Vivid Sydney has kicked off its 13th year with a spectacular opening night that included a powerful Welcome to Country, fireworks, beams across the harbour, drones and a very poignant Lighting of the Sails at the Sydney Opera House.
The Welcome to Country curated by Vivid Sydney’s First Nations Advisor, Rhoda Roberts AO – First Light – incorporated a call-in country performance from artists representing many First Nations across different language groups including Yothu Yindi, Tenzin Choegyal, Chantel Cofie, and African drum and dance ensemble Wontanara.
This special ceremony marked the official opening of Vivid Sydney and featured a surprise drone show by Australian Traffic Network to count down the seconds to when the night sky above Sydney’s glittering harbour, iconic landmarks and skyline were illuminated by explosions of technicolour brilliance. Simultaneously, the Sydney Opera House’s sails were illuminated to feature the artworks of the late great Australian artist John Olsen.
Australia’s largest event and the pioneer of light-based art and culture festivals in the Asia-Pacific will run for the next 23 days. The festival will feature more than 300 activations and events along with the world’s most innovative artists, talented musicians and thought leaders as part of its 2023 line-up, whose theme this year, ‘Vivid Sydney, Naturally,’ is inspired by the master of all creators, Mother Nature.
Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said Vivid Sydney was much more than a light festival and has expanded into a world class program shining a light on all cultural aspects of the city and this year we are proud to once again host world leading creative talent.
“Fourteen years ago Vivid Sydney launched for the first time. Vivid Sydney was a chance to be mesmerised by light shows, music and a cultural story about this place. This festival, now the largest in Australia, was ahead of its time. In that first year, an incredible 225,000 people came to see the show. Last year, 2.6 million people experienced Vivid Sydney,” Mr Graham said.
“I am looking forward especially to Vivid Music – seeing our venues come alive with some incredible artists – it is one of the best programs to date. This year, we add Vivid Food- a smorgasbord of tasting and dining events building on one of Sydney’s great strengths, its food and beverage culture. Above all – between the lights, the music, the ideas, the food – I hope you enjoy what is at the heart of this festival – Australia’s biggest – a chance to celebrate together as a community.”
Vivid Sydney Festival Director Gill Minervini said Vivid Sydney 2023 was the biggest program in the festival’s history and the opening night was just a taste of what’s to come over the 23 nights.
“Vivid Sydney is the original festival of light, art and culture. This year is the 13th time it has been staged and tonight’s spectacular opening is representative of a festival that has come of age and evolved to meet the needs of its audience in 2023,” Ms Minervini said.
“We are truly proud of this year’s program. We have raised the bar on the size and scale of the events and activated new parts of the city. Our line-up features more diverse talent across more industries. There are world-firsts and festival-firsts, and both free and ticketed events to make the festival accessible to everyone.
“I think tonight has shown why audiences should be prepared to be blown away by the calibre of talent this year and a program that has been inspired by the beauty and diversity of nature. You do not want to miss Vivid Sydney 2023!”
Staged across Sydney’s city centre, Vivid Sydney festival locations include Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, Walsh Bay, Barangaroo, King Street Wharf, Darling Harbour, Darling Quarter, Darling Square, The Goods Line, Central Station, the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Wynyard Tunnels, Carriageworks, Taronga Zoo and more.