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DESTINATION: Vivid Sydney

By JOHN ROZENTALS

TRAVEL: 07 JUNE 2016

Vivid Sydney ... the little festival that grew into the world's largest explosion of light, music and ideas

It’s certainly the festival that grew and it’s hard to believe that it has only been around since 2009, when Brian Eno set the Sydney Opera House sails alight as curator of the first Vivid Sydney.

Then it was mainly a giant light show centred on a lighting display illuminating those sails, with some music thrown in.

The late Lou Reed, who curated the 2010 event in conjunction with his wife and performance artist Laurie Anderson, would be chuffed how the event has grown in its spread and stature to the point where it attracted some 1.7 million visitors last year and promises to get even more this year.

I was fortunate enough to be a guest the night before last at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, at Circular Quay immediately opposite the Opera House, for the turning on of that light display and what a show it was, focusing on the work of six prominent indigenous artists — Karla Dickens, Djon Mundine OAM, Reko Rennie, Gabriella Possum Nungurrayi, Donny Woolagoodja and the late Gulumbu Yunipingu.

The countdown to that turning on will obviously never rival that to New Year in the Harbour City but I reckon it’s going achieve a clear second place.

Not that the lightshow is confined to Opera House. In the immediate area, there’s also the Vivid Light Walk, which stretches along the harbour foreshore from the Royal Botanic Gardens, via Circular Quay, under the southern end of the Harbour Bridge, around to Walsh Bay, and features a diversion to the installations of Martin Place.

The Customs House is a perennial favourite, especially with children, and the inaugural Cathedral of Light in the Botanic Gardens is certainly destined to become one.

Other precincts around the city are Darling Harbour and Cockle Bay, and Central Park, the revitalised area based on the old, heritage-listed Carlton and United Brewery on the fringe of Chippendale.

Outside the CBD, Vivid has spread its colourful tentacles to Taronga Park and Chatswood.

Yes, indeed, Vivid has grown into the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, and not stretches until 18 June. Visit http://www.vividsydney.com/ for more information and the discovery of thousands of adventures.

First Fleet Park ... I Love You.

Taronga Park ... Pygmy Tarsiers.

Above and below: Songlines ... the centrepiece of Vivid Sydney.

Royal Botanic Gardens.

Cathedral of Light ... Royal Botanic Gardens.

Central Park ... Silent Disco.

Central Park.

Sydney Harbour lights.

Taronga Park ... Echidna.

Exoskeletons ... Chatswood.

Gondwana Light Lab ... Chatswood.

Sydney Customs House ... Hidden Stories.

Darling Harbour ... Laser Dragon Water Feature.