Sydney burst into breathtakingly brilliant color as the lights switched on for the 10th anniversary of Vivid Sydney, the world's largest festival of light, music and ideas. Over the next 23 days and nights, Australia's largest event will transform the city into a colorful showcase of illumination, sensational sounds and creative thinking from 25 May to 16 June 2018.
The 'Lights On' moment, marking the start of the festival, saw all eyes turn to the world-famous Sydney Opera House for the Lighting of the Sails, created this year by award-winning Australian artist, Jonathan Zawada, and featuring fantastical digital sculptures of everyday objects and natural specimens that evolve, dissolve, and metamorphose.
This year the lights shine bright each night at nine precincts across Sydney including Barangaroo, Chatswood, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Kings Cross, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Taronga Zoo and for the first time, Luna Park.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier, Gladys Berejiklian said, "It's always such a great feeling to see the city light up in a spectacular symphony of colour and movement, and we can't wait to see all the moments that will excite and delight visitors who are coming to enjoy Vivid Sydney's 10th anniversary celebrations over the next 23 days and nights."
NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said Vivid Sydney was an opportunity to showcase not only Sydney, but the entire State.
"Vivid Sydney is more than just a captivating light, music and ideas festival -- it drives our economy, attracting hundreds of thousands of overnight visitors to our State," Mr Marshall said.
"Nearly 38,000 visitors to Vivid Sydney last year chose to extend their stay in NSW and travel beyond the fringes of Sydney, staying more than 94,000 nights and injecting over $16 million into the State's regional economy.
"The NSW Government has worked hard to ensure NSW is the tourism and events capital of Australia and Vivid Sydney showcases our global city to the world, reinforcing Sydney's position as the home of creativity, culture and innovation."
Creative Director for Vivid Sydney, Ignatius Jones added, "Vivid Sydney is all about art meeting technology and throwing in a little magic on top of it all to entertain visitors. This year the creative visions of local and international artists have been brought to life as large-scale and interactive installations and projections that transform iconic buildings, landmarks and landscapes; from the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, to the natural canvases at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Darling Harbour. We invite everyone to join our colourful celebration of creativity and community."
Vivid Sydney's festival of light, music and ideas is the largest of its kind in the world and the largest event in Australia. Here are some of the program highlights for this year's event.
It's 'Lights On' at 6pm each night (and 5.30pm at Chatswood and Taronga Zoo), as Sydney's architecture and open spaces become the canvases for mesmerising art projections and interactive installations. Highlights not to miss include:
- Celebrated Australian artist Jonathan Zawada transforms the Sydney Opera House sails into Metamathemagical, a series of kinetic digital sculptures using imagery inspired by the Australian environment.
- For the first time, Vivid Sydney includes Luna Park as a precinct, where grand light show, Spirit of Fun on Coney Island, and the Ferris Wheel, will give visitors a front row seat to some of the best views of Sydney Harbour aglow.
- May Gibbs' beloved characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie celebrate their 100th anniversary on the façade of Customs House with a joyous adventure through the Australian bush.
- Barangaroo will host a giant, six metre tall luminescent creature venturing along the waterfront and interacting with visitors in The Liminal Hour, a theatrical display of light and sound.
- Lights for the Wild returns better than ever at Taronga Zoo, where an adventure through jungle, bush and ocean habitats awaits. New additions join festival favourites, including 'PJ' the 20 metre Port Jackson shark, an epic nine metre Goanna, a Weedy Sea Dragon and Red-Back Spiders.
The Vivid Music program will provide a pulsating soundtrack to the festival with a line up of some of the world's best local and international contemporary artists taking to stages throughout the city. Highlights not to miss include:
- Australian future soul group Hiatus Kaiyote will show why they've been sampled by Drake, Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper when they bring their unique mix of jazz, soul, funk, fusion, hip hop and electronica to the City Recital Hall on 26 May 2018.
- Young Australian singing sensation, Ruel, will take to the stage of Sydney's iconic Metro Theatre for his first ever solo headline performance.
- The celebrated soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet will be brought to life when masquerade-ball-rock-show Young Hearts Run Free revs up the Enmore Theatre on 7 June.
- Orange is the New Black's Big Boo, Lea DeLaria, brings her sharp wit and sultry vocals to the City Recital Hall on 9 June with her musical comedy, jazz interpretation show as part of the Vivid Jazz series.
- Vivid LIVE takes over the Sydney Opera House again with a celebration of ambitious and innovative contemporary music. The World Heritage-listed stages will welcome international icons like Solange and Ice Cube as well as DREAMS, the highly anticipated electro-pop collaboration between former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns and Empire of the Sun's Luke Steele on 29 and 30 May. Californian dream pop cult duo Mazzy Star's Australian debut from 11-13 June will close out Vivid LIVE with their trademark psychedelic-tinged guitar and charming vocals.
Australia's most thought-provoking conversations are on the agenda with groundbreakers from technology, science, art, design and culture gathering to explore new ideas and cultivate fresh thinking through forums and workshops. James Cameron headlines the program this year and will speak in front of a sold out crowd. Highlights not to miss include:
- Futurist and game developer, Jane McGonigal and Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert Kriti Sharma team up on 3 June to discuss what kind of society are we creating with technology as they delve into the latest in AI, Virtual Reality and gaming.
- Australian global success story and founder of Mambo Clothing, Phantom Records and Deus Ex Machina, Dare Jennings, talks the joys of throwing out the rulebook to create cult brands, in a discussion with broadcaster James Valentine on 27 May.
- Visual strategist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-founder of the Museum of Awe, Dan Goods explores the interplay between art and science that has seen his work shown in museums and in outer-space on 3 June.
- Pioneering environmental activists, surfing and skateboarding icon Peggy Oki, and marine biologist and model Laura Wells, will talk on 6 June about protecting the oceans in the war on plastic, and how you can become an agent of change by turning passion into action.
- What will our lives be like when we coexist with digital humans? An expert panel will join a computer generated digital person on stage to examine the ethical and societal implications of life with digital artificial humans in Mummy, can I Marry my Avatar? on 16 June.
Vivid Sydney is now officially Lights On, so come and experience all it has to offer over the next 23 days and nights.
For more festival details and program information, visit www.vividsydney.com or download the mobile app on IOS or Android. There's a new augmented reality function and experience in the app, including access to a hidden art gallery at Fitzroy Gardens in Kings Cross.
Stay connected to social media channels for Vivid Sydney for all the latest updates and for last minute advice on getting around the city and Vivid Sydney precincts.