Vivid Sydney returns for its fourth year without a headline curator à la Brian Eno (2009) or Lou Reed (2010) but with a raft of hot Australian talent – a big chunk of it from Melbourne – and a line-up of international stars and world exclusive performances combining to detonate the best winter festival in the Southern Hemisphere.
Vivid 2012 is three streams intersecting – Vivid LIVE, Vivid Light and Vivid Ideas – each utilising the Harbour City’s most sensational stages, both inside and outdoors: the Sydney Opera House, Customs House, Circular Quay, the reduxed Museum of Contemporary Art and the evocative convict-hewn alleyways of the Rocks.
Time Out got the lowdown on the 18-day creative feast named by The Guardian as one of the “Top Ten Ideas Festivals” on the planet.
Vivid LIVE’s 2012 line-up is arguably the best in its history. Hand selected by Festival Director Fergus Linehan, the Irishman who “gave Sydney Festival back to the people” during his tenure as director 2006–09, Vivid’s music arm delivers what Linehan calls “a series of astounding and unforgettable experiences – 10 days of joy, surprise, confrontation and beauty.”
Vivid LIVE highlights include Florence + The Machine performing with the Ceremonial Orchestra alongside more than 40 performers onstage, the group’s largest incarnation yet. Concert Hall, Fri May 25. $99. Yeah Yeah Yeahs diva Karen O will perform the Australian premiere of spectacular “psycho opera” Stop the Virgens. Opera Theatre, Wed May 30-Sun Jun 3. $79.
See Amon Tobin’s epic audiovisual spectacular, Live Beyond 3D ISAM (Concert Hall, Sat Jun 2. $59) or Melbourne’s The Temper Trap playing songs from their upcoming self-titled album, the follow-up to internationally acclaimed debut Conditions. Concert Hall, Thu May 31 & Fri Jun 1. $59.
Three of the defining creative minds of New York music, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly and Sufjan Stevens will perform together in a three-way commission between Sydney Opera House, Muziekgebouw, Eindhoven and the Barbican, London. Concert Hall, Mon May 28 & Wed May 30. $59.
In a world premiere, celebrated Danish trio Efterklang make their Australian debut performing their upcoming fourth album Piramida, with the Sydney Symphony. Opera Theatre, Sat 26 May, $59.
Shara Worden AKA My Brightest Diamond performs a full concert version of her recent third album All Things Will Unwind. Opera Theatre, Sun 27 May. $45.
Over three nights Modular label legend Stephen Pavlovic teams with club host Future Classic and the underground epicentre of Sydney nightlife, GoodGod Small Club, to programme special nights for Vivid LIVE – full line-ups announced soon.
R&B superstar Janelle Monae makes her long-awaited Australian debut in kahoots with The Archandroid Orchestra, Concert Hall, Sat 26-27 May. $59.
The grand climax will be the Australian premiere of Shut Up & Play the Hits, the documentary of LCD Soundsystem’s Madison Square Garden Farewell concert. Concert Hall, Sun Jun 3. $35.
For all of our other Vivid LIVE coverage – including interviews with Janelle Monáe and the Temper Trap – head to Time Out's Vivid Sydney breakdown.
Hugely popular across all ages and tastes, Vivid Light ignites the imagination every night of the festival from 6pm to midnight May 25-Jun 11, most distinctly with Lighting the Sails, which this year will see cutting-edge German lighting artists URBANSCREEN illuminating all 1,056,000 tiles of the Sydney Opera House.
This year’s programme features over 50 interactive and immersive light art sculptures, illuminated skyscrapers and large scale 3D mapping projections – everything from flocking birds to digital puppies – applied to venerable institutions the Museum of Contemporary Art and Customs House to set Circular Quay and the Rocks abuzz.
Alongside visionaries from Sydney and Melbourne, Vivid Light Festival Director Anthony Bastic has selected light art works from France, Poland, Hong Kong, Scotland, USA, Brazil, Singapore and New Zealand to create “a night time playground of interactive light installations for everyone to enjoy.”
The dazzling illumination of the MCA and Circular Quay acts as a fitting backdrop for the light bulb moments sparked by the Vivid Ideas programme in 2012.
This will be the biggest ever meeting of creative industries coming to Sydney. Through info sessions, discussion panels and workshops, they will collaborate and showcase new ideas via 100-plus events – all open to the public – covering electronic gaming, fashion, film, design, publishing, architecture and much more.
Vivid Ideas Festival Director Jess Scully says: “Vivid Ideas is a summit, forum and a playground for the creative industries to challenge and inspire ideas. It will connect our creators with the support networks and expert guidance that helps convert ideas into applied innovation.”
Vivid Ideas highlights include: keynote talks from Cory Doctorow, author and co-founder of world famous weblog Boing Boing; Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy; UK fashion talent, Henry Holland, from House of Holland, Jake Nickell, founder of online design portal Threadless, plus a special appearance via videolink by VICE CEO Shane Smith.
And rock’n’roll night owls won’t want to miss the exhibition celebrating 25 years of ABC music clip show rage at CarriageWorks.
Major industry events include Song Summit, X Media Lab, Mumbrella 360, CeBIT Australia and SPARC Design.
For up-to-the-minute event info, maps, podcasts and full programme details, visit Vivid Sydney.