Vivid Sydney Has Been Rescheduled to September, But the Lineup Is Worth the Wait

After being cancelled in 2020 due to you-know-what, Vivid Sydney is back in 2021 — promising to transform the city into an oasis of creativity, innovation and technology.

The festival has, unfortunately, been delayed due to the restrictions currently in place in Sydney, and will now take place from 17 September to 9 October 2021.

Full details of the revised Vivid Sydney 2021 program will be available online in the coming weeks as venues and event owners finalise logistics. Ticketholders will be able to transfer their ticket to the new event date or request a refund via the relevant ticket agent.

When the event does happen, however, it is going to be incredible.

Featuring spectacular art displays and 3D projections from local and international artists, as well as an awesome line-up of musical talent, the festival will run from Friday 6 to Saturday 28 August.

Now in its 12th year, the annual event sees the streets, buildings and various venues of Sydney transformed into large-scale art installations that draw huge crowds and firmly position the Harbour City as the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific.

The Countdown

In anticipation of the event, two showstopping Countdown Clocks — to count down each day to the festival’s Lights On moment — have been installed to mark the final hundred days until the VIVID comes to life once more.

According to an official press statement, “The Countdown Clocks, a first in the 12-year history of the event, were designed by Vivid Light Curator Lucy Keeler and will be located in First Fleet Park, The Rocks and Wulugul Walk, Barangaroo. Sydney visitors can check out these Insta-worthy timepieces, capture a selfie and share on social media using #vividsydney.”

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The Lineup

The lineup for the 2021 Festival looks to be one of the best yet with no end to the creativity and ingenuity on display.

Included in Vivid Light will be 50 immersive and kinetic light installations and projection artworks all designed to explore and showcase the power of quiet strength.

In a celebration of Australia’s rich Indigenous culture, the Sails of the Sydney Opera House will be transformed into an impressive new digital rendition of an iconic Martu painting by the Martu Artists and Curiious with a soundtrack by Electric Fields and Martu Artists.

Additionally, Shard is another beautiful First Nations artwork that integrates LED screen technology to provide a portal into a world unknown, while Symbiosis by Dirty Monitor is a new creation specially designed for Vivid Sydney. Through animated 3D paintings and contemplative and poetic music, the work transports viewers into a universe where the human species merges with various living organisms to give birth to new forms of life.

Vivid Ideas is also shaping up to be one to remember with the Game Changers program at the Sydney Town Hall, being headlined by the star of The Good Place and body positivity advocate — Jameela Jamil. Jamil will appear via an exclusive live-streamed talk with Jamila Rizvi and will explore the need for greater diversity and inclusion in media.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Vivid without some incredible music as well and the festival will not disappoint with more than 50 live shows held in surprising venues to offer one-of-a-kind experiences.

In fact, according to the official press release, Hyde Park Barracks, The Calyx – Royal Botanic Garden, Luna Park, The Bearded Tit and Parliament House will all pull back the curtains to host musical performances.

Hermitude, Flight Facilities, Mia Rodriguez, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Akosia, Betty Grumble, Jesswar, Tropical F#ck Storm, BARKAA and ARIA Award-winning punk rock band Amyl and the Sniffers are just a snippet of the acts to keep your eyes and ears peeled for.


Also according to the official press release, for the first time, the Up Late Series will be hosted at Sydney’s renowned cultural institutions, offering a mix of music and ideas across unorthodox late-night talks, DJs, performances and art. Festival-goers can expect to be challenged with boundary-pushing discussions on sexuality, queer culture, Indigenous culture, fashion, self-identity and agitators in society at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Australian Museum, Powerhouse Museum and the Australian National Maritime Museum.

And the crazy thing is, these events are just a small handful of what will be on offer during the iconic festival, with loads more art, music, ideas and lights to check out. Full lineup details can be found on the official Vivid Sydney website. 

The Finer Details

Of course, this year the festival will have to go ahead without its usual influx of international visitors but is still expected to generate much-needed revenue. For reference, the 2019 iteration attracted over 2 million visitors and contributed millions of dollars to the NSW economy.

Like most events these days, Vivid Sydney aims to be as eco-conscious as possible with sustainability initiatives including the purchase of verified carbon offsets, the use of efficient LED technologies, promotion of public transport, waste minimisation, electronic ticketing and social inclusion.

At 6pm each night during the festival architecture in spaces such as The Rocks, Circular Quay, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Darling Harbour and Luna Park will be illuminated by captivated by the inspiring art installations, bringing sorely-missed creative life back into the Emerald City.

Festival Director Gill Minervini said this year’s program offers a multitude of reasons for visitors to return throughout the festival, including a number of first-time program inclusions.

“This year, Vivid Sydney will deliver fresh experiences for our festival-goers to enjoy. For the first time ever, the waters of Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour will come alive as a floating Light Walk incorporating a large-scale artwork called Ephemeral from Sydney-based design studio Atelier Sisu,” Minervini said.

“The façade of Customs House, one of the city’s most iconic heritage buildings, will be brought to life with VORAX – an epic 3D tale of a mischievous thief’s rise to greatness from Hong Kong’s Treacle Media. And in The Rocks, artist Brad Robson and Esem Projects provide a fascinating insight into the journey of creating Brad’s dynamic portraits through Point of View.” 

Vivid Sydney is the ultimate celebration of light, music and ideas and we truly cannot wait for it to take over Sydney’s streets once more. For the full lineup of events and to start planning your visit, check out the official Vivid Sydney website. 

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