The complete guide to Vivid Sydney 2022: Everything you need to know about Sydney's brightest festival

Vivid Sydney’s triumphant 2022 return signals the resurgence of the city’s festival scene - and we are ready for it.

The technicolour light projections, installations and performances Vivid Sydney is renowned for are back to dazzle and inspire, and, after its two-year hiatus, Vivid’s fiesta of light, music and ideas is a creative journey into Sydney’s soul.  

More than 200 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 12th year, 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 2022 to make the most of its exciting return.  

“Vivid Sydney will inspire hearts and minds through bold, inclusive and innovative creative experiences that celebrate our soul and have universal resonance. Experiences that bring us together and embolden us through light, music and ideas.”

 - Vivid Sydney 2022

 

What is Vivid?  

Vivid Sydney is Australia’s favourite festival of light, ideas and music, and it takes over the city at 11 key locations throughout the Sydney CBD. This annual event showcases ground-breaking and diverse music, ideas 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. For 23 glorious nights, light displays and installations, plus concerts, performances and lectures, inspire with creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, sparking debate, discussion and thought leadership alongside a smorgasbord of music and performance in some of Sydney’s favourite and newly established venues. 

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. 

 

When is it?  

Vivid lights up Sydney’s nights every evening from 27 May to 18 June 2022, 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 it?

Light installations and projections bring Sydney to life with colourful displays at 11 key locations all across the city. The city is bathed in light every evening with projections and installations at Walsh Bay, Darling Harbour, The Rocks, the Sydney Opera House, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Darling Square and Central Station.  

sails-of-the-opera-house

Photo by: Destination NSW

What time does it start?

Vivid’s light installations and 3D projections will be visible from 6.00pm as night hits the city, and 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 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?

Weeknights are quieter than weekends, so they’re a good time to get into the city and explore. Try to visit before the last week, 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 and lectures are ticketed. Check out the program at the Vivid website to find dates and prices and to book. www.vividsydney.com.

for-sydney-with-love-vivid-2022

Photo by: Destination NSW

What is 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.  

 

Where is the Vivid Light Walk? 

The Vivid Light Walk is a special Vivid festival route through the city guided by live music and entertainment and more than 200 LED sculptural birds as part of the Future Natives installation. This year the lights, installations and performances of the Vivid Light Walk extend all the way from the Harbour to Central Station in a supersized eight kilometre pathway. Start at the Royal Botanic Gardens and wander past the Opera House to the Quay, the Rocks and Walsh Bay, Barangaroo and into Darling Harbour, the Darling Quarter and up to Central Station. This iconic Sydney station and the Goods Line join Vivid for the first time in 2022 with light projections on its sandstone towers, installations on its grounds and live music events throughout the station terminals.  

 

What is Vivid ideas?

Vivid Ideas brings provoking discussions, debates and subjects 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.   

vivid-sydney-2022-ephemeral-site

Photo by: Destination NSW

Standout events this Vivid include Wellmania: Healthy aspiration or sickening obsession? Brigid Delaney and Benjamin Law join Jenny Valentish to probe Sydney’s fixation with wellbeing and discuss the rise of influencer “health experts” and our fascination with controversial treatments. Do they work? And what does wellness actually mean now?  

Vivid Ideas' Global Storytellers series celebrates identities who push creative boundaries and share detailed and transparent stories of experience to open minds and drive change for good. This year’s Global Storytellers are Australian style-icon, singer-songwriter and entertainer Troye Sivan, Oscar and Emmy award-winning theatre and film director, screenwriter and playwright Aaron Sorkin and US journalist and author Gretchen Carlsson who laid the foundation for the #MeToo movement. 

Join Troye Sivan as he discusses beauty, art and fluidity at Sydney Town Hall in a live and intimate conversation with Flex Miami. Or join ‘Bombshell’ US journalist and Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlsson as she and TV host Lisa Wilkinson discuss raising our voices against violence, sexual abuse and misogyny. Director playwright Aaron Sorkin joins Leigh Sales to talk performance and politics. Find out more about the Global Storyteller series and book tickets here. 

 

What is Vivid music? 

Vivid Music www.vividsydney.com/events/search/vivid%20music 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, and spend the evening at the Sydney Supper Club, an intimate cabaret lounge featuring performances from favourites including Emma Pask, Bob Downe, Tim Freedman and Mahalia Barnes.  

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. Music starts at 8pm Wednesday and 7pm Thursday to Saturday. 

There’s free music every Saturday at the Grand Concourse at Central Station with the Vivid Sydney Brass Band and performances from the Morrisons, Lolo Lovina and Cope St Parade.

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

 

Are there 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! Check out the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Genext X Vivid Ideas kids takeover of the museum, a 12 – 18 year old event featuring music, creative workshops and interactive experiences. Tickets are free, but you must register

Head to Tumbalong Park each Saturday evening at 5pm for Vivid Kids @ Tumbalong Park, featuring performances by Justine Clarke, Teeny Tiny Stevies and the Vegetable Plot.  

Illuminated animal figures light up the zoo at Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo in a ticketed family friendly event, and 250 metres of robotic fountains brighten the night and throw tonnes of water in a dazzling display at Darling Harbour.  Find out more about what’s on for Kids and Vivid here

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

 

What happens when it rains?  

Vivid 2022 continues rain, hail or shine. Keep your eye on the forecast, but you won’t miss out if it’s a bit wet.  

 

What is the best time to go?  

Vivid is at its busiest over the weekend when everyone comes out to play, and Friday and Saturday nights are especially busy. If you can, try and pop in during the week for a less crowded experience. 

 

Is there a Vivid Sydney map? 

Download this Vivid Sydney 2022 map and print it before you set off. It covers all locations and has a handy route map for the eight kilometres long Vivid Light Walk.  

 

Who owns vivid Sydney? 

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

 

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.  Download the Vivid Sydney 2022 map for your guide to installations, transport and access.

 

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? 

Remember that wherever you go during Vivid, you will see incredible light displays and installations! Don’t miss the Endless Love installation at Circular Quay and the bigger than ever eight kilometres long Vivid Light Walk through the city. It’s always fun to see the Lighting of the Sails each evening at 6pm when the Vivid lights turn on.  

Sydney Infinity at Darling Harbour is a huge series of colourful robotic fountains, Vivid House at the Darling Quarter is a sensory journey through 3D visual and sonic experiences and Ephemeral Oceanic is a bubble extravaganza over a floating boardwalk at Walsh Bay. Crosswalk This Way at the Rocks is a crazy pedestrian crossing that replaces stop and go with commands for combinations like squat and jump. 

Ken Done’s spectacular animation For Sydney with Love on Customs House façade shows a day in the life of our favourite city, and the Opera House’s Vivid Live is a celebration of projections, concerts, pop up entertainment, and vibrant communities.  

 

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 

 

See you there!  

Words by Evie Farrell - Published 9 May 2022
Quick Facts 
Population Approx 4.3 million
Area 4,000 km²
Time Zone GMT +10
Languages English (official)
Currency Australian Dollar (AUD)
Electricity 220 - 240v 50Hz
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