Vivid Sydney 2023

Vivid Sydney's annual festival of light, music and ideas is back to transform the city once again.
Ben Hansen
Published on May 01, 2023


Whenever Vivid takes over Sydney to kick off winter, the city instantly gets brighter. Unleashing a huge festival of lights and vibrant installations, live music, food and talks will do that, of course. Mark Friday, May 26–Saturday, June 17 in your calendars for 2023, with the annual festival returning with a typically massive program.

One headlining event is an appearance from Mike White, creator and writer of HBO's The White Lotus alongside the hit show's star and entertainment icon Jennifer Coolidge. The duo is coming to the Harbour City's Aware Super Theatre at the ICC Sydney for an exclusive in-conversation session moderated by Benjamin Law as a part of Vivid Ideas.

Lights-wise, more than 50 installations will be bringing bursts of colour to the Harbour City, with public installations, 3D projections and ticketed events all part of the lineup. The Vivid Light Walk is back with free public works inspired by nature popping up from over 100 light collaborators and 26 international light artists from 13 countries. First Light will also return, celebrating Australia's original custodians and opening the festival with a performance from Yolngu supergroup Yothu Yindi.

Other notable installations include Written in the Stars, which will see over 1000 drones light up the night sky and a huge Tumbalong Park activation called Dance Together, which will have you shaking your hips underneath three giant floating rings suspended above your head. Plus, the previously announced Lightscape will also be a part of the program. The after-dark light festival will be taking over the Royal Botanic Garden from 5.30pm each night.

2023 marks the first time the festival has introduced Vivid Food, a dedicated lineup of culinary events, to the program. The next-level eats are headlined by a two-week residency from New York chef Daniel Humm f the three Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park at Matt Moran's Aria. There will also be a range of collaborations as part of the Vivid Chef Series, a dedicated barbecue pop-up featuring Firedoor's Lennox Hastie, Chefs on the Harbour, a view-heavy overwater dinner on the luxury superyacht The Jackson with Nel's Nelly Robinson, plus popular chefs Khanh Ong and Mark Olive, and Mary's Group's one-day HERE NOW food, wine and music festival.

Music is always a huge component of the festival, and this year's lineup does not disappoint. The Sydney Opera House has rolled out a predictably showstopping and diverse mix of artists, starting with Devonté Hynes (also known as Blood Orange) performing selected classical works with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. The bill also features José González celebrating the 20th anniversary of his album Veneer, Cat Power recreating and reinterpreting a 1966 performance by Bob Dylan, and appearances from the likes of Thundercat, Yaeji, Ella Mai, Weyes Blood, Hiatus Kaiyote, Ethel Cain, Sleaford Mods, Squarepusher, Iceage, Kimbra and Budjerah.

Outside of the Sydney Opera House, Vivid's music lineup will include A Bend in the River: A Celebration of the Life & Music of Archie Roach at the Sydney Town hall with Paul Kelly, Emma Donovan, Dan Sultan, Kutcha Edwards and Becca Hatch among the friends, collaborators and contemporaries that will perform during the tribute.

Tumbalong Park will again host 12 nights of free live music featuring Yothu Yindi, Hatchie, Kaiit, A.Girl, Ziggy Ramo, Cornelius and a celebration of 15 years of triple j's Unearthed High competition. And, Carriageworks has curated a genre-spanning lineup with the like soft Desire Marea, Flying Lotus, Molchat Doma, Liv.e, Floodlights and Soft Centre.

Destination NSW


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