Vivid lights over Sydney Harbour

Credit: Destination NSW

Sydney’s annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology is back. Find out what’s on at Vivid Sydney 2024.

Vivid Sydney is back from 24 May 24 - 15 June 2024! With its impressive technicolour light projections, installations and performances, this year's program is shaping up to be one of the best yet.  

Expect showstopping colour and light, innovative artists, boundary-pushing thought-leaders, talented musicians and culinary experts to delight all of your senses.

More than 300 activations and events showcasing creativity, innovation and technology will supersize the city’s joy and optimism as Vivid lights the soul of the city and celebrates its history, its people and its diversity.

Celebrating its 14th year with a theme that celebrates 'humanity’, this all-ages crowd-pleasing festival of light promises to be brighter and more joyful than ever, and we have everything you need to know about Vivid Sydney 2024 to make the most of its exciting return.

“In 2024 Vivid Sydney celebrates humanity. Everyone is invited to the world’s most beautiful city to connect, create and participate. To come together as people for change – to share experiences and stories through light, music, ideas and food. We welcome you to be part of this unique global event that embraces creativity, innovation and technology for the greater good.

Vivid Sydney 2024 explores what makes us human and how we can make a better world, together.”

- Gill Minervini, Festival Director

Vivid Sydney program highlights

Vivid Light

Vivid is synonymous with the light art that covers Sydney’s iconic buildings in technicolour, dressing her up for the thousands of visitors she receives each night. From secret tunnels adorned with sparkling lights to the sails of the Opera House and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney’s harbourside treasures become a canvas for creativity.

This year, Sydney will transform with more than 50 light installations, 3D projection artworks coming to life as the sun sets.

First Light will open the festival on May 24, with the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House illuminated and animated by artwork commissioned from 2023 Archibald Prize winner Julia Gutman. Through dance, music, and puppetry, Echo tells a story of wonder, vulnerability, and strength and takes us into the world of Narcissus.

Other highlights include Global Rainbow, a beacon of hope and inclusivit,y and a guiding light that stretches for up to 40km from Sydney Tower Eye, and Sea, Sand and Stars, a light projection onto the Museum of Contemporary Art by Chinese Australian artist Guan Wei.

Top highlights for Vivid Light include:

  • Lighting of the Sails, at Sydney Opera House
  • Stateless, in Barangaroo
  • Gloal Rainbow, at Sydney Tower
  • Hika Rakuyo, in Darling Harbour
  • Nest, in Barangaroo
  • Faces of Change, on the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylons
  • Embrace, at First Fleet Park in The Rocks
  • Sea, Sand and Stars, at MCA in Circular Quay
  • Gumscape with Road and Creatures, at Customs House

You can see the full program Of Vivid Light  here.

Illuminated sails at the Sydney Opera House during Vivid Sydney

Credit: Destination NSW

The Vivid Light Walk

One of the best ways to see the light installations of Vivid is on the The Vivid Light Walk. The Vivid Light Walk is a special route through the city guided by live music, food and entertainment  - and more than 60 attractions, including light installations, 3D-mapped projections, venue takeovers and jaw-dropping spectacles. This year the lights, installations and performances of the Vivid Light Walk extend all the way from Circular Quay to Central Station in a supersized eight-and-a-half kilometre pathway. Whichever direction you choose to take this walk, you’ll have the pleasure of experiencing show-stopping projections at Customs House, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and Sydney Opera House from Dawes Point. Don’t miss out on the abandoned railway tunnels at Wynyard Station or the installations at Walsh Bay.

Plan your Vivid Sydney Light Walk here.

Vivid Sydney projections and animations on Customs House

Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Ideas

Vivid Ideas brings provoking discussions and debates and deep dives into controversial and leading-edge topics to challenge and expand our way of thinking with appearances from some of the world’s greatest minds, innovators and creatives. This year, Vivid Ideas gathers some of the world’s brightest minds and fearless storytellers, with intriguing talks and workshops, exploring community, authenticity, respect, love and lessons learnt from the natural world.

Standout events this Vivid include Golden Age of Humanity, where nine notable Australians, including Bernard Collaery, Kylie Kwong, Craig Foster and Kate McClymont will discuss their personal connection to film and humanity, and A Thousand Ways: An Encounter, an intimate ‘performance’ that takes place between you and a stranger – divided by a glass partition, with a stack of instruction cards to facilitate an interactive experience that fosters connection. Also at Vivid Sydney 2024 is After the Fact, a week nightly debate between Sydney’s brightest minds to discuss the breaking stories of the day

That’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Ideas program – visit the website for more and to book tickets.  

