Vivid Sydney

From Air, Budjerah and Yasiin Bey to 40-kilometre-long laser beams, Vivid Sydney's 2024 program is packed.
Sarah Ward
March 15, 2024

Overview

Have you ever looked at Sydney Tower, the Harbour City's tallest structure, and wondered what it'd look like with 40-kilometre-long laser beams shooting out of it? When Vivid Sydney arrives for 2024, you'll no longer need to just ponder that question. The answer comes via Global Rainbow, which will project a fan of light from the tower courtesy of US artist Yvette Mattern. Vivid always boasts light installations and openair art as one of its key pillars, but the annual festival just might outdo itself with this year's display in the heavens.

Across 23 nights between Friday, May 24–Saturday, June 15, in what marks the event's 14th year, Vivid has a plethora of other ways to liven up the New South Wales capital on its 2024 lineup. Whether you'd like to hear tunes by Air, Budjerah and Yasiin Bey, or see artwork by Archibald Prize winner Julia Gutman on the Sydney Opera House's sails, or feast your way through a night food market, you'll be catered for at the winter showcase of music, luminous sights, culinary events and conversation.

The Vivid Light program doesn't just include lengthy lasers and Gutman's Echo, but also the return of Lightscape to the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney so you'll be able to mosey through lit-up leafiness again. Plus, Reg Mombassa is turning the Customs House facade into a tribute to Aussie road trips, while Guan Wei's works will deck out the Museum of Contemporary Art's exterior.

Our Connected City will light up the Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as The Rocks, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House and a range of buildings in the CBD. If you head to Barangaroo, you'll be able to see two dazzling displays. First, the Stargazer Lawn will welcome a circular projection of the brolga's mating dance called Nest from Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J Montalba. Also, Sinclair Park's Stateless will get 4000 solar-powered LED candles glowing amid the sandstone blocks at Barangaroo Reserve.

Vivid Music, the fest's music festival within the broader festival, is anchored by a heap of must-see gigs at the Sydney Opera House — French favourites Air celebrating their 1998 debut album Moon Safari chief among them. After playing Vivid 2019, Underworld are back to bust out 'Born Slippy (Nuxx)' again at more Australian-exclusive shows. Arca, Sky Ferreira, Fever Ray, Snoh Aalegra, Devonté Hynes with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra: they're all on the bill, too, as are parties from House of Mince, Mad Racket and Astral People.

Budjerah is one of the highlights on Tumbalong Nights' free lineup, which also features grentperez, Mallrat, sunwoojunga and Silica Gel. And Yasiin Bey, who was formerly known as Mos Def, has a two-night stint at Carriageworks, where he'll work through his tunes and influences.

Other standouts on the music program include working the Machine Hall Precinct into the mix, which is where Deerhoof, Underscores, Jen Cloher, No Fixed Address and Ngulmiya will play — and where Trackwork, The Huxleys and CLUB 4A will throw shindigs. Mary's Underground will again host the Vivid Sydney Supper Club. Back at Carriageworks, the venue will welcome Tirzah, Yves Tumor, Electric Fields and X CLUB as well.

At Vivid Food, Vivid Fire Kitchen will go all in on barbecue in its new location at The Goods Line. Vivid Residence and Vivid Chef Series will also be back, but with details still to be revealed. Kyiv Social's Plates with Purpose: A Taste of Ukraine is a ten-course degustation that will make you feel like you're sat at a Ukrainian family's table. And, don't miss the chance to hit up the VividPlace Food Trail, which'll turn Sydney Place and Bulletin Place's laneways into a night food market each night of Vivid.

There's also Our Shared Humanity at Refettorio OzHarvest, with Christine Manfield, Darren Robertson, Mitch Orr and more whipping up three-course vegetarian menus using rescued produce — plus Aurorae at Bennelong Bar, Bennelong's pop-up snack and cocktail bar. Also, A Culinary Canvas by Danielle Alvarez celebrates women in the Australian food and wine scenes in Sydney Opera House's Yallamundi Rooms.

Top image: Destination NSW.

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