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A drone show over Sydney Harbour.
Photography: Supplied | Destination NSW | Daniel Tran | Written in the Stars drone show - Vivid Sydney

Vivid Sydney 2024: Here are the key things you need to know

The annual festival of light is coming back to Sydney this month – here are your biggest questions, answered

Winnie Stubbs
Written by
Winnie Stubbs

Winter is well on its way, and here in Sydney, the event calendar of the cooler months is dominated by one word: VividThe multidisciplinary festival of lights, music, food and ideas is illuminating the city yet again this year, with an exceptional program centred around the theme of Humanity. Here are a few key details to help you plan ahead and make the most of Vivid Sydney 2024. 

When is Vivid Sydney 2024? 

Vivid Sydney 2024 is kicking off on Friday, May 24, and will run until Saturday, June 15, 2024. During that time, Sydney will come to life with state-of-the-art light displays, interactive art pieces, creative pop-up kitchens and a series of events set to spark inspiration and insight – all carefully curated to interrogate the question of what it means to be human. 

What is Vivid Sydney? 

Vivid Sydney is an annual festival that transforms the Harbour City into a luminous wonderland for several sparkling weeks. Though it started as a light display based at Circular Quay, Vivid has gone on to evolve into a multidisciplinary festival, with the pillars of Vivid Light, Vivid Ideas and Vivid Music each taking inspiration from one central theme every year to form a varied, multifaceted program. In 2023, Vivid Food was established as a new pillar, and this year, the food element is set to play a key role in the Vivid experience.

Opera House for Vivid Sydney
Photograph: Supplied/Vivid Sydney | 'Echo' by artist Julia Gutman will light up the Sydney Opera House sails in 2024

Where is Vivid Sydney?

By now, it’s hard to find a corner of Sydney that isn’t somehow touched by Vivid’s luminosity between late May and through June, but there are some key locations where the sparkle reaches its peak. As always, Circular Quay will be the epicentre of the Vivid action, but the event will transform venues and precincts across the city, including The Rocks, the State Library of New South Wales, Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, the University of Technology Sydney, The Goods Line, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and Carriageworks.

What time does Vivid Sydney start?

The lights turn on at 6pm every night, and various events will take place throughout the duration of the festival, from early evening panel discussions to late-night gigs and dance parties.

dark spectrum light event
Photograph: Supplied/Vivid Sydney | 'Dark Spectrum' returns to Wynyard tunnels in 2024

Is Vivid Sydney free to attend?

In short, yes. Taking in the spectacular light displays that form the mesmerising backbone of Vivid (which you'll see projected onto iconic landmarks and floating in the sky) is totally free. However, there are some more exclusive events for which you’ll need to book a ticket – including the immersive illuminated walk through Sydney’s Botanic Gardens and the spectacular experience hidden in the abandoned tunnels beneath Wynyard Station, as well as panels, gigs and parties. 

What are the best free events at Vivid?

The best free events at Vivid this year include daily panel discussions at Barangaroo House, fascinating interactive art pieces and, of course, the lighting of those spectacular sails. You can read our full round-up of the best free things to do at Vivid Sydney 2024 over here.

Customs House light display
Photograph: Supplied | Vivid Sydney

How can I buy tickets to Vivid Sydney 2024 events?

Tickets are on sale now, and you can check out the full program and mark your diaries by heading over here.

Where are the best places to eat during Vivid? 

Vivid Food is a key pillar of the festival, and this year's food line-up is huge: with Vivid Kitchen serving up flame-licked street food, and globally-renowned chefs taking over kitchens across the city. You can check out our full list of the best places to eat during Vivid over here, and you'll find our list of the best bars to visit during sparkly season over here.

When does Vivid Sydney end?

The lights will turn off on Saturday, June 15, 2024 – and that will be it for Vivid for another year. If you’re keen to make the most of Vivid Sydney 2024, you can peruse the program and plan your autumn accordingly over here.

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