Best things about Sydney: festival fever

A few months ago I started the first in a series of posts about Sydney, specifically my five favourite things about the city.  Well it’s time to tell you about another one of the city’s highlights — the festivals.

Sydney is a city of festivals.  There’s always something on and there’s always something around the corner.  We’ve kept our ears to the ground and our eyes peeled but really you have to be living under a rock to not take notice. So what counts a festival, anyway? If the word conjures up images of hotdogs, icecream cones and stripy tents, you’re close but probably thinking of a kiddy carnival.  A festival, or at least a Sydney one, usually involves trendy food being eaten, fancy drinks being quaffed and general fun being had by all. Pretty terrible, eh?

Food and wine tents at the annual Pyrmont Festival
Food and wine tents at the Pyrmont Festival in Pirrama Park, Apr ’14
Summer sounds in the Domain during Sydney Festival, Jan ’14
Lanterns at the night noodle markets, Oct ’13
Lines for the ramen burger were looong
Long lines for the ramen burger

The most recent festival to take the city by storm is Vivid. Spread over two and a half weeks in May and June, the spectacular lightshow has achieved international acclaim, not in small part due to its status as an instagrammer’s paradise. Vivid attracted over 500,000 visitors this year alone, injecting new life into the Sydney winter.



The festival is best known for large scale projections of colourful designs onto historic buildings like the customs house, the museum of contemporary art and of course the iconic Opera House. This year, there were a number of interactive light and sound installations and a series of forums for exchanging creative ideas.

The MLC dome during Vivid

The urban tree project

Bit.fall, an amazing water exhibit we saw earlier this year at Tasmania’s MONA was installed right outside my office in Martin Place while the MLC building was transformed into a 3D tree house, complete with a forest canopy, tropical weather and an appropriate number of bugs.  Vivid is a family affair, attracting hordes of both young and old and swarming the CBD. If you missed it this time around, fret not, for the next festival — Sydney’s film festival — has already begun.

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