Vivid Sydney Lights Up for 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Vivid Sydney 2018 Harbor Lights (Photo credit: Destination NSW)

The 10th anniversary of Vivid Sydney is transforming the city into a colorful showcase of illumination, sensational sounds and creative thinking through June 16, 2018. This year, the lights shine brightly each night at nine precincts across Sydney including Barangaroo, Chatswood, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Darling Harbour, Kings Cross, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Taronga Zoo and, for the first time, Luna Park.

The festival of light, music and ideas is the largest of its kind in the world and the largest event in Australia. Here are some of the program highlights for this year’s event.


It’s “Lights On” at 6 p.m. each night (and 5.30 p.m. at Chatswood and Taronga Zoo), as Sydney’s architecture and open spaces become the canvases for mesmerising art projections and interactive installations. Highlights not to miss include:

  • Celebrated Australian artist Jonathan Zawada transforms the Sydney Opera House sails into Metamathemagical, a series of kinetic digital sculptures using imagery inspired by the Australian environment.
  • For the first time, Vivid Sydney includes Luna Park as a precinct, where grand light show, Spirit of Fun on Coney Island, and the Ferris Wheel, will give visitors a front-row seat to some of the best views of Sydney Harbour aglow.
  • May Gibbs’ beloved characters Snugglepot and Cuddlepie celebrate their 100th anniversary on the facade of Customs House with a joyous adventure through the Australian bush.
  • Barangaroo will host a giant, six metre tall luminescent creature venturing along the waterfront and interacting with visitors in The Liminal Hour, a theatrical display of light and sound.
  • Lights for the Wild returns better than ever at Taronga Zoo, where an adventure through jungle, bush and ocean habitats awaits. New additions join festival favourites, including “PJ” the 20-meter Port Jackson shark, an epic nine metre Goanna, a Weedy Sea Dragon and Red-Back Spiders.


The Vivid Music program will provide a pulsating soundtrack to the festival with a line up of some of the world’s best local and international contemporary artists taking to stages throughout the city. Highlights include:

  • Young Australian singing sensation, Ruel, will take to the stage of Sydney’s iconic Metro Theatre for his first ever solo headline performance.
  • The celebrated soundtrack of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet will be brought to life when masquerade-ball-rock-show Young Hearts Run Free revs up the Enmore Theatre on June 7.
  • Orange is the New Black‘s Big Boo, Lea DeLaria, brings her sharp wit and sultry vocals to the City Recital Hall on June 9 with her musical comedy, jazz interpretation show as part of the Vivid Jazz series.
  • Vivid LIVE takes over the Sydney Opera House again with a celebration of ambitious and innovative contemporary music. The World Heritage-listed stages will welcome international icons like Solange and Ice Cube as well as DREAMS, the highly anticipated electro-pop collaboration between former Silverchair frontman Daniel Johns and Empire of the Sun’s Luke Steele on May 29 and 30. Californian dream pop cult duo Mazzy Star’s Australian debut from June 11 to 13 will close out Vivid LIVE with their trademark psychedelic-tinged guitar and charming vocals.


Australia‘s most thought-provoking conversations are on the agenda with groundbreakers from technology, science, art, design and culture gathering to explore new ideas and cultivate fresh thinking through forums and workshops. James Cameron headlines the program this year and will speak in front of a sold out crowd. Highlights include:

  • Futurist and game developer, Jane McGonigal and Artificial Intelligence (AI) expert Kriti Sharmateam up on June 3 to discuss what kind of society are we creating with technology as they delve into the latest in AI, virtual reality and gaming.
  • Visual strategist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and co-founder of the Museum of Awe, Dan Goods explores the interplay between art and science that has seen his work shown in museums and in outer-space on June 3.
  • Pioneering environmental activists, surfing and skateboarding icon Peggy Oki, and marine biologist and model Laura Wells, will talk on June 6 about protecting the oceans in the war on plastic, and how you can become an agent of change by turning passion into action.
  • What will our lives be like when we coexist with digital humans? An expert panel will join a computer generated digital person on stage to examine the ethical and societal implications of life with digital artificial humans in Mummy, can I Marry my Avatar? on June 16.

For more festival details and program information, visit or download the mobile app on IOS or Android. There’s a new augmented reality function and experience in the app, including access to a hidden art gallery at Fitzroy Gardens in Kings Cross.

Stay connected to social media channels for Vivid Sydney for all the latest updates and for last minute advice on getting around the city and Vivid Sydney precincts.

Andrea Hammer
About Andrea Hammer 282 Articles
Andrea Karen Hammer is the founder, director and owner of Artsphoria Publishing, Media Group & Shop ( Artsphoria International Magazine (; Artsphoria Movie Reviews & Film Forum (; Artsphoria: Arts, Business & Technology Center (; Artsphoria Event Advertising & Reporting (; Artsphoria: Food for the Soul (; Artsphoria Animation & Imagination World ( and Artsphoria Shop ( She is a Philadelphia-based freelance writer who has published articles in international publications.

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