There is more to Vivid Sydney than light installations. With countless events happening around the harbour, it can all get a bit overwhelming. Well, take a load off guys, because we have rounded up our picks and we don’t think you will be disappointed. The best part? Most of the events are free!
Robowars Sydney 2016
Robowars is exactly as extreme as it sounds. Maybe even more extreme. Built by hand from metal, power tools and remote-controlled toy parts, small and large robots will battle it out in an epic showdown. Bots come from all over Australia to compete in this ultimate test of man and machine. General admission is basically free (gold coin donation), but if you want to settle in and don’t feel like standing, prices for children start at $10 and for adults, $20. Curious? Head here for all of the details.
What: Robowars Sydney 2016
When: Sunday 5th June, 3pm - late
Where: Cargo Hall, Overseas Passenger Terminal – Corner of Argyle and George Street, Circular Quay West, The Rocks
Cost: General admission entry with gold coin donation
Etsy Sydney Made Market
Dodge the international shipping fee that comes along with even the smallest international Etsy order (seriously, it kills us) and become better acquainted with our local sellers. Presented by Sydney Made, the Etsy Sydney Made Markets is a one-day event celebrating all things handmade. Meet the local crafters and pick up some fresh art, homewares, gifts and jewellery by some of Sydney’s best artisans, designers and local crafters.
What: Etsy Sydney Made Market
When: Saturday 4th June
Where: Pier 2/3, Hickson Road, Dawes Point
Inspired by the area’s industrial maritime architecture, the light installation Underwater Forest exists beneath the iconic wharves of Walsh Bay. The installation process was pretty impressive, taking advantage of the native Australian timber supporting the wharves. Thirty metres deep in some places, the lights illuminate the underwater forest that lies beneath the harbour. The effect is both eerie and enchanting and trust us, you will struggle to look away.
What: Underwater Forest
When: Friday 27th May – Saturday 18th June
Where: Walsh Bay
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at The Argyle
Between ooh-ing and aah-ing over the spectacle at the Museum of Contemporary art, indulge in the delights of Willy Wonka and his sweet, sweet chocolate factory. From 30th May, The Argyle will be transformed into a candy wonderland complete with giant lollies, a chocolate river and scrumdiddlyumptious cocktails to match. Not to mention an impressive line up of DJs including special guests Brooklyn & Tenzin as well as resident DJs Tass, mInx, Mike Champion and Sabio & Crazy. Tickets will be available soon and you can get yours here.
What: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at The Argyle
When: Monday 30th May – Monday 13th June, 7pm - late
Where: The Argyle – 18 Argyle Street, The Rocks
New to Vivid this year, Circular Quay’s sky rise buildings will be illuminated for the very first time. A testament to the continuing evolution of LED technology, the Dress Circle will use a 3D, touch-sensitive interactive model of the skyscrapers, Cahill Expressway and The Bridge to allow you to redesign Sydney’s famous Light Walk. Let your creativity run wild as buildings can be selected individually or in groups and sequences, allowing you to choose exactly what colours you want on each and when. Why should the artists have all of the fun?
What: Dress Circle
When: Tuesday 17th May – Saturday 18th June
Where: Circular Quay
The Night Market
One of Sydney’s favourite farmers markets is hopping aboard the Vivid lights festival this year with The Night Market taking place in contemporary multi-arts centre, Carriageworks. Curated by Mike McEnearney (of Kitchen by Mike), the food and wine event will profile over 200 of Sydney and Regional NSW’s very best producers and chefs to create dishes that will be cooked over fire and on a large scale. It’s basically your average Saturday morning, but at night and on steroids. A series of exclusive dinners called Sydney Table will also run throughout the festival hosted and tickets will be available soon so keep an eye out on their website.
What: The Night Market
When: Saturday 4th June & Saturday 18th June, 5pm – 10pm
Where: Carriageworks – 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh
Cost: Free entry
Vivid LIVE Artist Talks
Returning for its eighth consecutive year, Vivid LIVE is a two-week long celebration of contemporary sounds, performance and visual art, but with one obvious addition this year. Taking the performers off the stage and into the foyer, Vivid LIVE Artist Talks will give fans the opportunity to get up close and personal with their favourite artists and learn where they find inspiration and what really makes them tick. Kicking off with MusicNSW ‘Women in Electronic Music’: Kučka on 28 May, the talks will run throughout the first week of the festival. You can find the full line up and buy tickets here.
What: Vivid LIVE Artist Talks
When: Saturday 28th May – Saturday 4th June
Where: Various Locations
The QT & Sydney Opera House VIP Experience
The QT Sydney and Sydney Opera House have joined forces to create a handful of special experiences throughout 2016, starting with a special VIP experience. To coincide with Vivid LIVE, they are offering a one-off experience that’ll see you wining and dining in luxury. The package includes designer accommodation at QT Sydney, backstage access and tour of the Sydney Opera House before taking in the view of the Opera House sails in all of their illuminated glory while sipping on cocktails in Vivid LIVE’s Deep Purple Pool Hall. The fun doesn’t stop there, because you will also be treated to breakfast in the Gowings Bar & Grill the morning after.
What: The QT & Sydney Opera House VIP Experience
When: Friday 27th May – Saturday 11th June
Where: QT Sydney & Sydney Opera House
Cost: From $454 per night
Vivid Ideas Game-Changers Talk Series: Margaret Zhang
One of Australia’s most influential digital creatives, Margaret Zhang is known for her blog Shine By Three, sophisticated aesthetic and one-woman communications and creative agency. You may also recognise her from her 747,000-strong Instagram following. Yep, she is killin’ it alright. As part of the Vivid Ideas Game-Changers Talk Series, Margaret will share the journey of her career thus far and teach you how to kill it as well. Specifically, she will let you in on the tricks she has used (and still uses) to generate engaging content and grow an engaged community. For more info about this talk or to see who else is taking the stage, head here.
What: Vivid Ideas Game-Changers Talk Series: Margaret Zhang
When: Saturday 28th May, 3pm – 4.30pm
Where: Sydney Town Hall – 483 George Street, Sydney
Cost: From $25
The Rocks Vivid Night Markets
The Rocks Night Markets are an institution in this town and every single year, their sales go through the freaking roof as the influx of tourists and Sydneysiders alike descend on the Vivid lights festival. This year will be no different, as The Rocks special edition of Night Markets will fill your belly and empty your purse. There will be fashion, jewellery, arts, crafts and home wares all available alongside the eclectic selection of international cuisines as well as street performers and live music.
What: The Rocks Vivid Night Markets
When: Sunday 5th June – Monday 6th June
Where: Playfair Street, Jack Mundey Place and George Street, The Rocks
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Image credit: Daniel Boud