Vivid Sydney Transforms the Harbour City into a Canvas of Light, Music and Ideas

Fourth Annual Vivid Sydney Festival ‘Lights the Sails’ of the Sydney Opera House 

NSW Deputy Premier Andrew Stoner has officially opened the fourth annual Vivid Sydney Festival by ‘Lighting the Sails’ of the Sydney Opera House, unveiling a stunning visual feast of colour, movement, and world-­‐class digital artistry to the delight of tens of thousands of enthralled viewers lining the harbour foreshore.

The Sydney Opera House sails were awash with 3D projections by multi-­‐award winning German design team URBANSCREEN, featuring giant dancers lying and moving across the sails, tiles turning into an enormous hand, and a compelling soundtrack amplified from various points around Circular Quay. Vivid Sydney, which will run from 25 May to 11 June, is developed by Destination NSW on behalf of the NSW Government.

Mr Stoner said Vivid Sydney reinforced Sydney’s position as Australia’s global city and as a creative hub of the Asia-­‐Pacific.

“Vivid Sydney is the largest celebration of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere,” Mr Stoner said.

“Now in its fourth year, Vivid Sydney has been embraced by locals and also attracts growing numbers of interstate and international visitors.

“Vivid was recently declared one of the top ten ideas festivals in the world by the influential Guardian Newspaper.

“With over 60 interactive and immersive light installations – 20 more than last year – Vivid Sydney transforms the Sydney Opera House, Customs House, Circular Quay, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks, and, for the first time, Walsh Bay,” Mr Stoner said.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) will showcase a world-­‐first collaboration featuring global music icon (Black Eyed Peas), who will visit Vivid Sydney as Director of Creative Innovation for Vivid Sydney partner Intel. In a unique installation, members of the public literally ‘play the building’ via a purpose-­‐built interface that interacts with’s music and the projections of renowned Sydney artist Justene Williams.

This year lighting displays are extended to the arts precinct of Walsh Bay, with interactive light artworks in celebration of the area’s thriving artistic community and a new collaboration with the Sydney Dance Company.

Lighting across the spectacular foreshore CBD skyline has been significantly enhanced this year with 3D digital mapping projections across iconic buildings expressing visual impressions of the six seasons of the Indigenous calendar, heralded by the blooming of certain flora and distinct patterns of animal behaviour.

“In 2011 Vivid Sydney attracted more than 400,000 spectators and we anticipate half a million people will take part this year, which will see around $10 million in new money injected into the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.

“Vivid LIVE features more than 25 music events by leading international and national artists and two World Premiere performances at the Sydney Opera House.

“Leading creatives and thought leaders from across the world will converge on Sydney in over 100 creative industry business events as part of Vivid Ideas, with more than twice the number of industry events held this year compared to 2011.

“Vivid Sydney is where technology, commerce and art intersect for real economic outcomes. With 37 per cent of Australia’s creative industry located in NSW, supporting creative industries through events like Vivid Sydney is key to the NSW Government’s strategy to rebuild the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.

Opening Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House, Vivid Sydney’s music program, the UK’s Florence and the Machine performed with the Ceremonial Orchestra featuring over 40 performers on stage.

Highlights of Vivid LIVE program include Karen O in ‘STOP THE VIRGENS’, The Temper Trap, Sufjan Stevens, Janelle Monae & The Archandroid Orchestra, and Imogen Heap.

Vivid Ideas will offer a robust program that consists of creative industry and public events focusing on ideas, innovation, discussion, and collaboration. Highlights of the program include keynote talks from Cory Doctorow, author and co-­‐founder of world famous weblog Boing Boing, Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy, UK fashion talent, Henry Holland from House of Holland, Jake Nickell, founder of Threadless, and an appearance by Shane Smith, VICE founder and CEO.

Creative industry business events during the festival include X Media Lab, Song Summit, Mumbrella 360, CeBIT Australia, and SPARC Design.

Other exciting additions to the program are a partnership with the Sydney Film Festival, the Etsy Success Sydney microbusiness conference, ABC Rage 25th anniversary exhibition at Carriageworks, and a direction-­‐setting think tank with industry leaders on building the creative economy in NSW.

Destination NSW CEO Sandra Chipchase said, “Vivid Sydney is a ground-­‐breaking event model that builds the creative community of Sydney, as well as generating visitation from our key tourism markets. It is Sydney and Australia’s major festival in winter, and is one of five signature events on the NSW events calendar.

“I thank partners Intel, ABS Census and LED Lenser and our many other supporters, and encourage everyone to come and experience our global event city in a different light during Vivid Sydney,” Ms Chipchase said.

The Vivid Sydney program is available at

Stills, video and time-­‐lapse are available and will be regularly updated at­‐vivid-­‐sydney-­‐festival-­‐2012/ with all final broadcast quality video also at this URL from midnight (May 25) Sydney time. 

Lauren Russ at 773.972.7060 or


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