Australia’s largest event and the pioneer of light-based art and culture festivals in the Asia-Pacific region has assembled some of the world’s most innovative artists, talented music makers and thought leaders as part of its 2023 line-up, which also recognises the significant contribution of First Nations peoples and cultures to the creative industries.
Inspired by the master of all creators, Mother Nature, this year’s theme, ‘Vivid Sydney, Naturally’, is reflected across all of the 300+ activations and events that make up the 23-day program.
Vivid Sydney Light Walk’s signature Sydney Opera House Lighting of the Sails will see the vibrant works of one of Australia’s most famed artists, John Olsen, brought to life as a spectacular tribute to his illustrious artistic career of more than 60 years. Life Enlivened (2023) will include Olsen’s evocative Salute to Five bells (1971–73) mural commissioned especially for the Northern Foyer of Sydney Opera House’s Concert Hall, as well as other artworks spotlighting Olsen’s fascination with Australian landscapes and nature.
The Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House line-up will feature more than 40 Australian and international artists. José González, Yaeji, Ella Mai, Cat Power, Devonté Hynes and many more will take to the stages of the world-famous building in a program curated by Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music Ben Marshall.
The Vivid Music program will spotlight First Nations and Australian voices this year. The late Archie Roach AC will be celebrated with an incredible night of performances with the late artist’s long-time friends and collaborators and special appearances by members of Archie’s family. There will also be 12 nights of free music at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour featuring Yothu Yindi, Dan Sultan, cult Japanese artist Cornelius and many more.
British author and “master of her material” Jeanette Winterson features at Vivid Ideas and will reflect on questions of identity, sexuality, religion and more to unpack the idea of nature in LIFE AND MARS: The Future of Human.
And for the first time, Vivid Sydney’s brand-new pillar – Vivid Food – will broaden the creative spotlight from Light, Music and Ideas to include culinary favourites and innovative food events. Work up an appetite for a fusion of street food; a barbecue of epic proportions with legendary pitmasters for Vivid Fire Kitchen at the Cutaway at Barangaroo; fine-dining experiences; and the return of 2022’s sell-out Vivid Sydney Dinner at the Ivy Ballroom, a special feast by esteemed Sydney chefs Ben Greeno and Danielle Alvarez.
Vivid Sydney Festival Director Gill Minervini said Vivid Sydney has come of age and has evolved into a progressive and inclusive event that celebrates the best of an expanded definition of the creative industries in 2023.
“Vivid Sydney is the original festival of light, art and culture. 2023 is the 13th time it has been staged and so it has naturally evolved over time to ensure that it stays relevant to the creative industries and what that means to people today,” Ms Minervini said.
“We are truly proud of this year’s program. We have raised the bar on the size and scale of the events and activated new parts of the city. Our line-up features more diverse talent across more industries.
“There are world-firsts and festival-firsts, and both free and ticketed events to make the festival accessible to everyone. Audiences should be prepared to be blown away by the calibre of talent and a program that has been inspired by the beauty and diversity of nature.
“Vivid Sydney’s 2023 program is a celebration of authenticity, an invitation to connect, and a chance to create. You do not want to miss Vivid Sydney 2023.”
Destination NSW CEO Steve Cox said Vivid Sydney was the biggest and most loved annual event in the NSW calendar and would once again in 2023 inject energy and vibrancy into the entire ecosystem of the state’s visitor economy.
“Each year visitors and Sydneysiders immerse themselves in the program and enjoy the incredible activations of the talented creatives who make the festival so special,” Mr Cox said.
“Last year Sydney welcomed a record 2.58 million attendees who injected $119 million into the NSW visitor economy across the festival footprint. It is our expectation that, with its exciting new program and more international travellers returning to our shores, Vivid Sydney 2023 will elevate the experience for our visitors and deliver even more visitor expenditure to the NSW economy”
Staged across Sydney’s city centre, Vivid Sydney festival locations include Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, Walsh Bay, Barangaroo, King Street Wharf, Darling Har-bour, Darling Quarter, Darling Square, The Goods Line, Central Station, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Carriageworks, Taronga Zoo and more.