Everything You Need to Know About Vivid Sydney 2017

Everything You Need to Know About Vivid Sydney 2017

Get ready for a line-up of the world’s most creative minds.

By Emmy-Lou McKean | 16th March 2017

In just over nine years, Vivid Sydney has become one of the world’s largest festivals of light, music and ideas. With every year, Vivid Sydney grows and pushes creative boundaries; the 2017 festival attendance is expected to exceed last year’s 2.3 million visitors.

From May 26 to June 17, Vivid will come to life with light sculptures and illuminated buildings across the Sydney Opera House precinct, Taronga Zoo, Martin Place, Darling Harbour, Chatswood, Kings Cross and, for the first time, Barangaroo.


Artist: Amigo & Amigo

Although this year’s Vivid Sydney festival is said to have been created with thousands of themes in mind, there is no doubt that the event has been largely inspired by animals.

A giant frog is set to watch over the Sydney skyline; illuminated kiwi birds will appear in the Botanical Gardens; an interactive shark will take up residence at Taronga Zoo; and myriad other creatures will be projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Artist: Ample Projects

Artist: Ample Projects

This week, the Sydney Opera House announced the impressive full line-up for the ninth annual Vivid Live, and we are already booking flights to get in on the action!

This year, the all-encompassing Vivid Sydney festival will boast a creative program of 180 events as part of Vivid Ideas, with a further 250 international and Australian Vivid Live performances spread across 23 nights.

Here’s a breakdown of all the events and installations not to be missed at this year’s Vivid Sydney:


For many, the illumination of Sydney’s iconic Opera House sails is the highlight of the festival. This year, Sydney artist and art director Ash Bolland will light up the sails with Audio Creatures, a morphing, mesmeric artwork set to music by Brazilian electronic producer Amon Tobin.

Artist: Ash Bolland

Artist: Ash Bolland

Of the many light installations taking place across Sydney, there are two visual events at The Rocks that cannot be missed. Local producers and artists Propaganda Mill will set up shop at the historic Cadman’s Cottage for MUSICbox, an experience through which participants see their own musical compositions translated into unique displays of colour and fantasy.

The Rocks will also come alive at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), where Paris-based creative Dany Rose and Australian artist Julia Gorman will collaborate to create Organic Vibrations, an artwork of constantly morphing images that will “flow seamlessly over the façade of the MCA”.

Artist: Julia Gorman & Danny Rose

Artist: Julia Gorman & Danny Rose

While the entire city acts as an amazing blank canvas for virtual art, the Royal Botanic Garden has some of the best offerings from Vivid Sydney. The gardens will host a collaboration between artists and collectives of all ages, which will showcase new developments in projection, lighting and sound technology.

Step into the Electric Forest before wandering through five big glaring eyeballs scattered through the You Lookin’ at Me? display. This enigmatic and wonderful display of light and sound has to be experienced to be believed.

Artist: Light Atelier

Artist: Light Atelier


On March 1, Seattle’s Fleet Foxes was the first artist announced for the stellar Vivid Live line-up. The folk-rock masters are returning to Australia for the first time in five years. Due to high demand, tickets to exclusive Fleet Foxes shows were allocated by ballot.

Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold has said, “We are unbelievably excited to perform songs from our new album, and to revisit songs from across our catalogue, at the Sydney Opera House in May. In this time, when all action towards unity is vital, our means of engendering union is through music, collective communal performance, on any stage that will have us, and there is no better stage in the world than the Opera House.”

Australian electronic phenomenon Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker) has also confirmed that he will unveil a 360 ° concert experience exclusive to Vivid Live.

Many other standout artists and pioneers in their respective genres will be performing at Vivid Live, including acts such as Goldfrapp, Laura Marling, Camp Cope and The Avalanches (featuring DJ Shadow, Briggs, and Sampa the Great).


Vivid Live will also see the return of Studio nights at the iconic Goodgod Super Club, with a four-night bill of epic underground electronic proportions. Goodgod will also present the Soft Future Piano Bar (an evolution of the Deep Purple Pool Hall) – this year’s “ultimate chill-out space in the Concert Hall’s Northern Foyer”.


Best known for his Barack Obama Hope poster, iconic American artist Shepard Fairey will return to Australia to headline the Game-Changer Talks Series. Fairey has constantly blurred the boundaries of art and design and his “style is instantly recognised in exhibitions and on walls around the world”.

A post shared by Shepard Fairey (@obeygiant) on

From June 1-4, Chippendale’s Old Clare Hotel will host Curvy: “a platform for creative women to connect, share and learn with each other”. Now in its 11th year, the event showcases “tenacious, boundary-breaking women who are leading the world’s most progressive industries”.

If you’re interested in the future of creative content and breaking boundaries, don’t miss talks from some of Australia’s most creative women, including Gemma O’Brien, Jo Walker, Ainsley Hutchence, Lauren Winzer, and Linda Marigliano.

A post shared by CURVY (@curvycreative) on

Check out this time lapse video from the 2016 Vivid Sydney to get a taste of what’s to come this year!

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Article by Emmy-Lou McKean

Emmy-Lou McKean is a Journalist at Style Magazines. She is a self-confessed pyjama enthusiast and on her weekends when she isn't in said pyjamas you'll find her enjoying live music, sipping Matcha lattes and eating her way through Brisbane and beyond.


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