What to see at Sydney’s Vivid Festival 2023

Sydney’s beloved Vivid Festival is back for 2023 for 23 nights, from 26 May until 17 June, with The White Lotus creator Mike White, and star of the series, Jennifer Coolidge, now added to the festival’s program.

Vivid’s free light walk will be lighting up Sydney in 8 different central spots from Barangaroo, Central Station, Circular Quay, Darling Harbour, Darling Square, Darling Quarter, and The Goods Line. With an epic 57 light attractions to discover created by an array of artists from across the globe.

Light walk events include the Taronga Zoo’s Wild Lights Show and the new Lightscape in the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens. After appearances in US, UK, and Melbourne, Lightscape will run for the first time in Sydney, running until 16 July. Lightscape runs over 2.1km in the Botanic Gardens and will be opening to the public at 5:30 pm each day. 

Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened (2023) by John Olsen and Curiious © Destination NSW

What to do at Vivid Festival 2023?

In one of the biggest announcements in its 13-year history, Vivid Sydney has today that creator, writer and director of The White Lotus, Mike White, and star of the series, Jennifer Coolidge, have been added to the festival’s program for 2023. 

The two global megastars will join forces for Mike White & Jennifer Coolidge in Conversation – an exclusive event as part of Vivid Ideas – to discuss their career peaks, valleys, and much more in a fascinating, funny, and unforgettable chat with hilarious anecdotes from their decades of experience in Hollywood. 

The event will be hosted at the Aware Super Theatre, ICC Sydney, Darling Harbour, on Saturday 10 June from 7.30pm to 8.45pm and will be moderated by Benjamin Law.

Kid friendly and FREE shows at Vivid Sydney

Vivid will feature a multitude of events including kid-friendly and free shows. That includes the biggest drone show in the Southern Hemisphere to date. Written in the Stars is a detailed journey through the Solar System and will be showcased above Circular Quay.

A free performance for kids at Tumbalong Park will take place every Saturday at 5 pm to kick off the night of live music. Other free events include the Australian Museum and Vivid Ideas collaboration Connection to Country. An exhibition that explores how embracing First Nations practices is vital to solving climate change. 

Paid events are equally spectacular. From music performances – like LA-based performer Weyes Blood known for her dreamy alternative music who will perform at the Opera House. To the immersive audio journey Nocturne, by Melbourne-based artists, one step at a time like this. Here you can be guided on a star-gazing tour across The Rocks.

Read more: Four times the fun with Sydney’s Big Ticket

Yothu Yindi and Ziggy Ramo’s will perform at Tumbalong Park © Destination NSW

Who to see at Vivid Festival 2023?

Hit Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi and Soloman Islander rapper Ziggy Ramo will join together on 27 May for a night of music and dance. Australian guitar-pop duo, Scout Eastment and Olive Rush, will perform together as EGOISM at Tumbalong Park. 

Adored drag queen Trevor Ashley will host the Supper Club, a late-night cabaret lounge with a variety of live acts with performers. To include Christine Anu, Reuben Kaye, Rhys Nicholson, and Trim Draxl.

Vivid will also introduce their largest installation yet titled ‘The Last Ocean’ by American artist Jen Lewin. The piece made its debut in 2022 at Burning Man’s Black Rock City. Made up of entirely reclaimed ocean plastic, the piece mimics an Antarctic ice field and allows audiences to stand on the ice without harming it.

Carriage works Sydney
The Carriageworks Night Market will return to with over 50 restaurants and bars © Destination NSW

What else can I expect?

A new branch of the festival – Vivid Food – will host a night food market, to rooftop bars and illuminated restaurants across Sydney. In Vivid Festivals’s step forward in sustainability, there will be more water fountains installed so guests can refill bottles instead of buying bottled water. With more light installations entirely lit by green power. And with so many new installations and experiences, expect Vivid Festival 2023 to be bolder and brighter than ever.

Where to stay during Vivid Sydney?

Novotel Sydney Central

Working in partnership with Sugar Republic, Novotel Sydney Central will install a giant illuminated ball pit in the lobby for the duration of the festival. Suited to all ages, it will be filled with colourful balls surrounded by neon lights – making the perfect Instagram post.

Whether you are making a night of it with their VIVID-themed stay or if you’re popping in pre-light exploring, the Thomas St Kitchen VIVID specials are a must. With a refreshingly sweet, melon-flavoured cocktail or opt for the VIVID-inspired cheesecake, satisfy your sweet tooth before your night out on the town. 

VIVID package includes overnight accommodation in a twin room, buffet breakfast – kids eat free, parking and a welcome pack filled of glow sticks, wine and soft drinks.

Pullman Sydney Hyde Park 

Upscale your VIVID experience and book a stay at the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park for the light festival, which includes parking, breakfast and a special feed before exploring the lights. This incredible location is just steps from the CBD and all the action to check out the panoramic views from the hotel’s rooftop pool. 

VIVID package includes overnight accommodation in a twin room, buffet breakfast daily at Windows on the Park (2 adults, 2 kids), parking, VIVID beverages and selection of coloured sliders. 

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