Vivid Sydney 2013 Lights Up Harbour City with Biggest Program Yet

Sydney Opera House sails to be designed by Australian creative innovators, The Spinifex Group

Chicago -- March 20, 2013 -- Vivid Sydney is back for its fifth year, from May 24 to June 10, with an expanded program that will transform the city at night into a colorful canvas of light, music and ideas and become a playground for the world’s creative industries.

NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner today announced the festival’s centerpiece, the world famous lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails, will be designed by Australian creative innovators, The Spinifex Group, and showcase a newly commissioned artwork that will transport audiences through a playfully projected journey celebrating Vivid Sydney in an immersive new way. 

“Now in its fifth year, Vivid Sydney is bigger and better than ever, with an expanded program across light, music and ideas and an extended footprint in new and existing precincts across Sydney from Fort Denison to Walsh Bay and now the Inner West,” said Mr Stoner.

“In 2012, Vivid Sydney attracted record crowds of more than 500,000 people, and generated global media coverage in over 150 countries and around $10 million in new money for the State.

“The event will continue to surprise and delight festival-goers this year with an outstanding program featuring leading local and international creative industries talent and magnificent light artistry that will transform the city after dark into a spectacular canvas of color and illumination.”

Owned and managed by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s major events and tourism agency, Vivid Sydney is the largest light, music and ideas festival in the Southern Hemisphere and is a ‘must see’ global event, highly anticipated by Sydneysiders and visitors alike.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said year-on-year increase in festival attendance was testament to Vivid Sydney’s success and popularity with local and international audiences, reinforcing Sydney’s position as Australia’s global tourism and major events city.

“With more than 45,000 people from interstate and overseas at last year’s event, Vivid Sydney has proven itself as a major drawcard for creative industry practitioners, visitors both young and old, and families who immerse themselves in the 18-day festival,” said Ms Chipchase.

Mr Stoner joined this year’s Vivid Sydney Festival Directors at Sydney Opera House to announce the Vivid Sydney 2013 program. Anthony Bastic and Vivid Sydney Creative Advisor, Ignatius Jones, presented the Vivid Light selections; Fergus Linehan unveiled the Vivid LIVE music line-up; and Jess Scully outlined the Vivid Ideas program.

Creative Advisor Ignatius Jones said in 2013, Vivid Sydney was now truly established as an international event for the creative industries.

“We invited the world’s creative industries to join us here in the creative capital of the Asia-Pacific and they responded in the affirmative. Over a third of the Vivid Light submissions are from overseas and form a big part of the major expansion, which is a hallmark of the 2013 program,” Mr Jones said.

"More than ever, it feels like the world is coming to play in Vivid Sydney, with the program almost tripling in size – and the creative excellence of our industries will be highlighted as they stand proudly next to the international submissions.”

In 2013, Vivid Light returns with the longest ever Light Walk along the city’s foreshore, illuminating crowd-favorites Circular Quay and the Rocks nightly from 6:00pm to midnight, and featuring more light installations from Campbell’s Cove to Walsh Bay and, for the first time, Fort Denison.

Vivid Light Festival Director, Anthony Bastic, said Vivid Light featured over 60 interactive and immersive light installations, illuminated skyscrapers and large-scale 3D mapped projections on Sydney Opera House, Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Cadman’s Cottage and Customs House.

From May 24 to June 2, Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House will welcome some of the most ambitious and innovative local and international artists for a ten-day celebration of music on the nation's most iconic stages.

Curated by Vivid LIVE Festival Director, Fergus Linehan, the 2013 program features the world premiere of Australian outfit, Empire of the Sun’s much-anticipated second album Ice On The Dune, German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk, r’n’b soul legend Bobby Womack, Underworld’s electronic king Karl Hyde, the 45-piece Heritage Orchestra performing Vangelis’ original Blade Runner score, Australian pop-rock legends, the Sunnyboys, and Sounds of the South - a folk-rock tribute to the landmark work of legendary American folklorist Alan Lomax by Megafaun, jazz collective Fight the Big Bull and Grammy Award-winning Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon.

For the first time ever, Vivid Music will take place beyond the Sydney Opera House with Terminal Projekt, a collection of international electronica musicians and DJ’s, at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on 8 and 9 June, and at the Seymour Centre New Wave: Sound, a program of 11 events presenting exploratory innovative music on June 7 and 8. More Vivid Music events will be announced at other venues soon.

The Vivid Ideas Exchange will return to level six of the MCA and host over 100 events. The Vivid Ideas program, curated by Festival Director Jess Scully, will include keynote talks from renowned comedic visual artist David Shrigley (UK), digital artist and storyteller Jonathan Harris (USA), award-winning streetwear entrepreneur Johnny Cupcakes (USA), ground-breaking biomedical animator Drew Berry (USA/Australia) and urban design guru David Sim (UK/Denmark).

“The magnificent palette of light and projection that is Vivid Sydney is the perfect backdrop for the biggest gathering of global industry leaders and emerging creative talent – where they can come together to collaborate, connect and showcase for 18 dynamic days,” said Mr Jones.

Vivid Ideas welcomes a number of new collaborations including the Australian International Design Festival, The Digital Playground by IDEA Australia, International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2013, Semi-Permanent, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Reportage Photography Festival and Head On Festival, which join SPARC International Lighting Event, Sydney Film Festival, X|Media|Lab, Mumbrella360, AMPlify and CeBIT Australia.

Vivid Sydney is one of five signature events in the NSW Events Calendar, and welcomes back partner Intel in 2013. The festival includes free and ticketed events around Circular Quay, The Rocks and Sydney Opera House and this year will also feature events and installations at the Seymour Centre and Carriageworks.

The full Vivid Sydney 2013 program is available at

The full media kit and high-res imagery, including 2013 Vivid Light renders and 2012 festival highlights, are available at


Olivia Deskoski, Destination NSW                                      Lauren Russ, Connect Communications

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