The Best Things To See And Do At Vivid Sydney 2023

Cool Sh*t, Eat, Events, Festivals, Guide, Play / 20 March 2023
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The Best Things To See And Do At Vivid Sydney 2023

Cool Sh*t, Eat, Events, Festivals, Guide, Play / 20 March 2023

Vivid 2023 will introduce a foodie branch to it’s light-fuelled spectacle, as well as the largest drone show the Southern hemisphere has ever seen, plus, the festival’s biggest EVER installation. 

Get ready for the most vibrant and diverse Vivid Sydney yet! From May 26th to June 17th, 2023, Sydney will be transformed into a wonderland of lights, music, and food. This year’s theme is ‘Vivid Sydney, Naturally,’ celebrating the beauty and wonder of nature. With over 300 events and activations across 23 days, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

But that’s not all. This year, Vivid Food is making its debut, showcasing culinary favourites and innovative food events. From street food to fine dining, there’s something to suit every taste.

Vivid Food

The Vivid Fire Kitchen at The Cutaway at Barangaroo will be the place to be for three weeks of flame-fuelled festivities, with legendary pitmasters and acclaimed local restaurants showcasing mouth-watering menus and masterclasses celebrating the natural diversity of the city and capturing the insatiable spirit of Sydney. Meanwhile, Vivid Residence will be an unmissable new dining experience, bringing one of the world’s most revered chefs to the culinary capital of Australia.

For a fully immersive dining experience, head to the House of Naturalia at Barangaroo House, where head chef Tara Chua will be serving up a curated zero-waste menu. And for a unique day-to-night party, check out HERE NOW, a day-to-night festival of abundance, smashing food and wine with music and art taking over the basement bar Mary’s Underground and Macquarie Place. For those who want to take in the stunning views of Vivid Sydney while enjoying a delicious feed, check out Light Up Your Senses at the Pylon on the Sydney Harbour Bridge where renowned chef Luke Mangan is serving up cheese boxes paired with red wine as light dances across the city’s skyline, streets and harbour, with DJs providing the perfect soundtrack. 

The Carriageworks Night Market is also set to make a return, showcasing more than 50 of Sydney’s leading restaurants, bars, and producers in a one-night event. 

Vivid Sydney 2023

Vivid Light

Once the sun sets, Sydney will transform into a hypnotizing wonderland of light and colour. More than 50 lustrous light installations, 3D projection artworks, and ticketed events will be available for visitors to lose themselves in.

After a successful debut at Vivid Sydney 2022, First Light will return for Vivid Sydney 2023. Curated by Vivid Sydney’s First Nations Advisor Rhoda Roberts AO, First Light will open the festival on Friday, May 26th, with a Welcome to Country and performances, including musical trailblazers Yothu Yindi, the Yolngu supergroup, and ARIA Hall of Fame members behind the hit song Treaty.

The Light Walk will expand its footprint in 2023, with a Vivid Sydney takeover of Barangaroo featuring more than 10 light installations and projections along with the Vivid Fire Kitchen. Vivid House returns, but this year, it’s bigger and better at the Cutaway in Barangaroo, activating every night of the festival with 360-degree immersive natural experiences bringing together art, light, sound, and video from local and international artists.

Vivid Sydney’s largest installation, The Last Ocean by US artist Jen Lewin, will dazzle at Barangaroo Reserve’s Stargazer Lawn with a massive tessellated ‘ice sheet’ made of reclaimed ocean plastic, while at Barangaroo Headland visitors will be amazed by the Instagram-worthy installations Dune by Juan Fuentes and Sydney art collective Night Whisper by Amigo & Amigo. Of course, the lighting of the sails is one not to be missed which this year, will see the vibrant works of one of Australia’s most famed artists, John Olsen, brought to life as a spectacular tribute to his illustrious artistic career of more than 60 years.

One of the most impressive events this year will be the Written in the Stars drone show, featuring more than 1,000 drones in six different shows, making it the largest drone show ever in the Southern Hemisphere. This awe-inspiring show will take visitors on a journey through our solar system, from the Sun to Neptune.

Another exciting addition to the festival is the Vivid Kids program, which showcases the work of young artists aged 7-14. This program features an animation projection on one of Sydney’s oldest buildings, bringing to life the works of these talented young artists. 

The Harbour Life show at the Australian National Maritime Museum is another must-see event, a celebration of Australia’s harbour beauty and the importance of utilising First Nations knowledge and maritime management practices alongside new technology in conservation efforts, Harbour Life is a moving story of the underwater world’s resilience projected on the HMAS Vampire, offering a unique way to take in the natural beauty of Sydney.

Set to be a firm favourite in 2024 is the Elemental water show, taking place at Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour. From the big bang to the natural world as we know it, this breathtaking show celebrates these elements – fire, air, water and earth – combining spectacular 80-metre water shooters, flames, projection and pyro technics – making it more than an essential stop on the Light Walk: it’s elemental. 

Vivid Ideas

This year’s Vivid Ideas program will feature talks and workshops from some of the brightest minds in the world, exploring community, authenticity, respect, love, and lessons learned from the natural world. The Body, LIFE, AND MARS: The Future of Human promises an intriguing talk that challenges the way we think about nature, all while making us laugh and fall in love with the world in a new and fascinating way. 

Vivid Sydney 2023

Vivid Music

As ever, music is a huge part of the festival, with a spotlight on First Nations artists. The Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour will become the go-to spot for free and eclectic contemporary music, featuring artists from all around the world. Some of the headliners include Yothu Yindi, Ziggy Ramo, Dan Sultan, Esa & Afro Synth Band with Kamazu and Mim Suleiman, and Emma Donovan, among others, and the best part of the eclectic Vivid Nights programme is it’s free! 

Vivid Live at Sydney Opera House

The Vivid Music program also features performances at the Sydney Opera House, with over 40 Australian and international artists. This year’s line-up includes Swedish folk-pop guitar master José González, indie rock royalty Cat Power, Grammy-nominated singer Devonté Hynes, and groundbreaking pianist and composer Max Richter, among others. Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House Studio Parties also returns in 2023, featuring Future Classic, Mad Racket, and Picnic, among others.

Vivid Sydney kicks off May 26th with the stunning first light ceremony. Head to the Vivid Sydney website to start planning your Vivid calendar for 2023. 

  • What: Vivid Sydey 2023
  • When: May 26th – June 17th
  • Where: Various
  • More info: Here