For three weeks each year, in late May/early June, Sydney comes even more alive than it normally is with a spectacular light, music and ideas(?) art show – Vivid Sydney.
I have visited every year now since 2014. This review is based on my 2015 visit when, as in other years, Sydney’s most recognisable buildings and other structures became a canvas for the most amazing of light projections. Canvases included the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Museum of Contemporary Art at The Rocks (picture 2) , Customs House (Circular Quay – picture 3), commercial buildings in Martin Place (the Commercial Travellers’ Association hotel – picture 1), Star City Casino and a number of other buildings around Darling Harbour and many, many more – around 50, I read. The events organisers claim that Sydney becomes the world’s largest outdoor ‘art-gallery’ for three weeks each year.
I found many of the ever changing (though, of course, they are loops of varying lengths) projections mesmerizing – especially that on the Opera House which I could have sat and watched for an hour or more, alone. I probably spent half that time but had to move on as everything was worth a look. See the first picture on my Sydney Opera House review for just one of the images projected onto the Opera House.
While the major buildings and structures lit up were, for me, the major drawcards of the show, the city was full of smaller, and no less interesting, light art displays with many of these being interactive. For example, the face on the head shaped display, at Martin Place, depicted in image 4 is that of a visitor (not me!). The large inflatable bunny and koala, in picture 5 below, were massively popular with kids of all ages, including me. In Darling Harbour, regular water shows (obviously lit up) were also part of the overall show in that area and certainly the one I saw was well worth the ten minutes or so it took.
Music of all sorts, including local and international acts outside the Opera House, complement the light shows as do numerous food stalls especially set up for the occasion.
In addition to being a festival of lights and music, organisers slated it as a festival of ideas. Hmmmm … If that aspect floats your boat go for it! I, like most visitors, was happy to remain superficial and just enjoy the great light shows and decent music.
While crowds were large, especially around Circular Quay, they were not oppressive though I did go on a Sunday and not on a Friday of Saturday night. I suspect had I visited on a Friday or Saturday night things may have been rather different.
If you are in the city while Vivid is on, I thoroughly recommend you spend a full evening walking around the city enjoying the light displays, music and food on offer. Surely the epitome of optical stimulation.
While the focus of the show, and as I have indicated the crowds, is around Circular Quay and the Opera House other parts of the city are also lit up – especially worth visiting are Martin Place and Darling Harbour. While I didn’t visit them, various locations outside the central area including the University of Sydney, Chippendale and Chatswood were also part of the show in 2015.
Unless you set aside a few nights you will not be able to see everything so it’s a matter of picking and choosing what appeals to you or just wandering around the city till the lights go out at around midnight. The latter was my approach.
Should you visit Canberra I can also highly recommend a similar event there – See my Canberra becomes Enlightened review.
This is my last Sydney – GENERAL review.
For other Sydney reviews click HERE.