Everything you need to know about Vivid Sydney 2021

After a year off, Vivid Sydney 2021 will transform the Harbour City from 6 August to 28 August.

Expect a kaleidoscope of new light installations, celebrity talks and eclectic live music and shows.

“There is no doubt this much-loved festival will provide everyone with a multitude of reasons to experience Sydney after dark,” NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney, Stuart Ayres said.

vivid sydney 2021
The Opera House sails all lit up © Srikant Sahoo on Unsplash

Vivid Sydney 2021 will ignite five locations across the city. Light displays at Circular Quay, The Rocks, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour and Luna Park will wow visitors and locals alike.

It’s expected to bring big crowds and big bucks to Sydney. In 2019 the Sydney light festival attracted 2.4 million attendees and delivered $172 million in visitor expenditure.

“Vivid Sydney is all about pushing boundaries and transporting festival-goers to a playground of the unexpected,” Festival Director Gill Minervini said.

What’s new about the light installations?

In a festival first, the waters of Cockle Bay will come alive with a 100-metre floating ‘Light Walk’. This will be part of a large-scale artwork ‘Ephemeral’ which invites visitors to walk under more than 200 giant bubbles suspended eight metres in the air.

The Ephemeral, a bubble installation at Vivid Sydney 2021
The floating Light Walk is part of the larger scale Ephemeral artwork © Destination NSW

The Sails of the Sydney Opera House will project our rich Indigenous culture. It will light up with a digital rendition of Yarrkalpa (Hunting Ground), a stunning painting created by the Martu Artists of the Pilbara region.

Vivid Sydney 2021 will also welcome ‘Holi’, its biggest-ever interactive projection. The colourful piece is based on the Indian Festival of Colours. Visitors will be able to leave their own mark on the wall with special effects. You’ll find ‘Holi’ on Hickson Road Wall near the Park Hyatt.

Holi, a rainbow coloured light display at Vivid Sydney 2021
Holi will be Vivid’s biggest ever interactive projection © Destination NSW

Who can we expect to see at Vivid Sydney 2021?

Vivid Sydney 2021 will start conversations about diversity, mental health and identity. You’ll get to have these conversations with some pretty well-known guests.

celebrities to appear at  Vivid Sydney 2021
L-R: Magda Szubanski (image supplied), Jameela Jamil (image supplied) and Nat’s What I Reckon (@nats_what_i_reckon)

Expect to see The Good Place actor and body positivity advocate, Jameela Jamil. She will appear in a live-streamed talk with Jamila Rizvi about what it means to be a “feminist in training”.

Pop in to visit much-loved comedian and LGBTQIA+ advocate Magda Szubanski. She’ll compare notes with award winning author Julia Baird about resilience and healing.

Plus Aussie hip hop pioneer Briggs and Youtube cooking sensation Nat’s What I Reckon will talk about the role of music in supporting mental health.

What else is there?

You can expect lots of live music at Vivid Sydney 2021. ARIA award-winning duo Flight Facilities will bring feel-good beats to the Northern Broadwalk.

Hyde Park Barracks will be the atmospheric backdrop for El Gran Mono vs The Inner West Disco Machine. Dance the night away at the Latin American inspired dance party.

Reigning underground queen Betty Grumble will perform her adults-only cabaret show at Blacksmiths Bay, Eveleigh. Expect the funny and the filthy.