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Lights out for Vivid Sydney 2024

A spectacular success reports Destination NSW and Airbnb data reveals surge in visitors

As Vivid Sydney 2024 drew to a close, the city was left in awe of an extraordinary 23-day extravaganza of light, music, food, and ideas. This year’s festival, which saw a nearly 100 percent increase in Airbnb searches from the previous year, illuminated Sydney in ways never seen before, captivating both locals and visitors from around the globe.

A city transformed

For three magical weeks, Sydney’s iconic landmarks and cityscape were transformed into a mesmerising canvas of creativity and innovation. From the sparkling harbour to the vibrant streets, Vivid Sydney brought an unprecedented vibrancy to the city.

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Steve Cox, CEO of Destination NSW, marvelled at the festival’s impact, saying, “It was incredible to watch Sydney’s living legacy come alive as locals and visitors from across Australia and the world took part in this extraordinary event.”

Vivid Sydney 2024, Opening Night, CREDIT: Destination NSW

Unforgettable experiences

The festival’s diverse program, spanning Vivid Light, Vivid Music, Vivid Ideas, and Vivid Food, exceeded all expectations. Festival Director Gill Minervini reflected on standout moments such as Reg Mombassa’s band Dog Trumpet performing in front of the Gumscape with Road and Creatures at Customs House forecourt, and the stunning Nest installation by Leila Jeffreys and Melvin J. Montalban at the Stargazer Lawn in Barangaroo.

Vivid Music curator, Julian Ramundi, celebrated the energy and excitement of this year’s program, which included international headliners and unique experiences like the Tekno Train by Paul Mac. Meanwhile, Vivid Ideas curator Rachel Healy noted the festival’s innovative approach to communicating ideas through creative events like the Sex Work walking tour and A THOUSAND WAYS at the State Library of NSW.

A showcase of light and art

The Vivid Sydney Light Walk featured thirty stunning light installations and 3D projections over an 8km route. Highlights included the new digital artwork, Lighting of the Sails: Echo by Julia Gutman at the Sydney Opera House, and the immersive installation Connection by Angus Muir. The festival also brought back the popular Dark Spectrum: A New Journey at Wynyard Tunnels and Lightscape at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Music to remember

Vivid Music offered an array of unforgettable performances, from Deerhoof and Jen Cloher at the reimagined Machine Hall to Tumbalong Nights at Darling Harbour featuring artists like Sneaky Sound System and Budjerah. Vivid LIVE at the Sydney Opera House showcased talents like Arca, Underworld, and Snoh Alegra, curated by Ben Marshall.

Vivid Sydney 2024, CREDIT: Destination NSW

Ideas and inspiration

One of the fastest-selling events was a conversation with Amy Poehler at the Sydney Opera House, offering a sneak peek at Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out 2. Other notable events included Sex Work: A legal and social history and the Golden Age of Humanity film series, highlighting the diverse and thought-provoking nature of Vivid Ideas.

Culinary delights

Vivid Food did not disappoint, with the Vivid Chef Series featuring collaborations with Michelin-starred chefs at top Sydney restaurants. The Vivid Fire Kitchen at The Goods Line and Vivid Residence at Ace Hotel Sydney provided festival-goers with delectable dining experiences.

Community and economic impact

Airbnb, the inaugural Vivid Sydney Community Partner, reported a nearly 100 percent increase in searches for accommodations during the festival. Airbnb hosts earned a median of over $1300, providing a significant economic boost. Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb Country Manager for Australia and New Zealand, emphasised the festival’s positive economic ripple effect, benefiting local families and communities.

She said: “Airbnb is proud to partner with Vivid Sydney and support the hundreds of volunteers who make it such an enjoyable experience for the millions of visitors who come every year to this amazing festival. 

“Airbnb hosts have a long history of helping cities accommodate big events, while generating benefits for local families and communities with home sharing allowing cities the flexibility to increase their accommodation providing a sustainable way of catering for a surge in visitors.”

Vivid Sydney 2024, DarlingHarbour, CREDIT: Destination NSW

Looking ahead

Vivid Sydney 2024 has once again proven its status as the Southern Hemisphere’s leading multi-artform festival. With a vibrant mix of light, music, food, and ideas, the festival continues to attract visitors from around the world, making Sydney a hub of creativity and innovation. As the city reflects on this year’s success, anticipation is already building for what Vivid Sydney 2025 will bring.

For more information, visit www.vividsydney.com and join the conversation with @vividsydney #vividsydney.

VIVID SYDNEY 2024 FESTIVAL RECAP

Vivid Light

Thirty light installations and 3D projections completed this year’s 8km Vivid Sydney Light Walk, highlighted by the Sydney Opera House, featuring the breathtaking new digital artwork, Lighting of the Sails: Echo (2024) by multidisciplinary Australian artist and 2023 Archibald Prize Winner Julia Gutman, with creative technologists Pleasant Company.

Reg Mombassa reimagined the classic Aussie road trip on Customs House for Gumscape with Road and Creatures, and festival goers stepped into a canopy thick with countless LED ropes in the technicolour, immersive installation Connection by New Zealand artist, Angus Muir.

Dark Spectrum: A New Journey returned to the Wynyard Tunnels, the internationally acclaimed multi-sensory experience of light, colour and sound, Lightscape, returned to The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Festival goers also witnessed a 40km stretch of rainbow lasers emanating from the Sydney Tower, a universal symbol of hope by US artist Yvette Mattern titled Global Rainbow.

