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Destination NSW

Sydney's Vivid 2020: the biggest light festival in the Southern Hemisphere

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19 December 2019 by Emily Newton-Smith

Now in its twelfth year, Vivid Sydney is returning to shine a spotlight on the city between 22 May and 13 June 2020. A festival of light, music, and ideas, it's also an annual celebration of Sydney and its role as a creative hub in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to drawing visitors from around the world, it allows visionaries of every age to express their ideas and share their artistry on a global stage.

Awe-inspiring light displays

The large-scale light shows are a huge part of what this festival is all about, and no matter where you go in Sydney during Vivid, you're bound to see some pretty spectacular special effects. At 6pm each night, installations at some of the city's most iconic landmarks – think the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Garden and The Rocks precinct – transform the streets into a colourful wonderland. A wander through the city reveals plenty of people soaking up the atmosphere; there's a sense of magic in the air. The best part is, sustainable energy is used to power the incredible projections, sourced from regional New South Wales.

Lights across the city at Vivid Sydney
Credit: Destination NSW

Cutting-edge music

Performances from local and international acts bring another dimension to the festival, hosted at various venues around the city. If you're a music fan, you can see everything from high-energy dance music acts to live jazz, at venues as diverse as the Sydney Opera House and the heritage-listed Carriageworks at Eveleigh Rail Complex. And, new and emerging talents are showcased at X|Celerate, a collaboration between Vivid Sydney and the City of Sydney. Some of the gigs are free – so you can take in a concert and splash out on dinner afterwards.

Lights at the opera house at Vivid Sydney
Credit: Destination NSW

Knowledge and inspiration

Enrichment is an important focus for Vivid Sydney, and apart from the Vivid School initiative, which allows High School students in Years 9-12 the opportunity to meet the artists involved in the event, there are a host of talks, seminars and debates for anyone to attend, covering a range of topics and ideas. If you're interested in hearing about the future of robotics or hearing from world-famous film directors, Vivid Ideas releases a full programme of events each year for the festival.

Art Gallery lit up at Vivid Sydney
Credit: Destination NSW

Visiting Sydney and Beyond

With Vivid Sydney set to light up the city in spectacular fashion, planning a holiday to New South Wales should be top of your list. Whether you're looking for a comprehensive itinerary covering the East Coast, or shorter breaks in and around Sydney, there are lots of options for tailor-made travel down under. Our Sydney Insider itinerary offers a local's perspective of the city, with unique tours designed to help you get to know its hidden treasures. Why not pair your city break with an express train to the Hunter Valley wine region, or a tour of the breathtakingly beautiful Blue Mountains? And, if it's luxury you're after, you can add nights at three stunning lodges to your Vivid Sydney Experience, in scenic Pretty Beach, Wolgan Valley and Lord Howe Island. If you're feeling inspired, give us a call or enquire today – we'd love to help you design your perfect New South Wales holiday.

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