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People sitting on a train lit with cool green lights.
Photograph: Supplied | Destination NSW

Sydney trains have transformed into epic music and light experiences for Vivid

All Aboard! Tekno Train by Paul Mac is THE experience of Vivid Sydney 2024

Alice Ellis
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Alice Ellis
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Taking the train doesn’t often blow your mind. Until now. In possibly the coolest Sydney news we’ve heard this year so far, Vivid Sydney is running an experience called Tekno Train by Paul Mac, as part of the epic Vivid Music program. And yep, Tekno Train is pretty much what it sounds like: a Sydney Train turned into a sensory sound and light experience that moves you along the tracks. The last tekno trains will chug their way through the city this weekend – here's everything you need to know.

This thrilling musical adventure isn't just be a one-night affair – this service is running hot for the 23 nights of Vivid, making use of disused train lines through Sydney’s city circle.

As passengers ride the train, they're treated to an original techno soundtrack by Paul Mac, in carriages lit by immersive custom lighting that moves to the beat of the music. Cooler, still: as the train moves, the music and lights respond to match the train’s speed and even the changing landscape outside. 

A train lit with purple party lights, with a sign saying: TEKNO TRAIN
Photography: Supplied | Destination NSW | Vivid Sydney 2024

Paul Mac doesn’t really need an introduction, but for those scratching their heads, he’s one of Australia's leading electro-pop musicians, singer/songwriters, producers and remixers known for his musical work with Itch-E & Scratch-E, LCD Soundsystem, Rüfüs Du Sol, Ngaiire, Daniel Johns, George Michael, Sia and even our Kylie Minogue.

Why did Mac want to be part of this trip? “Trains have always fascinated me,” he says. “Their mix of rhythmic clicks and clacks, the screech of metal on metal, and the sound and smell of brakes are all interesting sensory experiences that everyone can relate to. Tekno Train will take things one step further. It will drive the music and lights, turning a commuter journey into a sensory rollercoaster.”

Tekno Train is offering two different 60-minute routes for people to book into right now – one is a slower, above-ground journey well suited to families with kids; while the other is a faster-paced, underground ride with a more pulsing techno beat (read: everything amplified).

A man sitting on a train lit with cool looking red and yellow lights.
Photograph: Supplied | Destination NSW | Vivid Sydney 2024

This isn’t the first time Vivid – aka Sydney’s annual festival of light, art music and all things epic – has made cool use of disused train infrastructure in Sydney city – Dark Spectrum has transformed the old tunnels under Wynyard Station into another light and sound experience during Vivid.

“Vivid Sydney keeps finding new and unique locations, and programming memorable one-off experiences,” says NSW Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham. “Tekno Train raises the bar yet again in 2024. Multi-ARIA Award winner Paul Mac composing the tracks on the tracks will lift a routine experience like jumping on a train in the city into a joyous moment and a unique, shared experience.”

Vivid Sydney Festival Director Gill Minervini says, “This year’s Vivid Sydney is focused on broadening perspectives, challenging preconceptions and celebrating humanity. 

“Tekno Train by Paul Mac is a perfect example of how multiple artforms from the world’s brightest artists can transform everyday activities into something truly memorable.”

Tekno Train by Paul Mac runs every night of the Vivid Sydney (until Saturday, June 15). Tickets start at $13.90 for kids aged 5-12 and $19.90 for adults. Family pricing is available at $59.90. Don’t take the slow train if you want tickets to this truly one-of-a-kind train trip – snap up tickets over here.

Stay in the loop: sign up for our free Time Out Sydney newsletter for more news, travel inspo and activity ideas, straight to your inbox. 

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