Future City Smart City VIVID

VIVID Sydney: The Plus Ones’ Guide to the best events of the festival

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s VIVID Sydney Festival, which will run for 23 nights from Friday 26 May to Saturday 17 June. The annual festival celebrating lights, music and ideas is set to transform Sydney into a vibrant and colourful Autumn playground.

This year’s theme is, Bigger, Bolder, Brighter. True to form, the festival will include over 88 lighting exhibitions, 400 music events and more than 260 ideas sessions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry, because we are too! To make things a bit easier, we’ve handpicked a few highlights across the three domains: lights, music and ideas.

Lights Wild Vivid Sydney

Lights Wild – Vivid Sydney


While the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the main lighting attractions, there are numerous other options around and beyond the CBD.

Chatswood will be host to a number of lighting exhibitions, the most interesting of which is Future City Smart City. The Concourse will provide the platform for projections that will transport the audience into a futuristic, ecologically friendly world. While you are there, check the awesome interactive experience of Gear Shift at the Chatswood Interchange, Level 3 Footbridge.

Taronga Zoo will be opening up its doors again for Lights for the Wild. The Zoo will host a number of giant animal light sculptures which will be fully interactive with the aid of a state-of-the-art wristband. Not to be missed.

Over at Darling Harbour, you should check out Magicians in the Midst. This extraordinary display will throw 28 tonnes of water into the air every minute, along with lasers, fireworks, LED lights and jets of flame and huge water fountains. All of this will set the scene for a semitransparent mystical figure seemingly made of mist. Sounds scary yet super awesome at the same time.

Barangaroo makes its VIVID debut with an amazing optical illusion called Trapdoor, where the grounds will open up to reveal a mysterious underworld. This looks a good one if you have kids.

Sampha Vivid Sydney

Sampha Vivid Sydney


French duo AIR will return to Australia after nine years for a string of shows at the Opera House. Their brand of electronica will be well suited to the Opera House and no doubt many will be itching to hear tracks off their classic album, Moon Safari.

British songwriter Sampha is in hot demand right now, with his latest album Process easily amongst the best records released this year. Expect smooth and assured performance straddling R & B, soul and electronica.

If you are feeling adventurous, then check out The Necks. They are one of the most unique Australian bands of all time, known for their improvisation and ability to create long, sustained and hypnotic soundscapes.

Hacking Stories Vivid Sydney

Hacking Stories – Vivid Sydney


With so many great Ideas events across so many industries and genres, there’s something for everybody.

I’ve been really interested in storytelling of late, so I will be attending A Creative Approach to Information Sharing Through Twitter and Hacking Stories – How You Get to an Audience Can Change Things.  I hope to see you there!

You can — and should ­­­— visit the VIVID website where you can view all the events and add them to your calendar.

– Khanh
Khanh grew up in Hoi An, a UNESCO Heritage listed village in Central Vietnam. He migrated with his family to Australia when he was 9. He is an academic, music lover, sports lover and a former table tennis (not ping-pong!) champion. Follow him Instagram on @ironandwhiskey.

VIVID Sydney runs Friday 26 May to Saturday 17 June. Purchase tickets now.
Many venues are accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Sydney Opera House.
Image credit: VIVID.