Vivid Ideas, a celebration of thought-provoking ideas, robust discussion and debate

Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Music

Vivid Music is an eclectic program of music and performance in new and unexpected locations, pushing boundaries, sharing stories and keeping the Vivid energy at 11. Watch local and international performances across the city, highlights include The Grand Silky Ball, a night of fashion, fun and voguing at Machine Hall Precinct, and No Fixed Address, the legendary rock-reggae band with a special performance from Stray Blacks.

Stop at Tumbalong Park as you wander along the Vivid Light Walk for Vivid’s free concert series Tumbalong Nights featuring some of Australia’s up and coming acts and Sydney’s emerging artists. With an eclectic lineup from disco and RnB to alt-country and brass bands, these free concerts are not to be missed.

Check out the full Vivid Music program for free and ticketed events.

Vivid Music, an eclectic program of music and performance in new and unexpected locations, pushing boundaries, sharing stories

Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Food

Launched in 2023 and returning for another year, Vivid Sydney’s Food program is back – from decadent street food to luxurious dining experiences.

Vivid Fire Kitchen is returning for another year, but this time it’s changed location to The Goods Line, and this year it’s all about seared street food from around the globe as well as fire cooking demonstrations where leading chefs will share their techniques and secrets.  

Plates with Purpose – A Taste of the Ukraine is a unique immersion in Ukrainian culture with a 10-course degustation of authentic dishes and reimagined classics by head chef Botys Chernyk. The experience also offers an opportunity to pay your meal forward, with 200 meals donated to Ukranian individuals in need in Sydney and Ukraine.  

Those looking for a more casual street food marker vibe will find their groove on the VividPlace Food Trail, where Sydney Place and Bulletin Place laneways will be transformed into bustling night markets with an array of food from Australia’s top chefs, restaurateurs and bartenders

Check out the full Vivid Food program for free and ticketed events.

Vivid Fire Kitchen, a highlight of Vivid Food in the Vivid Sydney festival in 2024

Credit: Destination NSW

Vivid Sydney FAQs

What is Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney is Australia’s favourite festival of lights, food, ideas and music, and it takes over the city at key locations throughout the Sydney CBD. This annual event showcases ground-breaking and diverse music, ideas, food, and installations, literally lighting up the city each night and reigniting the love that locals and visitors alike have for it.

It’s the largest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and one of Australia’s most beloved.  

Each year the festival breathes new life into the Sydney and harbour precincts, lighting up iconic buildings with 3D projections, light shows and installations, showcasing music and performance from around the world and sparking thought provoking conversations through thought-leadership sessions from boundary breakers. And returning for another year, the Vivid Food program is back to tingle tastebuds and inspire creativity.

 

When is Vivid Sydney?

Vivid lights up Sydney’s nights every evening for 23 nights from 24 May to 15 June 2024, giving Sydney’s iconic buildings a glow up and drawing us all back to the harbour and Sydney’s acclaimed dining and entertainment precincts for a calendar stuffed with events.

 

Where is Vivid Sydney?

Light installations and projections bring Sydney to life with colourful displays at key locations all across the city – and more across Sydney. The city is bathed in light every evening with projections and installations at:

  • Circular Quay and The Rocks
  • The Sydney Opera House
  • Sydney CBD and surrounds
  • Walsh Bay
  • Barangaroo
  • Darling Harbour
  • Darling Quater
  • Darling Square
  • The Goods Line
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Carriageworks
  • University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
  • Walsh Bay
Embrace light installation for Vivid Sydney at First Fleet Park in the Rocks

Credit: Destination NSW

What time does Vivid Sydney start?

Vivid’s light installations and 3D projections will be visible from 6.00pm as night hits the city until 11pm. The place to be for Light’s On is anywhere with a view of the Sydney Opera House. The Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House signals the opening of Vivid each night, as colourful projections and animations burst onto the curved canvas, beginning the evening with a celebration and setting the tone for fun and creativity.

 

When is the best time to go to Vivid? 

Vivid Sydney is at its busiest over the weekend when everyone comes out to play, and Friday and Saturday nights are especially busy. Plan your visit for a weeknight, as it's typically quieter than weekends, so it will be less crowded and easier to explore the installations. Try to visit before the last week, as that's when Vivid is at its busiest with the last-minute rush.

