The Southern Hemisphere will light up this month when its most famous and beautiful city transforms itself into a spectacular canvas of music and light for the first ever Vivid Sydney Festival from May 26–June 14. Vivid Sydney will be the biggest international music and light festival in the Asia-Pacific region and will showcase the city as a major creative hub by celebrating the diversity of Sydney’s creative industries through a series of brilliant spectacles and the beautification of urban spaces, all designed to delight the senses.
Vivid Sydney is part of a new NSW Government arts scheme to drive tourism, attract investment and create jobs in NSW. The festival is broken down into five parts under the NSW Master Events Calendar. Other events include, Luminous, a music festival at Sydney Opera House curated by Brian Eno; Smart Light Sydney, including a free ‘Light Walk’ that will illuminate the city with stunning low energy light art installations; Fire Water, a free event featuring three nights of flame, food and spectacle in The Rocks and Creative Sydney, a series of creative industry seminars, workshops and performances geared to educate and inform.
Brian Eno will kick-off the opening night with the Smart Light Sydney Light Walk on Tuesday 26 May, showcasing beautiful and dynamic light art sculptures using innovative, smart technology. Eno’s spectacular lighting display on the Sydney Opera House sails will be a highlight of the festival, featuring dozens of local and international artists around Sydney’s iconic harbor precinct from Sydney Observatory, through the Rocks and Circular Quay to Sydney Opera House, nightly from 6pm to midnight. Installations like Janus are bound to create a buzz. Posting photos on Facebook has become a part of everyday life for today’s internet savvy generation, but Tom Barker and M. Hank Haeusler are inviting social networkers to go a step further for the Light Walk. The duo’s installation will comprise a pixel facade of a giant human face hanging above a laneway in The Rocks. People will be encouraged to submit photos of their faces via a Facebook page and the face, generated by 191 grayscale-controlled light spheres, will modify its expression to reflect the public’s mood. Inspired by the Janus, the Roman god with two faces, Barker and Haeusler’s installation is part of their ongoing research into complex and non-standard media facades.
Other program highlights include the Festival of the Stars, which will host two nights of stargazing, illustrating the need for darker skies in cities as part of the UN International Year of Astronomy 2009. See the latest in astronomy products, meet astronomers from all over Sydney, experience special 3D theatre presentations and talks, food stalls and entertainment. At dusk, grey-headed flying-foxes blacken the sky in search of food. Through a combination of light and sound, Cloud of Bats will evoke this distinctly Sydney scene, while also drawing attention to the current decline in flying-fox population. At Firewater (12–14 June), visitors can enjoy a dramatic and fiery interpretation of the burning of convict ship the Three Bees, which sank in Sydney Cove in 1814. Stunning wooden fire sculptures and lighting installations will create a warm, magical atmosphere around Campbells Cove, where chefs will rustle up flame-grilled food on outdoor barbeques. Creative Sydney will feature a provocative talks program and event series at the Museum of Contemporary Art; a conference, Creative Futures, held at Sydney Opera House on Saturday June 13, as well as the launch of Creative Catalysts–a list of Sydney’s creative pioneers. Creative Sydney will involve artists and practitioners from the full range of Sydney’s creative sectors including music, design, architecture, gaming, photography, performance, writing, radio, film, TV, media arts, advertising and visual arts. On June 12, the youngest son of world music icon Fela Kuti, Seun Kuti fronts his father’s band Egypt 80 at the Opera Theater for Luminous. Since Fela’s death 10 years ago Seun has earned himself a reputation as a great live performer and is following in his father’s footsteps. The 15-piece band is as explosive as they were under Fela, combining horns, keyboards, percussion, guitars and vocals in a sophisticated and overpowering blend. Perpetuating the super-tight sounds of Afro-beat, this revolutionary band is all funk and jazz with a Nigerian sensibility; like James Brown but grittier combining funky chopped guitars, screaming bass and ultra-rhythmic drums. Not to be missed!
Good music, food, ambience, lighting, and dancing–what more could you want from the city that knows how to party. For more information, go to: vividsydney.com. Be sure to take advantage of all the city currently has to offer by taking a guest for free* to a selection of Sydney’s best restaurants, bars, attractions, shows, events and spas. Plus you can book two nights and enjoy a 3rd Night Free* at participating Sydney Hotels like the Park Hyatt. *Go to sydney.com/senses for a full list of deals and terms and conditions. Great airline deals are also currently on offer as the price wars continue at Virgin and Qantas, as well as United Airlines and Air New Zealand.