Vivid Imagination

By day the Sydney skyline appears as normal, high-rises interrupting the clouds while sitting dominantly above the waterfront. Jagged silhouettes like a pulse on a heart rate monitor. At night the police slip in and cordon streets. Busses, trains, and ferries deposit people into the hubbub of Circular Quay. Others arrive on foot and the vibe is animated, enchanted and alight with energy. This is a place for the young and the young-at-heart. Pulsing crowds move in a smooth motion from one installment to the next. Inspiration is all around.

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Everyday conformity is challenged by visual creativity. Monotonous office buildings are juxtaposed against their transformed counterparts with brightly coloured projections of musical instruments, butterflies and triangles. Images wrap the buildings like giant (and very early) Christmas presents to the viewing public. This is Vivid, Sydney’s Festival of Light. The festival is broken into three main focuses: light, music and ideas.

Vivid Festival Sydney

Vivid geometics

Vivid is an annual affair that draws more than 800,000 people over 18 days. The 2014 Festival was from May 23 to June 9. There are even Vivid snap apps allowing you to further embellish your photos. Vivid Trails lead you on a hide-and-seek game for all ages with light installations around Sydney’s metropolitan area.

Vivid Festival Sydney

Bright lights in the big city

A jaunt across the harbour to Manly courtesy of Sydney Ferries brought us a front row view and avoided queues to the opera house. Lighting displays spread across the harbour. Butterflies filled the arched wings of the Opera House. Next it morphed into a kaleidoscopic pattern of fans, then it became multi-coloured triangles. It was as if I had returned to my childhood in the nineties and I was once again looking through my View-master.

Vivid Festival Sydney

Usually monotone office buildings -not tonight

The base of the harbour Bridge became an outdoor movie. A boat became a giant grasshopper in luminous green. Lunar Park had additional embellishments of luminosity. Sculpted light installations were positioned around the city, encouraging exploration of every corner and more practically, it helped in dispersing members of the public.

Vivid Festival Sydney

Green Grasshopper

Whether you’re looking for a new selfie or something new to show the little ones, you’ve got to get to Vivid. When you pack your bag for next years’ festival, remember to bring your inner child.


Sydney’s Festival of Light: Vivid is an annual affair that draws more than 800,000 people over 18 days. The 2014 Festival ran each night after dark from May 23 to June 9.For more information, click here.

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