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By land and sea, brilliant Vivid Sydney lights up city

May 30, 2016 Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59This year’s Vivid Sydney Festival blasted off at the weekend into a sparkling kaleidoscope of lights, colour, music and creativity – and a few lucky folk got to see it all from Sydney Harbour.

The Vivid Sydney festivities will continue for the next 20 nights or so, until 18 June 2016. More than 90 light installations illuminate the city, projecting art onto Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and elsewhere.

On Friday, FantaSea Cruises captured the opening night of Vivid Sydney from the perfect viewpoint, Sydney Harbour, avoiding the inevitable crowd crush that can happen ashore. FantaSea, established in 1928, will run cruises to see the Vivid Sydney Lights until 18 June 2016, with prices starting from AUD 24.

Cathedral of Lights. Photo by Peter Needham

Part of the Riverside Marine Group of Companies, Fantasea Cruising Sydney also operates Yellow Water Taxis, Aussi Water Taxis and Sydney Water Taxis – as well as Palm Beach Ferries (a ferry service for the Northern Sydney beaches) and FantaSea Cruising Magnetic (car and passenger ferries from Townsville to Magnetic Island in Queensland).

FantaSea is backing a winner in Vivid Sydney, now in its eighth year, which has grown to become “ the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas,” as NSW Premier Mike Baird put it on Friday.

Luna Park from FantaSea vessel. Photo by Peter Needham

“Sydney becomes a spectacular canvas of light and innovation during Vivid Sydney,” Baird said.

“It is a creative festival for a global audience and last year attracted a record 1.7 million domestic and international visitors. Indigenous art will be showcased at this year’s festival with a beautiful display of Australia’s ancient Songlines to be projected onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House.”

Songlines is an animation inspired by the ancient dreaming tracks that weave across the landscape and skies, featuring the work of six renowned Indigenous artists.

Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) illuminated, taken from FantaSea vessel. Photo by Peter Needham

This year’s Vivid Sydney is set to be the city’s biggest and best yet, lighting new corners of the city including Taronga Zoo and the harbourside of the Royal Botanic Garden.

This year, more than 150 artists from 23 countries have created the light installations and projections that appear in more than eight Vivid Sydney precincts. Vivid Sydney also features in 95 Vivid Music events. More than 500 speakers are appearing at Vivid Idea talks and forums.

Vivid’s popularity is evident in the 1.7 million visitors who attended last year’s festival.

Vivid Sydney 2016. Opera House Songlines. Artist, Donny Woolagoodja

This year, major 3D projections appear on the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, and Customs House. Darling Harbour’s Laser-Dragon Water-Theatre features a world-first water-screen mounted on a 13-metre robotic arm floating high above 56 fountains. Laser-Dragon Water-Theatre show includes four video projected water-screens on which dancers will be projected moving to a music score created by The Presets.

There are 40 vertical fountains, each 20 metres high, 16 25-metre-high moving fountains, 20 15-metre-high flame jets and 10 powerful lasers. In another world first at Darling Harbour, visitors can scan and project their own face onto the water screen, through the use of Intel RealSense technology.

Vivid Sydney stretches across the city with the Vivid Light Walk, starting at the Sydney Opera House, taking in the harbourside of the Royal Botanic Gardens (which is celebrating its 200th anniversary) and following the waterfront to Walsh Bay.

New this year, Vivid Sydney has extended the Circular Quay Light walk into the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Vivid Sydney at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney lights up from 6pm to 11pm every night until Saturday 18 June 2016. Entry to the Garden of Light is via the Sydney Opera House forecourt through the Queen Elizabeth II gates of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. The gates come to life with 3D-mapped projections, guiding visitors into a wonderland of glowing trees and shimmering bushes.

Vivid Sydney 2016. Songlines. Artist, Gabriella Possum

Even the colonial sea-wall facing Farm Cove has been transformed into a glimmering stretch of Light Art.

A central feature of the Garden of Light is the Cathedral of Light. From a distance, the installation appears as an illuminating, solid shape of bright light. When visitors walk through the cathedral it becomes apparent that the light is made up of thousands of tiny globes, each in a petalled, flower setting. It’s an amazing experience.

So is the Sentiment Cocoon: an interactive installation that expresses human emotion through the medium of light.

Destination NSW chief executive and executive producer of Vivid Sydney, Sandra Chipchase, said: “Vivid Sydney has again delivered remarkable technical and artistic world-firsts as part of Vivid Light. Our biggest ever Vivid Sydney program will deliver an impressive line-up of music acts from punk rockers to global superstars, up-and-coming homegrown talent, cabaret legends and more. This matched by a diverse program of social trend disrupters, including Jenji Kohan, Spike Jonze, Beau Willimon and Margaret Zhang, who appear as part of Vivid Ideas talks and forum series. Vivid Sydney 2016 is truly a celebration of innovation and creativity.”

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency Destination NSW and runs until 18 June 2016. Visit for more information.

Written by Peter Needham

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