5 Days until Lights Off, Vivid Sydney


With just a week­end and a bit left of Vivid Syd­ney 2015, you’ll want to make sure you ven­ture out to see all of the lights. Not sure where to begin? Check out the only guide you’ll need for the fes­ti­val, or dis­cover my themed trails here. Whether you’re look­ing to DIY, play or travel through space, you’ll get a full help­ing of Vivid lights with these guides to the festival.

Beyond the Wharf Vivid Sydney Harbour Tour. Image by Hayley Wood

Also, tonight is the last night to get on one of Beyond the Wharf’s Vivid cruises around Syd­ney Har­bour. Rug up and jump aboard because you won’t get a bet­ter view of the fes­ti­val clas­sics than on the back upper deck of one of Sydney’s iconic yel­low and green fer­ries. Tick­ets here.

Happy Vivid­ing!

Swing Glow. Image by Hayley Wood

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…