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Three great reasons to hit Vivid this year

Avoid annual Vivid envy by venturing interstate this year for Sydney's stellar winter bash

Image: Artists in Motion

Vivid (May 27-June 13) transforms Sydney: winter days and nights are illuminated with kaleidoscopic light projections, minds meet during inspiring talks and workshops and the best of local and international acts hit town for a program that makes music-lovers outside Sydney green. We regret not going every year.

Running over 23 days, Vivid is the largest winter festival in the southern hemisphere, and its program of "light, music and ideas" events is mindblowing. It's also bigger than ever: this year’s festival will extend beyond the June long weekend, and there are three new locations on the map for this year’s free light installations: the Royal Botanic GardensTaronga Zoo and the Galleries.

And here's why we're dying to go:

The lights

Visitors will be able to walk through a cathedral of lights in the Botanic Gardens before marvelling at the star attraction, Sydney Opera House, which will be lit with an animated projection called ‘Songlines’ featuring the work of six indigenous artists: Karla Dickens, Djon Mundine, Gabriella Possum, Reko Rennie, Donny Woolagoodja and Gulumbu Yunupingu. 

There’ll be more than 60 light installations around Circular Quay, which will be switched on from 6pm to midnight every night during the festival. Plus, there’ll be 30 more artworks to explore at other locations such as Chatswood, Martin Place, Chippendale and Darling Harbour.

The inspiration

Vivid Ideas returns with the Game-Changers series of talks at Sydney Town HallSpike Jonze, film director, producer and writer known for his films HerAdaptation and Being John Malkovich headlines the series, along with House of Cards screenwriter and producer Beau Willimon, fashion stylist and creative director Margaret Zhang, and Orange Is The New Black and Weeds creator Jenji Kohan.

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The tunes

Vivid Music’s program (which features over 70 bands and artists) includes an exhibition and DJ set from Björk at Carriageworks, as well as special events from local collectives like One Day Sundays, Heaps Gay, Picnic and Mantra Collective. Vivid Live brings international and local heavyweights to Sydney Opera House, including gigs from Bon Iver, New Order, Esperanza Spalding, Tiny Ruins and Max Richter’s eight-hour performance of ‘Sleep’. Plus, our favourite former small club is back for a residency under the sails in Goodgod Super Club, and that makeshift-dive bar, the Deep Purple Pool Hall, returns to the Opera House for pre- and post-show drinks.

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