 

Is Vivid free?

Vivid is inclusive and much of it is free to enjoy and explore. There’s no charge to experience the incredible 3D light projections, shows and installations, and many music events like the Tumbalong Park evening concert series are free too. 

While most Vivid events are free, many concerts, lectures and some light installations (like Lightscape at the Royal Botanic Gardens) are ticketed.  

Some of the top free events include:

  • Vivid Sydney Light Walk
  • Lighting of the Sails: Echo by Juliat Gutman
  • Sea, Sand and Stars
  • Nest
  • Gumscape with Road Creatures
  • Chairwave
  • Bare Necessities at Tumbalong Nights
  • Neuron
  • Connection
  • Say My Name: The HUmanity of Names
  • Poem Booth
  • First Light
  • Stateless
  • Club Broadway + The Carpenters from Kempsey
  • After The Fact

Check out more of the free events of the program at the Vivid website here.

Lightscape installation, for Vivid Sydney in Royal Botanic Gardens

Credit: Destination NSW

Are there Vivid Sydney events for kids?

Kids love exploring the art installations and watching the light shows, especially Lights On and the Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House at 6pm, so make sure you’re in position!  

Head to Tumbalong Park each Saturday evening at 5pm for Vivid Kids @ Tumbalong Park, featuring performances by Buuja Buuja Dance, The Beanies, Formidable Vegetable and The Quokkas.

Some of the best family-friendly Vivid Sydney events include:

  • Superheroes of Science
  • Vivid Kids at Tumbalong Park
  • Lightscape
  • Messina Milk Bar
  • Global Rainbow

TIP: Visit any of the Vivid Medical Tents and grab wristbands for kids and write your phone number on them.

For more events for kids and families, visit the Vivid Sydney website here.

 

Will Vivid Sydney be cancelled if it rains?

Vivid 2024 continues rain, hail or shine. Keep your eye on the forecast, but you won’t miss out if it’s a bit wet.

 

Is there a Vivid Sydney map?

Visit the Vivid Sydney 2024 Maps & Guides before you set off. It covers all locations and has instructions for how to plan your Vivid Sydney adventure using their interactive map. Visit the Light Walk Planner to map out your route along the for the eight-and-a-half kilometre walk.

Hika Rakuyo display in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour for Vivid Sydney 2024

Credit: Destination NSW

How do I see all the lights and projections?

You’re going to need a few visits to see everything, so make a plan and focus on one or two areas each visit. Visit Vivid Sydney for your guide to installations, transport and access.

 

How do I get to Vivid Sydney?

The best way to travel to Vivid Sydney is by public transport. Use buses and trains to get in and home from the city. You can plan and check transport in real time at 131500.com.au

 

Where are the best spots to see Vivid?

Following the Light Walk will give you a great view of the installations, projections and light shows. Cruising on the harbour – whether by taking a local ferry across the water or booking an organised Harbour Cruise - will give you a unique view of the lights and installations around Circular Quay, the Harbour and Darling Harbour.

You can also book dinners at Sydney restaurants and gaze at the lights while you dine, or cruise along the Harbour spotting installations and with the lights and projections creating a fabulous show for you on the canvas of Sydney’s iconic buildings.

 

What are the best things to see and do at Vivid Sydney?

Remember that wherever you go during Vivid, you will see incredible light displays and installations! Don’t miss the bigger than ever eight-and-a-half kilometres long Vivid Light Walk through the city – the electronic labyrinths in the abandoned railway tunnels of Wynyard station are a must. It’s always fun to see the Lighting of the Sails each evening at 6pm when the Vivid lights turn on.

Hika Rakuyo at Cockle Bay is an eight-minute laser and projection spectacle that is on repeat from 6pm, while this year sees Custom House transformed into a wild and surreal Aussie road trip, where retro-futuristic robots, one-eye koalas and other strange creatures take over the building. Barangaroo’s thought-provoking and moving Stateless installation is not to be missed, while we recommend snapping up your ticket to the phenomenon of light, colour and sound at Royal Botanic Garden’s Lightscape.

 

Who owns Vivid Sydney?

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and events agency.

 

Book Vivid Sydney Experiences

Want to make the absolute most out of Vivid Sydney 2024? Book one of these incredible experiences!