Vivid 2019: Sydney's annual glow-up brings all the tourists to the yard

Sydney is a city that needs no introduction - bars, shops, a dazzling harbour, it's basically the Beyoncé of urban holiday destinations.

Vivid is to Sydney then, what the headline slot at Coachella is to a global pop superstar: a sensory spectacular celebrating lights, music and ideas.

From Barrangaroo to The Rocks - God, I love those Aussie place names - Sydney becomes a florescent feast of colour that borders on other-worldly.

Neon ballerinas dance across Circular Quay, kids whip electric hula hoops around their waists, immersive installations simulate snowfall. It's an Alice In Wonderland-style hallucination of epic proportions.

The magnificent, six-metre tall puppet Marri Dyin (Great Woman) at Winter Camp in Barangaroo.
The magnificent, six-metre tall puppet Marri Dyin (Great Woman) at Winter Camp in Barangaroo. Photo credit: Destination NSW

What began as a showcase of light art technology in 2009 is now the largest of festival its kind in the southern hemisphere, attracting a cool 2.25 million punters last year.

Vivid's Executive Producer, Sandra Chipchase explains: "It's not just putting coloured lights up."

It certainly is not.

Rather, it's more like 3D-mapping undulating images of Australian flora onto the sails of the Sydney Opera House - just ask artist Andrew Thomas Huang, the artist entrusted with the coveted canvas for 2019.

"We don't want people to just stand and look, we want people to engage with the art," Chipchase says. 

While it's easy to find yourself stuck, mouth agape, like a deer in the brilliantly bright headlights of Vivid, there's far too much on offer to stand still for long. 

Under the Harbour uses the architecture of Customs House as a canvas.
Under the Harbour uses the architecture of Customs House as a canvas. Photo credit: Destination NSW

Create a symphony of sound in the Botanic Gardens, illuminate an 8m long train of bubbles with just your breath, even bust a move and watch it projected onto the facade of a harbor-side building.

It's like someone has popped the top off a bottle of unfiltered joy, and the throngs of tourists are thirsty.

Vivid Sydney 2019 runs from May 24 - June 15.

Newshub attended Vivid Sydney as a guest of Destination NSW.

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