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Vivid Has Just Dropped Its Full Lineup of Lights, Music and Ideas for 2021

The program features a chat with Jameela Jamil, a Cantina OK! pop-up and over 50 light installations.
By Ben Hansen
May 25, 2021
By Ben Hansen
May 25, 2021

When winter hits in 2021, Sydneysiders can prepare to be ensconced in projections once again. After taking a year off in 2020, Vivid Sydney's annual festival of light, music and ideas will transform the city over 23 nights with a jam-packed lineup of cultural events, pop-ups and activations.

Public spaces across Sydney will be treated to Vivid's beloved light installations — including the previously announced Cockle Bay light walk and Customs House's 3D visual storytelling project, and the freshly revealed activation Fall, a multi-sensory experience in The Rocks playing off the heritage area's leaky drains as a comment on our collective water consumption. The program's lineup will sprawl across iconic Sydney buildings and open spaces in Circular Quay, The Rocks, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour.

Jordan Munns

In Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House's sails will light up with a digital rendition of Yarrkalpa (Hunting Ground), a stunning painting created by the Martu Artists of the Pilbara region. Inside and in front of the iconic harbourside venue, Vivid Live will feature an array of boundary-pushing and fan-favourite musicians from Australia and New Zealand. Across the three-week festival, music fans can catch the world premiere of Sampa the Great's new stage show, a tenth anniversary showcase of Sydney record label Astral People, rock and jazz legends Gareth Liddiard (The Drones), Jim White (Dirty Three) and Chris Abrahams performing together, plus sets from Golden Features, Flight Facilities, Hermitude, Gordi, G Flip, Miiesha and Connan Mockasin.

Image: Vivid Sydney, 2019

English actor and The Good Place star, Jameela Jamil will appear as part of Vivid Ideas, discussing body positivity, social media, diet trends and mental health via a virtual talk with Australian author and podcast host Jamila Rizvi. Elsewhere on the Vivid ideas program, Magda Szubanski will discuss the importance of art and laughter, and Briggs will be joined by YouTuber Nat's What I Reckon to discuss mental health while discussing food and music they've been loving. Author of Honeybee Craig Silvey will also be in attendance with screenwriter, performer and multi-disciplinary "trans queen" Glace Chase to talk gender fluidity and representation. 

Away from the Sydney Opera House, cultural events will activate across the city. Carriageworks will play home to a Cantina OK! pop-up, featuring food and cocktails from the CBD bar, a roster of DJs and performances from King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard and Amyl & the Sniffers. LGBTQIA+ party collective Heaps Gay will bring its Kween's Ball to Luna Park, while FBi Radio will invite audiences into their studio for performances from local musicians. The UTS Great Hall will host a series of talks, seminars and film screening, and the Australian Museum, Parliament House, MCA, the Powerhouse Museum and Maritime Museum will all continue with their after-dark culture series Up Late.

Image: Destination NSW, an artist's render of a Vivid installation.

Vivid will run from Friday, August 6 until Saturday, August 28. You can check out the full program via Vivid's website.

Published on May 25, 2021 by Ben Hansen
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