When Does Vivid Sydney Start and What’s Worth Seeing This Year?

When Does Vivid Sydney Start and What’s Worth Seeing This Year?
Contributor: Stephanie Nuzzo and Lauren Rouse

Sydney is a thriving hub of bars and restaurants, as well as festivals, but one of the events that excites Sydneysiders the most is Vivid, and we have some details on how it’s looking in 2024.

If you’re planning to take advantage of this stellar event, here’s everything you need to know.

When does Vivid Sydney 2024 start?

when does vivid sydney start
Vivid Sydney 2015, Media Preview at Customs House 21/5/2015. Photo Credit – James Horan/Destination NSW

VIVID 2023 is running over 23 nights this year, and it officially kicked off on Friday, May 24. When it comes to nightly events, it’s Lights On for Vivid Sydney 2024 each evening from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

When does Vivid Sydney end?

The festival is slated to run until Saturday, June 15, 2024. You’ll have a solid chunk of time to check it all out, so start planning.

Where is Vivid Sydney held?

Locations for Vivid Sydney in 2024 include Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks, State Library of New South Wales, Walsh Bay, Walsh Bay Arts Precinct, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, University of Technology Sydney, The Goods Line, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Carriageworks, and more.  

In short, loads of Sydney is being lit up right now.

If you’d like to plan your route, you can use the interactive Vivid Sydney map for a little guidance here.

What is scheduled for Vivid in 2024?

when does vivid sydney start
Image supplied

Vivid Sydney for 2024 is inspired by all things ‘Humanity’ and will explore this concept through light, music, ideas and food.

Some of the standout events this year include a 40km-long laser beam projected from Sydney Tower and stars Budjerah, Mos Def and Air headlining the Vivid Music festival.

Here are some of the other highlights in each category at Vivid Sydney 2024.

Vivid Light Show

The lights are one of the main draws of Vivid Sydney, with dozens of installations set up across the city offering a variety of light and colour-based experiences.

This year, some of the highlights are:

  • 40km stretch of rainbow lasers emanating from Sydney Tower (designed by US artist Yvette Mattern)
  • Lighting of the Sails: Echo – Display of the 2023 Archibald Prize winner, Julia Gutman, adorning the Opera House sails
  • Reg Mombassa will reimagine the classic Aussie road trip in a takeover of Customs House with Gumscape with Road and Creatures.
  • Chinese Australian artist Guan Wei’s signature iconography will transform the Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Leila Jeffres and Melvin J. Montalban collaborate on Nest, a large-scale circular projection at the Stargazer lawn in Barangaroo.
  • Horizon features Spanish artists Playmodes and offers a hypnotic full-body experience where trance-like sound and strobing lights challenge your perception of space.
  • Stateless features 4,000 solar-powered LED candles along the Barangaroo Reserve’s sandstone blocks, designed by Sinclair Park.

As always, Sydney’s skyline will be transformed by a kaleidoscope of colour, and the Royal Botanical Gardens will come alive for Lightscape.

One of the best ways to see this is the incredible Vivid Sydney Bridge Climb, which offers you a chance to soak in the views of Sydney all lit up from above. Speaking from experience, we can say this one is jaw-droppingly good. Prices start from $354.

Vivid Music

Vivid’s Music lineup is completely stacked this year with tickets on sale now for many of the major acts. Tumbalong Nights is returning to Tumbalong park, with a free program featuring established and emerging artists including: Budjerah, grentperez and Mallrat. The newly opened Machine Hall Precinct will play host to Deerhoof, Jen Cloher and No Fixed Address.

Some other headliners include Sky Ferreira (returning 10 years after her last Australian shows), Thelma Plum, Air, Underworld, Yasiin Bay, Fever Ray, Arca and Snoh Aalegra.

Vivid Ideas

Vivid Ideas’ session has brought us incredible sessions from the likes of Mike White Jennifer Coolidge, and Aaron Sorkin, so what’s in store this time?

In 2024, Vivid Ideas’ program includes a series named After the Fact, which is a nightly discussion of current affairs, or ‘Window Dressing’ which Vivid describes as “peeking into someone else’s window”.

Amy Poehler will also be attending an In Conversation Ideas event at the Sydney Opera House, with a special first look at Disney and Pixar’s upcoming Inside Out 2.

There are other unique experiences to check out like A Thousand Ways: An Encounter, which fosters connections with strangers, or Shifting Perspectives, an art installation paired with immersive dance. Golden Age Cinema will also host film screenings for the Golden Age of Humanity run.


In 2023, Vivid Sydney introduced an additional pillar: Vivid Food. In its sophomore year, this program will celebrate the diverse landscape of food in Sydney.

A Culinary Canvas by Danielle Alvarez will explore women in Australian gastronomy, Plates and Purpose offers a taste of Ukraine and 20 top chefs will exhibit at VividPlace Food Trail.

What time is the drone show at Vivid?

At Vivid 2024 there will be a drone show running at Circular Quay titled Love Is In The Air.

Per the Vivid website, the show will “have your heart beating fast, as over 700 drones form universal symbols of love in spectacular colours and formations across the night sky”.

It is slated to run on June 8, 9 and 15 from 9:10 pm.

You can also watch the drone show via live stream in Tumbalong Park.

Why is Vivid Sydney celebrated?

Per the Vivid website, the event is an “annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology”.

Artists, musicians, thinkers and culinary experts are given an opportunity to push their creative talents to extremes with this annual event.

Is Vivid Sydney free to attend?

when does vivid sydney start

Generally speaking, yes. Vivid Sydney is, for the most part, free to attend. There are, however, some ticketed events that will have entry fees if you’d like to attend them.

There’s all this and much (MUCH) more going on at Vivid Sydney this year. Make sure to head on down and check it out if you can to support our local artists and the city’s culture.

This article has been updated since its original publish date. 

Lead Image Credit: Vivid Sydney (Supplied)

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