Countdown On Until The World’s Largest Festival Of Light, Music & Ideas, ‘Vivid Sydney’, Illuminates Sydney

With less than four weeks to go until the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney, illuminates the city, 141 artists from 23 countries are working to create more than 80 light installations and projections that will appear in more than eight Vivid Sydney precincts spread across Sydney.

In 2016, Vivid Sydney will host its longest program ever running for 23 nights from 27 May until 18 June. Last year more than 1.7 million guests attended Vivid Sydney including 112,000 international and domestic visitors. In 2015, Vivid Sydney generated $63.2 million in visitor spend for the NSW economy.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said, “With less than a month to go until Vivid Sydney begins, our city is gearing up for this year’s festival which will once again shine a light on Sydney as a hub for culture and innovation. The city’s hotels and major attractions are reporting strong bookings and are preparing to welcome visitors from across Australia and the world who will travel to Sydney to be a part of this incredible annual event. I encourage everyone to make plans for Vivid Sydney today, as there is so much on offer over the festival’s 23 nights.”

Destination NSW CEO and Vivid Sydney Executive Producer, Ms Sandra Chipchase agrees. “Vivid Sydney is simply too big to cover in just one night. It’s the combination of light, music and ideas that makes Vivid Sydney a completely unique experience. Visitors should plan to stay in Sydney and surrounds to enjoy a jam-packed schedule of daytime Ideas talks, seminars and forums combined with night time tours of the light installations and evening music performances,” she said.

Vivid Light will see the city illuminated into a dazzling playground of fun and free sights for all ages. New precincts at Taronga Zoo, The Galeries and the harbourside of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney will join returning favourites at Circular Quay, Darling Harbour and the Australian Maritime Museum, Martin Place, Central Park and Chatswood.

According to Vivid Sydney Creative Director, Ignatius Jones, the next four weeks are a time of intense creativity and construction for light artists. He says “Vivid Sydney takes art off the walls and literally puts it on the street. You cannot underestimate the complexity of creating touchable, durable outdoor light art. Artists are working intensely, often developing new technologies to bring their vision to life.”

Over the next four weeks, Vivid Sydney’s artistic and technical teams will be busy preparing for the incredible lights-on moment at 6pm on Friday 27 May. Up to 1,480m of LED tape will be installed to light up Sydney Harbour Ferries as they journey across the Harbour.

Approximately 1600 LED tubes, containing 76,800 individual LEDs, and 140 High Output LED Cans will be laid so visitors can literally control the colour of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as part of the Dress Circle installation at Circular Quay.

Light artists Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter have exhibited at every Vivid Sydney since the festival began in 2009. In the coming weeks, they will be installing lighting by boat under Walsh Bay’s Piers 2/3 to bring to life the Underwater Forest, a light work that pays homage to the massive turpentine tree trunks which support the heritage pier.

Wunderkind designers, Thomas Martin and Sebastian Barkoczy, will be fitting thousands of clear light tubes to build U-Tube, a frame in which guests can imprint their palm or body. Martin and Barkoczy are well known for their popular Robtoanic installation which was a hit in Martin Place during Vivid Sydney 2015.

At the McGrath Foundation, almost 3,000 Australians have submitted images of those touched by breast cancer to create the inspirational McGrath Foundation Mosaic installation. Images will be projected on the AMP ‘Sydney Cove’ Building at Circular Quay to form a mosaic tribute to Jane McGrath who inspired a nation, and whose legacy via the McGrath Foundation continues to support families across Australia experiencing breast cancer through its McGrath Breast Care Nurses.

Artists Justinus Hartany, Sean Virili, Matthew Fungs and Jamie Bastiol are collecting 1,200 PET bottles to fill with 120 litres of tonic water. Quinine in the tonic will glow under UV light to create Tectonic, a playful installation suspended above visitor heads in Kendall Lane.

Mr Jones points out that these initiatives are just a small part of the overall efforts undertaken by artists to create the most original and exciting Vivid Sydney festival yet.

“Every year artists outdo themselves to create new art works, use new technologies and engage with audiences in new ways. Vivid Sydney is never the same, it is always evolving to provide fresh experiences to visitors annually,” he says.

Tickets to Vivid Sydney’s Vivid Music and Vivid Ideas events are also selling fast. Limited tickets remain for Vivid Ideas’ Game Changer talk series featuring filmmaker Spike Jonze, House Of Cards creator Beau Willimon, Orange Is The New Black creator Jenji Kohan & fashion creative director, Margaret Zhang while demand is high for Vivid Music events such as New Order and Anohni at the Sydney Opera House, the Models, Machinations & Dave Mason reunion event at the Enmore Theatre & the arts-meets-music dance party Curve Ball at Carriageworks.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. Vivid Sydney features large scale light installations and projections (Vivid Light); music performances and collaborations (Vivid Music including Vivid LIVE At The Sydney Opera House) & creative ideas, discussion and debate (Vivid Ideas), all celebrating Sydney as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific.

For more information on travel packages, light installations, events & to make tour bookings, visit

Media Release: Vivid Sydney