← Back to Blog

Vivid Sydney 2019 – Five Must-See Free Lightshow Events


Photo courtesy Tigger21st

Looking for a fun way to explore Sydney by night? Vivid Sydney is the event for you. Every year, Sydney holds it Vivid festival, a 23-day extravaganza of light, music and ideas. This year’s festival runs from the 24th May to the 15th June and promises to be bigger and better than ever. From grand-scale projections that turn the entire opera house into a colourful canvas to smaller event featuring experimental artists from around the world who use the event to showcase their artistic visions, there’s plenty to see. Come and see Sydney transform itself into the world’s largest outdoor art gallery with our guide to some of the most amazing light shows in this year’s festival.

Click here to get a personalised tour of Vivid. Departing 6:00 pm nightly during Vivid.

Photo courtesy Tigger21st

Winter Camp – Exchange Place Barangaroo (free every Thursday to Sunday evening)

Drawing its inspiration from the changing seasons, this year’s Winter Camp exhibition will feature light, sound and puppetry. The star of the show will be Marri Dyin (great woman in Eora language), a vibrant six-metre tall puppet who was the star of last year’s Vivid. This year she’ll lead a team of puppets through an immersive experience of indigenous hunting and gathering before taking her place before the campsite fire. Her presence at this year’s festival is a celebration of the spirit and strength of first nation women of the Eora.

Photo courtesy Tigger21st


Bubble Magician – Circular Quay

Remember blowing bubbles as a child? Guangzhou from China are one of this year’s special guests, and they have brought with them their amazing bubble machine. Simply blow gently into the mouthpiece, and the machine senses your breath, picking up information about the vibration, volume and frequency of each blow, and turns this data into pink bubbles that gradually drift up into the sky and float away.

Now’s your chance to re-visit those carefree days and be your own bubble magician.


Photo Courtesy Tigger21st

Circa – Botanic gardens

This year the Botanic Garden lights up with Circa, a twelve-part light sculpture made up of rings that represent nature’s natural light cycles.

Life on Earth is regulated by endogenous clocks that continuously oscillate and influence our behaviour. Circa has been designed to demonstrate how this system works.

Each ring represents one month of the year, and their movements are designed to replicate those that occur in nature. This is an inspiring display that inspires us to appreciate the role of light and nature in our lives.


Photo courtesy Tigger21st

Bug Hunt – George Street, the Rocks

Bug Hunt is a magical and interactive game of hide and seek. Join the search and take control of a pair of spectral spotlights to uncover a hidden world of creepy crawlies in the heart of The Rocks. Kids young and old can reveal an amazing and vibrant world living just beneath the surface by using a set of hand-cranked controls.

Through the art of projection mapping, artists Patrick Shirley and Daniel Thomas have created an interactive experience that draws out childhood curiosity and memories of long afternoons spent searching through backyard gardens for the mysterious creatures that might be found under a leaf or buzzing around a flowerbed. Bug|Hunt invites the audience to take part in this quest and allows them to see and share what they find.  Bug Hunt is one of the featured works on Sydney Urban Adventures’ Walk The Light tours departing at 6:00 pm nightly during Vivid.

Photo courtesy Tigger21st

Pixar: 30 Years of Art and Animation – The Rocks

We are extremely lucky to have Pixar on board at Vivid Sydney 2019. Their ’30 Years of Art and Animation’ display is a celebration of our favourite Pixar classics like Toy Story and Finding Nemo. The display will take us through an visual journey through the process of creating a Pixar film. You’ll see characters develop from simple drawings into beings with personality, and get an understanding of how design and technology come together to create a masterpiece. There’ll be a special preview of the upcoming Toy Story 4, which isn’t due to hit the cinemas for another month.

With over 70 light displays at Vivid Sydney 2019, we’ve only just scratched the surface. For more shows, don’t forget to check out what’s going on at Luna Park, Chatswood, and Taronga Zoo. Plus there’s a bunch of exciting music shows and ideas events to see. Why not check our personalised tours of Vivid? They depart nightly at 6:00pm from Circular Quay, and are a great way to see a lot of the displays, and enjoy harbour views from a secret spot away from the crowds. Click here to get the details.

Contributor Linda Paull