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Sydney’s Vivid Festival Lights – Winter Magic

Confession – I can’t remember who first came up with the idea for Vivid Sydney, but what a stroke of genius to have a festival in winter that gets us locals out of the house and brings the tourists into the city.

It can be hard to get me out on a Saturday night (one of the joys of working crazy early hours on a weekend as a radio producer). And in winter I rarely feel like I’m missing out on life as it’s so easy to just curl up in bed early with a good book. But not when the Vivid festival is on.

Last Saturday night my friends and I got rugged up and headed out into a crisp, clear night to wander around Circular Quay, oohing and ahhing at the pretty lights. And we weren’t the only ones. The place was filled with people of all ages out and about… accents and languages from all over the world heard around us.

We started at the Opera House which wasn’t quite as much fun as it has been in previous years. It was more of a thinker than a crowd pleaser this time around, and I was disappointed by the pace. It seemed to have rather a lot of fade to nothing and keep us standing in the cold wondering if it was all over.

But that said, it did also have some spectacular moments, my favourite one being when the sails of the Opera House flapped in the breeze. Very clever and very beautiful. So two thumbs up for that one. But after a few more slow patches we decided it was time to move on.

Which we did, past the rather fun fibre optic sea grass which had us all remembering relatives in years gone past who used to have rather smaller fibre optics displays in the corner of their lounge rooms.

Then to my favourite light display of the bunch: Customs House.

I’d heard they were working on something even better than last year, but frankly didn’t think they could pull it off as that was a bar that had been raised VERY high. But sure enough, they did it.

The 3D projections had a few of the same fantastic tricks as last year, but had a new look, animated characters, also a story to follow.

There are over 50 light displays and sculptures to experience in 2012’s Vivid, and after checking out the MCA’s display, and laughing at the idea of creating a lighting display that responds to the piercing screams of children (and boy, did they scream), we were delighted by some of the smaller displays, such as one that projected a video game onto a brick wall.

Then I was thrilled by another favourite…. The massive chandelier from the La Traviata by the Harbour had found a place at Vivid. It was so good to see it sparkling away, and I found myself wishing I had a home large enough for my own crazy big chandelier in the backyard.

Of course, there’s lots more to Vivid than amazing lights. It’s a whole festival of ideas and performances and things to do and see. To check out the whole program, head to Vivid Sydney’s website.

But for those who want to enjoy the magic of the lights, they transform Sydney from 6pm to Midnight every night until the 11th of June 2012. So grab your scarf and some friends, and get out into night.

And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay, here are five of the best hotels with a view for Vivid Sydney.

Vivid Sydney chandelier 2012

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  1. Great post! You’ve got me excited about going! Can’t wait!

  2. Thanks! You’ll have a ball. Looking forward to hearing what you think after a night of lights.

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