Show-Stopping Sydney: Photos From the Vivid Light Festival

vivid sydney 2017
The Sydney Opera House, all lit up.

If you’re a fan of festivals, Sydney is truly the place to be. There is always something going on in NSW’s capital and one of the best is the annual Vivid Festival, which celebrates “Light, music and ideas”.

Now in its 9th year (let’s not get into a discussion about how fast time flies) these three weeks are an ideal time to spend in Sydney. The city is already quite obnoxiously pretty, but somehow becomes even more beautiful during these weeks.

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Inflatable wattle at Martin’s Place in the city – the state’s national flower.

Having attended Vivid regularly during its earlier years of inception, I will confess to being a little bit disappointed with the direction in which the festival has chosen to go. Most of the sights were once contained to Circular Quay, which is where you can find the city’s more iconic structures, such as the Bridge and Opera House.

The venues are now rather spread out, across the CBD (Central Business District) and further beyond. This is two fold – it means the crowds are a bit easier to deal with at each point of interest, but it would probably take a few days to see everything. Sometimes, the time to do so just isn’t available.

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The Magicians of the Mist show at Darling Harbour.
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The Magician himself makes an appearance!

As a result, I was admittedly somewhat disappointed with the show. Many of the lights were recycled from years previous and others were simply just a bit underwhelming. I had been building the event up in my head for three years, after being away for the last few. That might have had something to do with it.

[bctt tweet=”Sydney puts on its best face at the @VividSydney Light Festival.”]

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The MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) – I swear I’d seen this light installation before.
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The bridge was a bit eh.
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Looking back on the Quay.

At least the Opera House, which is definitely the show-stopper, looked as lovely as always. Please excuse some of my snaps – I was having to photographise without a tripod as I’ve somehow managed to break both of mine within the last year!

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There it is!
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I don’t really know what’s going on here, but it looks pretty awesome.

It’s the smaller attractions that are the most intriguing. Black Star Pastry and N2 Extreme Gelato had teemed up to produce a range of concoctions for the event, that shone in UV light – glow in the dark tea, white chocolate drinks, cake and “glownuts”. Unfortunately, being lemon flavoured, they were a lot more fun to look at than to eat, for this girl at least. The white chocolate drink on the other hand, was delicious!

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An ordinary-ish doughnut…
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Until it’s put under UV light.
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This merry little frog was part of one of the neater installations.

Nonetheless, Vivid remains as one of the coolest festivals in the city and even the country. It’s held yearly from the last weekend in May, until mid-June.

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Now that’s an undeniable fact.
Vivid Sydney is one of the city's coolest annual festivals, where iconic structures are covered in lights. Here's what you can expect, should you choose to attend.

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  1. Even if you were a bit disappointed, still looks pretty cool! How does it work with the light? Does it change periodically or every evening? e.g. your photos of the Opera House show different light patterns so do they just sort of swirl around creating new patterns all the time?

    Didn’t realise it’s already into its 9th year, wow.

    1. They’re projections, so they do change periodically, to other patterns. The Opera House always looks cool during Vivid (and, all the time). As I said, I reckon I’d definitely seen the MCA’s before and that was really about it. A few years ago they were lighting up other buildings like Customs House, so dunno what the deal is with it these days.

      1. Ah yep, makes sense. Sounds like you should just sit somewhere nice and watch the light show unfold in front of your eyes!

  2. Hasn’t Vivid come a looooong way in those 9 years! It’s a shame it’s always so bloody cold, it would be more enjoyable if it were on during one of the warmer months. Those glowing “glo-nuts” are pretty cool too. Stunning photos!!

    1. Thank you! It certainly has. I rather like having it in the winter, tbh! It’s kinda nice to rug up and wander around the harbour and have a hot chocolate at the end. Was bloody hot that weekend anyway, despite the time of the year.

  3. Looks like so much fun! I love these night time events that really show you a different side of the city. In Melbourne we have WhiteNight. Not quite as vibrant as Vivid Sydney but still a whole lot of fun

    1. I have to say, I went to White Night this year and found it a bit underwhelming! This is probably one of the few things that Sydney does better than Melbourne (gotta hold onto them, I guess!).

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