Sydney’s iconic festival is set to light up the city in August and it promises to be the most spectacular yet.
The Sydney Opera House will become the backdrop for a digital rendition of an iconic Martu painting celebrating Australia’s indigenous culture.
The animated artwork, Yarrkalpa – Hunting Ground 2021 by Martu artists, will be accompanied by a soundtrack and represents an intimate connection with country, cataloging the seasons, traditional burning practices, cycles of regrowth, and ancestral stories.
Much of the festival is free, including Vivid Sydney‘s famous light walks, however the ticketed programme also includes thought-provoking talks and renegade musical performances.
Check out headline talks from Vivid Ideas Game Changers, underground music acts in unique venues and locations across the CBD, plus the invigorating New Horizons Program and sessions at the Vivid Ideas Exchange.
Here are the not-to-miss highlights!
Game changers at Sydney Town Hall
In an exclusive live-streamed talk, self-proclaimed ‘feminist in progress’, actor and writer Jameela Jamil will talk about Body Politics with author and political commentator, Jamila Rizvi. Revealing how her podcast and platform I Weigh is a place for imperfection and self-acceptance, Jameela will speak out about the importance of a healthy self-image and the need for greater representation of diversity on stage and screens, while tackling the conforming nature of social media.
Magda Szubanksi and Julia Baird will share notes on the role of nature, creativity and community in building resilience and resistance. Together, they will discuss the importance of taking a stand for what you believe in, how to draw on inner reserves of strength, why laughter really is the best medicine and the joy of self-acceptance.
While musicians, cooks and all-round agitators, Briggs and Nat’s What I Reckon will riff on music, mental health and mayhem, moderated by Nakkiah Lui, a proud Gamillaroi and Torres Strait Islander woman, writer, actor and director. This unlikely pair will give each other advice on how to navigate their respective industries, revealing what they have listened to and eaten along the way.
New Horizons Program
Delving into micro-movements and megatrends, the New Horizons Program taps into the forces shaping our society. Experts in psychology, science and creativity unpack everything from the Future of Drugs, Men and Mental Health, Grief and the appeal of Sects and Cults across two venues – the Vivid Ideas Exchange at University of Technology, Sydney and, in a unique festival first, NSW Parliament House.
Parliament House provides the backdrop for a behind-the-scenes look into investigative journalism with the ABC’s Caro Meldrum-Hanna and Dr Simon Longstaff AO from The Ethics Centre in Whistleblowers. The venue also hosts Walkley Award-winning cartoonist, First Dog on the Moon presenting life’s foibles and eccentricities through I Told You So, and film director Catherine Dwyer with a special screening of Brazen Hussies followed by a Q&A with distinguished panelists Elizabeth Reid AO (the world’s first advisor on women’s affairs to a head of government) and Professor Michelle Arrow.
Vivid Ideas Exchange
The popular Vivid Ideas Exchange moves to a new venue at the Great Hall – University of Technology Sydney. Hosting over 60 sessions across 19 days, the program includes a range of topics from science, technology, creative industries and entertainment. Learn from the best at these short, sharp sessions that explore the latest thinking and industry developments, including hands-on workshops.
Flipping the script on traditional performances, Vivid Music 2021 consists of more than 50 live shows held in one-of-a-kind venues across the city.
Over at Hyde Park Barracks, El Gran Mono vs The Inner West Disco Machine – a day-to-night dance party celebrating the sounds of Latin America and the Caribbean will have the dance floor throbbing with beats beamed out through two of the most incredible sound systems in the Southern Hemisphere.
Leave the kids at home as reigning underground queen Betty Grumble brings to Eveleigh Works her adults-only cabaret show Enemies of Grooviness Eat S*it, a deep dive into grief, pleasure and justice. Proceed with caution.
Shifting a gear, City Recital Hall plays host to Singular Voices: Kee’ahn with Babitha, a coming together of soulful music and lush melodies from Gugu Yalanji, Jirrbal, Zenadh Kes songwoman Kee’ahn and alt country renegade Babitha.