The Frenchie Escapes | Photography | Design | Travel blog

The Frenchie Escapes

Your everyday escape

Vivid Sydney: 2016 edition


I hope you forgive my lateness on reporting on Vivid Sydney this year, the past months having been extremely busy! But better late than never, here are my thoughts on Vivid Sydney 2016, a selection of my photographs and a video!

A young girl at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard
A young girl at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard

Vivid Sydney 2016 smashed records

Are you ready to read this number? Here we go: 2.3 million people attended Vivid Sydney this year! That’s like if the whole population in Brisbane just took a massive plane to Sydney and went to Vivid at the same time.

No wonder why I thought this year was SO crowded - I couldn’t even go to all the places I wanted. Even on a weeknight, past bedtime. In comparison last year, Vivid Sydney attracted 1.7 million people. So that’s an increase of 35% in just one year. Let’s just sink that in…

Number madness:

  • More than 132,000 attended Vivid Music events
  • More than 54,000 attended Vivid Ideas, with 658 speakers and 183 Vivid Ideas events
  • 88,000 people downloaded the Vivid Sydney app
  • 190 Vivid Music performances were played
  • 90 light installations and projections were created by more than 150 artists from 23 different countries

And what a better way to finish this by knowing that Vivid Sydney has actually the Guinness World Record title for the Largest Interactive Lighting Display awarded to the Dress Circle installation at Circular Quay!

I don’t know about you, but I feel so happy and proud to live in Sydney when I see this.

The Opera House illuminated at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard
The Opera House illuminated at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard

My favourite places

Each year Vivid Sydney offers some amazing installations and many ways to discover them. I always love to start Vivid from the other side of the bridge, at Kirribilli to have an overview of the city and the bridge. Luna Park has also some Vivid colours usually. I recommend taking the ferry from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour to Kirribilli to enjoy the view from the water as well.

But what’s most spectacular is to walk on the Harbour Bridge and watch from high the lights on the opera house and the city. It’s perfect for camera lovers as well as you really get a nice frame of the city.

The Rocks this year had some really good installations as well. I really like the one with the luminescent bottles suspended in a tiny street called “Tectonic” - although pretty hard to photograph with so many people!

Around Circular Quay, there were some really nice lights as well but it was so crowded it was hard to appreciate and stop at each of them. The opera lights were as dazzling as usual and high in colour and stories.

Finally, the Botanical Gardens this year welcomed some of the most spectacular lights as well. The “Cathedral of Light” was definitely my and a favourite this year. It was, however, a huge struggle to get in and go through. The wait was about 45 minutes so after shooting for more than 2 hours, I just couldn’t handle the wait… I still get to walk right next to it and get a few shots. Definitely magical with the opera behind.

The Cathedral of Light at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard
The Cathedral of Light at Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard

Things to remember for Vivid Sydney 2017

I went to Vivid Sydney pretty late this year and I really didn’t expect so many people around all the time, every day of the week. Here are a few tips I’ll definitely apply as well next year:

  • Go the first night! I thought by going later it will be fine, but I heard so many times of people going the first night and not having huge crowds. The first night is also great to have a good first glance and then come back.
  • Get good shoes as you might be walking for hours and hours. There’s so much to see, you don’t want to have to go home because your feet hurts or you weren’t prepared. There’s still the possibility of doing Vivid via cruises but it’s a very different experience and not as enjoyable in my opinion.
  • If you are a photographer, get your best tripod and work on your light settings! So many photography opportunities but so many challenges. A great way to practice and get wonderful shots. Don’t miss the Canon HQ as well to print the photograph for free after!
  • Get a little map or download the app. Very useful to know where to go and what you really want to see. But I have to admit, I kind of improvise generally because I know my way around.
  • Don’t forget Vivid Sydney is more than just around Circular Quay. True, that’s the only part I usually do but you also generally have some lights in Chatswood, University of Sydney and this year was Taronga Zoo as well. I’m sure there will be more surprises next year!

So see you next year at Vivid Sydney 2017? Let me know what you thought of Vivid Sydney 2016 below! If you want to see more photographs, go see my full album here. 

Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard
Vivid Sydney 2016. Photo: Marine Raynard