Vivid Music

One of the hottest festival tickets, Tekno Train by Paul Mac, became a sell-out, one-of-a-kind interactive experience that transformed a Sydney Trains ride into a moving, sensory sound and light experience, while the reimagined 100-year-old substation Machine Hall pulsated with performances from Deerhoof, Jen Cloher, CLUB4A, No Fixed Address and more.

Tumbalong Park in Darling Harbour also became the Vivid Sydney go-to for free and contemporary music right in the heart of the Light Walk for Tumbalong Nights. The 12-night line-up featured artists such as Sneaky Sound System, Forest Claudette, Teenage Jones, tiffi, Budjerah, grentperez, and more, plus DJs and kids programming on Saturday nights, all free of charge.

Vivid Sydney 2024 Dark Spectrum Wynyard CREDIT: Destination NSW

Diverse and multi-sensory experiences were on offer at Carriageworks, with an electrifying line-up including Electric Fields, Yves Tumor, Yasiin Bey and many more.

Vivid LIVE at Sydney Opera House featured Australian and international artists, including Arca, Air, Underworld, Fever Ray, Devonte Hynes, Snoh Alegra, Sky Ferreira, Thelma Plum and many more, who took to the stages of the world-famous building in a program curated by Sydney Opera House’s Head of Contemporary Music Ben Marshall. 

Vivid Ideas

One of the fastest selling events on the 2024 program, Golden Globe® and Emmy Award® winning actress and comedian Amy Poehler headlined Vivid Ideas for a special and unmissable In Conversation event at Sydney Opera House, which included a special first look at Disney and Pixar’s Inside Out 2.

Another Vivid Ideas sell out, Sex Work: A legal and social history, offered an immersive look into the sex industry of Kings Cross and Darlinghurst, while the Golden Age of Humanity showcased nine films over nine nights curated by nine great Australians including Amar Singh, Saxon Mullins, Kylie Kwong AM, Kate McClymont AM, Craig Foster AM and more.

A THOUSAND WAYS: An Encounter, Window Dressing and Shifting Perspectives offered immersive moments to connect with both strangers and ourselves, while Tony Gustavsson, head coach of the CommBank Matildas, and CommBank Matildas goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold shared an insightful conversation – Champions of Change – facilitated by Matildas alumni and now journalist Grace Gill at Sydney Town Hall.

Vivid Food

One of Vivid Food’s most hotly anticipated dining experiences, Vivid Residence, returned within Kiln restaurant at Ace Hotel Sydney with Latin America’s best female chef, Manoella ‘Manu’ Buffara,

Vivid Chef Series returned to hatted restaurants Fred’s, AALIA, The Porter House, Firedoor and The Charles Brasserie & Bar for unmissable foodie collaborations with Michelin-starred chefs including Max Coen, Ivan Brehm, Selassie Atadika, Niklas Ekstedt and Sally Abé.

Vivid Fire Kitchen was a fan favourite among festival goers, popular for its delectable offerings at its new location on The Goods Line, which included an illuminated full-scale Messina Milk Bar pop-up with a menu of gelato-infused chocolate bars, dixie cups, tailor-made milkshakes and spiders.

Our Shared Humanity presented a series of exclusive dinners at Refettorio OzHarvest with the state’s best chefs, including Christine Manfield, Darren Robertson, Mitch Orr and more, plating up their unique take on a three-course vegetarian menu, made using rescued NSW produce.

Vivid Sydney Partners

  • Kia returned as major partner for a third year, presenting two visually immersive activations on the Vivid Sydney Light Walk – EV9 “Kia Kinetic” at Circular Quay and EV5 “Kia Kaleidoscope” at Darling Harbour.
  • Australian Traffic Network (ATN)partnered with Vivid Sydney to deliver the Love is in the Air drone shows.
  • Sony Music Entertainment Australia returned for a second year with two ticketed immersive light events, Dark Spectrum: A New Journey, at the Wynyard Tunnels with Mandylights and Culture Creative, and Lightscape at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, in collaboration with Culture Creative.
  • Samsung also came onboard as a Major Partner of Vivid Sydney 2024, to present Chorus of Light, an immersive activation on the Vivid Sydney Light Walk, designed to tap into our desire for connection through the enablement of barrier-free communication, inspired by Samsung Galaxy AI technology
  • Airbnb as the inaugural Vivid Sydney Community Partner, supporting the Vivid Sydney Volunteer Program.
  • Official partner Sennheiser presented the Sennheiser Mirrorbox, an audio experience merging AI analysis, sound design and visual elements to explore the relationship between sound and human identity.
  • Estee Lauder partnered with Vivid Sydney as an Official Partner, with an activation during the festival with Beauty Sleep, integrating elements of beauty and science.
  • Supporting Partners included City of Sydney and Nova 96.9.
  • Supplier partners included Cinewav, Event Engineering, Mandylights, Technical Direction Company, Transdev and Kennards Hire.
  • Returning for the second year, the Local Business Program Partner was Experience Oz Australia.
  • Vivid Sydney program partners included Carriageworks, Disney, Museum of Contemporary Artand Sydney Opera House.
  • The Vivid Sydney 2024 Charity Partner was Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which translates to Doctors Without Borders. 
  • Vivid Sydney locations included Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, The Rocks, Barangaroo House, Golden Age Cinema, Machine Hall, University of Technology Sydney, State Library of New South Wales, North Sydney Council and Walsh Bay Arts Precinct.

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