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What’s On at Vivid Sydney 2023

Can you believe that Vivid has rolled around again? This annual event illuminates the city of Sydney, and there’s always something accessible to see and do. Here are a few highlights from the VividSydney 2023 program.

Accessibility Round Up: VividSydney 2023 - text overlaid on image of Sydney Harbour Bridge and harbour lit up for Vivid festival

Wild Lights at Taronga is back

We’re particularly excited for Wild Lights at Taronga Zoo. With a strong focus on caring for Country and driving change, this year’s Wild Lights will debut a variety of new breathtaking lanterns that shine a light on some of the country’s most iconic species, such as the emu, possum, echidna, dingo, platypus, kangaroo and koala and the landscapes they call home.

This year, Wild Lights will also see the return of Cushman & Wakefield, Taronga’s Access and Inclusion partner. This partnership will help Taronga to deliver a considered Wild Lights experience for guests of all abilities.

These never-before-seen captivating light art sculptures have been created by cutting-edge Aboriginal artist Nathan Peckham of YURANA CREATIVE and is a collaboration between precinct director Nicholas Tory and his technical and creative team at Ample Projects.

Alongside the six new installations and lanterns, the ever-so-popular Ample Project Mini Beast collection will be returning. They are joined by six interactive and breathtakingly beautiful Jellyfish blooms also contributed by Ample Projects. Over 100 fireflies will also take to the skies and trees above lighting up the illuminated night trail helping guests navigate their way.

It’s going to be stunning – we hope to see you there!

Find out more on the Taronga Zoo website.

VividSydney 2023 lights up Australia’s largest museum object

Transport-loving adventurers (like Brady!) will love this VividSydney 2023 installation. Harbour Life is a 7-minute animation and sound design projection mapped onto the museum rooftop and the HMAS Vampire, Australia’s largest museum object, at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Richard Lindsay CEO and Head of Creative at Artists in Motion said, “Sydney is filled with so many great icons. To get the chance to shine a light on one of them and bring it to life is always a great thrill and honour for Artists in Motion. And when you’re allowed to do it with resonance and meaning it makes it all that more purposeful.”

“Thanks to the Maritime Museum and VividSydney, we will momentarily give the HMAS Vampire a new mission. A mission that reminds us all of the significance of our waters, the wonders that surround us, and the need to protect every aspect of it. Come May 26 when Sydney lights up all over again, the Vampire will be ready for its brand-new voyage, guiding this true Sydney story.”

Harbour Life will be shown daily from May 26-June 17 from 6pm until 11pm. The best vantage points are Pyrmont Bridge or King Street Wharf.

Find out more about accessibility at the Maritime Museum here.

Sydney Opera House: Lighting Of The Sails

The Lighting Of The Sails is always a highlight of the VividSydney line-up. We love it because there are plenty of accessible vantage points around Circular Quay to take in the amazing spectacle.

This year, 15 works by John Olsen will be projected onto the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House every night of the festival (26 May-17 June). Olsen was one of Australia’s most acclaimed and esteemed visual artists. He had a long-time fascination with Australia’s natural environment, reflected in the artworks that will be projected onto the sails, and aligning with the VividSydney 2023 theme: “Vivid Sydney, Naturally”.

Projection of John Olsen's artwork onto the Sydney Opera House sails during VividSydney 2023

We’ve rounded up some of our favourite accessible spots for viewing the Opera House around Circular Quay. For the best views, make sure you get down there early to beat the anticipated crowds. Lighting begins at 6pm.

If you’re not going to make it down in person, you can watch the global premier from the comfort of your own home when it’s streamed live on the Opera House Facebook page.

Visitors who are blind or have low vision, and their companions, are invited to listen to a live audio description of the sails lighting, with sessions on 13 and 15 June at 6pm. Registrations are essential, and (best of all) free!

Bonus tip: there are plenty more audio description videos of VividSydney installations available on their website.

VividMusic Program

VividSydney 2023 isn’t just about the sights: it’s about the sounds, too! Sydney’s music scene is thriving at the moment, and many local musicians, DJs, and producers get prime billing at accessible venues around the city.

Sydney Town Hall will host a celebration of the life of Archie Roach AC, A Bend In The River. Artists including Paul Kelly and Emma Donovan will perform musical tributes to the Australian singer, a Gunditjmara and Bundjalung elder. Sydney Town Hall is wheelchair accessible, with a lift, a level access entrance, accessible toilets, and onsite mobility parking. Find out more on their website.

Archie Roach on stage with his hand lifted, looking towards the sky

triple j radio will host a one-off free concert at Tumbalong Park, to celebrate 15 years of the station’s nation-wide Unearthed High school music competition. Previous winners and finalists – like Amo Faraji, LASTLINGS, and Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers – will join for live performances on 2 June (6-10pm). Tumbalong Park is located at the centre of the Darling Harbour precinct; though most of the surface is grass, there are paved areas for access. There are also accessible toilets nearby, and you can get an idea of whether it will be accessible for you ahead of time using the virtual 360° tour on their website.

There are over a dozen music events on the program for VividSydney 2023 – check out the full list here.

Bonus Tips For Making The Most Of VividSydney 2023

  • VividSydney has gone to great lengths to make the festival accessible and inclusive for all. They’ve designed a specific itinerary that highlights the most accessible events and displays of the program, including a gradient guide. Check out their suggested itinerary here.
  • If you’re out and about and find yourself turned around, look for one of the Information Kiosks. VividSydney volunteers are trained to provide support in accessing the festival, and they’re wonderful and friendly, too!
  • If you’re looking to avoid crowds, nights earlier in the week (Monday-Wednesday) tend to be more calm and quiet. As with everything, arriving early will help you get the lay of the land and work out how to best enjoy your evening at the festival.
  • If you’re booking tickets to an event, call Ticketek’s Accessible Line on 1300 665 915 to talk to someone about your specific access needs. That way, you can make sure you have everything you need in place.
  • Make sure your mobility parking permit is clearly visible if you’re driving to one of VividSydney’s drop-off zones. In some areas, they’ll get you access closer to the venue. If you’d rather avoid the hassle, they provide a helpful list of accessible taxi rank locations on their website.
  • Don’t try to do everything at once! VividSydney 2023 has such a big, exciting program, it’s impossible to see it all in one night. Plan multiple visits, or prioritise what you’d most like to see and do, so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Most important of all: have fun!

Amelia and Braeden at one of the accessible viewing platforms at VisitSydney, looking at the illuminated Sydney Opera House across the harbour

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