Sydney’s Vivid Night of Colours

Yet again, I find myself flying from Melbourne to Sydney. For yet another one night only.

The One and Only Son has moved to house sharing facilities in the Sydney inner west suburb of Petersham. So I checked that out, but his new home is not what this post is about. Checking out Vivid was my other reason for the visit.

The Vivid festival with the tagline “Light, Music and Ideas Festival” is an annual Sydney event. It runs late autumn/fall to early winter, in 2016 from Friday 27 May to Saturday 18 June.

The website summarised the event as follows:

“Vivid Sydney is a unique annual event of light, music, and ideas, featuring an outdoor ‘gallery’ of extraordinary lighting sculptures, a cutting-edge contemporary music program, some of the world’s most important creative industry forums and, of course, the spectacular illumination of the Sydney Opera House sails.

The multi-award-winning winter festival of light, music, and ideas returns to illuminate Sydney with exciting new precincts to explore, mesmerising new light art to inspire and plenty of entertainment for everyone. This spectacular festival has grown into the largest of its kind in the world, attracting more than 1.7 million visitors last year.”

More info at


So I checked out Vivid with the One and Only Son. Yep, that is us below, in a work of mirrors called “Infinity”.


The usual suspects were of course represented. Most visitors would have taken photographs of Sydney Opera House. A constant change of lights and movements projected on its sails.


Not much you can do with Sydney Harbour Bridge during an occasion like this. Different colours on its ironwork of course but not much more.


This lit up art piece in The Rocks celebrated the area’s maritime past. The figures moved up and down along with the waves underneath the pier.


My Vivid favourite this year was the paint running down from the Museum of Contemporary Art building. Hugely realistic and obviously very colourful. Quite a spectacle.


Yep, one more of that…


Many Sydney downtown buildings were also lit up for the duration of Vivid.

I couldn’t help thinking how nice it would look if that lighting was permanent. But then my thoughts crossed to that other event “Earth Hour” when you switch off all lights for an hour… Yes, a contrast indeed. Mmmm….


Sydney Botanical Gardens as a Vivid destination was new for 2016. This lit up tunnel was much popular.


Lots and lots of people stopped there for selfies and photos. Including me obviously.


Now, part of the reason for checking out Vivid was that the One and Only Son is contributing to it yet again. In two locations.

This light show below is a creation of the One and Only Son. Developed over 5 days as a bit of a “rush job” he told me.  He was not overly impressed himself with how it came out. The photos of it looked a lot better he said.

This part of Vivid was also “hidden” beyond that light tunnel above and many visitors would have missed it.


The other main contribution to Vivid from the One and Only Son was over at Taronga Zoo. You have to take a ferry across and back to see it. So we decided against that as all the main installations were around Circular Quay. At Taronga Zoo, his work was close to its main entrance and consisted of… animals lit up against a wall.

We walked back towards Circular Quay and got up close and personal with Sydney Opera House along the way.


The artwork along the facade of the Customs House building tends to be impressing. Not so this year. The One and Only Son forewarned me before we arrived there and he was right. Various children books characters made the younger visitors appreciating it. But not so much for us.


Angry Birds perhaps…?


The One and Only Son told me that there were also artworks in Martin Place this year. So we walked there. There was a gigantic TV Ping Pong game where you moved your block cursor with your feet. Lots of laughs. And cursing while stuffing it up…


The following day, before flying back to Melbourne, I took a wander through Sydney again. I passed one of the installations floating on the water. Circuit boards galore. It almost looked more impressive in daytime than lit up in the dark.


As I leave Sydney, I realise that this is probably the first time in 4 years that I’ve checked out Vivid. 2012 would have been the last time. In 2013, Good Mrs and I traveled for that full year and the next 2 years we were in Melbourne.

I need to visit Vivid more often. It is well worth spending a few hours there if you wonder, Dear Reader.