An Amy Poehler Talk, Indigenous Dining Experience and 8 Other Non-Lights Vivid Highlights

Vivid Sydney highlights Fever Ray

Vivid Sydney started in 2009 as a festival of lights, designed to attract wintertime visitors to a city often solely associated with sun, sand and surf. Today, the annual 23-day and night festival celebrates creativity, innovation and technology.

Its line-up is categorised in Light, Music, Ideas and Food — and that’s just the official Vivid line-up. Restaurants, bars and hotels around Sydney put on special Vivid-themed events to coincide with the official festival.

If you’re not into lights, we’ve rounded up some of the best of the other official Vivid Sydney activities you can do throughout the three weeks instead. This is, of course, an edit — here’s the full Vivid Sydney program with hundreds of events.

AI Will Destroy Humanity: A Future Science Debate

The Vivid Ideas talk AI Will Destroy Humanity: A Future Science Debate will be held at Parliament House in the Legislative Council Chambers on Friday, June 7 at 7pm. The debate will feature Ben Rohald, Dr Zoe Xirocostas and self-confessed science nerd and comedian Adam Spencer. Together, they’ll answer: will AI spell the doom of humanity, or be the pinnacle of human achievement? Tickets start at $49.

Warakirri Dining Experience

Part of the Vivid Food program, The Warakirri Dining Experience will take place at Carriageworks on Friday, May 31 and Saturday, June 1, starting at 6:30pm. The dinner will showcase the beauty of over 60,000 years of culture, with the help of Ngemba Weilwan woman Sharon Winsor, passionate about Aboriginal food. Event tickets start at $275.

In Conversation With Amy Poehler

The Sydney Opera House will host In Conversation With Amy Poehler on Monday, May 27 at 7pm. The Emmy Award-winning actress will visit Sydney for the first time since 2015, chatting with broadcaster Zan Rowe and sharing a 30-minute look at scenes from Inside Out 2, the sequel to Inside Out. Tickets start at $89.

Fever Ray

Fever Ray, aka Swedish avant garde alchemist Karin Dreijer, will play at the Sydney Opera House Wednesday, June 5 and Thursday, June 6 evenings. The artist is known for technopop, a mysterious masked image and a voice that sounds supernatural. Tickets start at $99.

Plates With Purpose – A Taste of Ukraine

On Tuesday, June 4, Kyiv Social in Chippendale will host four-hour event Plates With Purpose – A Taste of Ukraine. Guests will dine on a 10-course degustation by Chef Borys Chernyk and get to experience a typical Ukrainian family table, complete with an all-female Ukrainian band. The event will contribute 200 meals to Ukrainians in need. Tickets start at $160.

K-Indie Music Fest

You’ve likely heard of K-Pop, but have you heard of K-Indie? Experience it on Friday, June 7 at 6pm in Tumbalong Park at K-Indie Music Fest. Put on by the Korean Cultural Centre, the concert will feature Sunwoojunga, known for her jazz-infused pop, and Silica Gel, who blend rock, pop and electronica to create “ear-crazy music”. The event is free.

Nowhere To Be

Nowhere To Be is a documentary about the COVID-19 pandemic, capturing the meaning of “unprecedented”. Watch in real time as a group of global storytellers from places including Senegal, the US and NZ, turn their lenses on themselves during the pandemic. The free screening is held on multiple dates at the University of Technology Sydney.

Astral People Present Spice Trail

Musical acts Sid Sriram, Priya Ragu and Raf-Saperra with Munasib and Rakish will perform at the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday, May 28 at 7pm, as part of Astral People Present Spice Trail. The series celebrates sounds from places including Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt. Tickets start at $99.

VividPlace Food Trail

Every night from Friday, May 24 to Saturday, June 15, Underwood Street and Bulletin Place, between George Street and Pitt, will be transformed into VividPlace Food Trail. Choose your dinner and drinks from some of Australia’s top chefs, restauranteurs and bartenders. It’s free to walk through the trail.

Aurorae at Bennelong Bar

Every night of Vivid Sydney from Friday, May 24, excluding Wednesday, May 29, Aurorae at Bennelong Bar will offer guests a special snack and cocktail by the venue’s Executive Chef Peter Gilmore. Live music will set the mood from 8pm ‘til 11pm. Tickets start at $55.

Related: Mallrat, Mos Def and Humanity-Themed Film Screenings to Feature at Vivid 2024

Related: 5 Spots to See Vivid Views Without the Crowds (or Having to Pay for a $$ Dinner or Drink)

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