, the Vivid party here car­ries on until midnight.

9:45pm Tran­scen­dence, Mar­tin Place

At this point, I’m sure you’re won­der­ing if any food is involved dur­ing this night out, and of course! I was just mak­ing sure you worked up a good appetite before approach­ing the foodie won­der­land of Tran­scen­dence. This archi­tec­tural media sculp­ture by UK designer Joseph Cross­ley fea­tures mes­mer­iz­ing scenes using new media art from pro­jec­tion map­ping to a computer-coded light show. Every night will see a dif­fer­ent team of hand-selected artists work­ing along­side Cross­ley to cre­ate an ever-changing visual feast. So as the lights daz­zle and dance above, your mouth will begin to water at the treats below. Delight in a selec­tion of Sydney’s trendi­est food and drink hawk­ers. Here’s just a pre­view of the nosh and tip­ples on offer:Rocks Brewing Company at Vivid Sydney 2015

  • Porteño (Argen­tin­ian): Roast pork sand­wiches & Spicy lamb sausages
  • Thiev­ery (Lebanese): Wagyu kebab & Lebanese fried chicken
  • Tsuru (Asian Street Food): Hot & spicy BBQ pork belly buns
  • Cow & The Moon (Award-Winning Gelato & Cof­fee): Affogato
  • Rocks Brew­ing Com­pany (Brew­ery): Local beers & Local spir­its by Sydney’s Archie Rose distillery
til Mid­night Mar­tin Place

After indulging in the menu at Transendence, digest a bit and have a wan­der of the other light shows in Mar­tin Place. Enter inside the 1920s cel­lu­loid film­mak­ing tech­niques and work­ings of a zoetrope at Phase Frames. Remem­ber the impor­tance of switch­ing off your tech­nol­ogy and tun­ing into the world around you with Rob­ot­an­tic’s inter­ac­tive botan­i­cal gar­den of light and sound. Feel the beat Drum Cir­cle by Aus­tralian duo Kate & Marty where the rhythm you drum out con­nects to the chang­ing lights through­out the installation.

Now if you find your­self with more time on your hands to ful­fill your Vivid needs, con­tinue read­ing to dis­cover my quin­ntessen­tial hit list for the fes­ti­val (bar­ring the instal­la­tions already men­tioned above).

You can also check out my themed Vivid trails here.

Con­tinue reading…