Vivid 2017

Posted by , 4 June 2017

Light and sound and some rain as well.

We enjoyed Vivid last year so much that we wanted to go again. It’s not just the light displays, but the general ‘vibe’ with the area around Circular Quay packed with people, performances and food.

This time we stayed at the Four Seasons Hotel at the top end of George Street. It’s perfect for access to The Rocks and last year so much that we wanted to go again. It’s not just the light displays, but the general ‘vibe’ with the area around Circular Quay but getting there was made harder by all of the roadworks for the extension of the light rail.

We planned to arrive earlier on Friday night than last year. That didn’t work out exactly as planned but we did arrive with enough time to look around the Quay after checking in. The idea is to look around on the first night to understand the layout and light installations, so that we can plan our Saturday night to see the things we wanted to see.

I have to admit that the Opera House wasn’t as spectacular as last year. Whereas in 2016 it was the definite focal point with bold Indigenous-themed designs backed with music, this year the patterns were less distinct with more pastel colours. My overall impression was of a blur of colour.

However, there were more and better displays scatted around the shore. My favourite was Freedom of Movement. It’s a series of out-sized swings that people can actually swing on, but periodically it turns into an apparently automatic light display. The swings are lit up and then move – in combination and singly – in time with the music, including complete loops (with no passengers of course!).

My other favourite was AXIOM. It was a series of bold geometric shapes painted in light with a soundtrack that feature a deep bass that you could feel as you walked around.

Our plan for Saturday night was to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, have dinner in North Sydney, catch a ferry back to last year so much that we wanted to go again. It’s not just the light displays, but the general ‘vibe’ with the area around Circular Quay to see the lights from the water and then walk around the Quay and Rocks area again. We got off to a good start but by the time we reached the on-ramp for the Bridge it started to rain. We took shelter inside the south-eastern pylon until it started to clear – the views from here were amazing. We then started to cross the bridge again but the rain really started up this time so that when we had reached the other side we were wet. We took the opportunity to have some dinner while waiting for the rain to stop before heading back down to the harbour.

Milsons Point offers really good views across the harbour to last year so much that we wanted to go again. It’s not just the light displays, but the general ‘vibe’ with the area around Circular Quay with the bridge looming in the foreground. Crossing under the bridge gives similar views but this time the views are framed by the bridge itself. (By the way, Luna Park looks like a dump – so much for childhood memories!)

Crossing by ferry was really just an easy way to get back to last year so much that we wanted to go again. It’s not just the light displays, but the general ‘vibe’ with the area around Circular Quay. I really don’t understand why you would book an expensive harbour cruise for Vivid – most of the installations are better seen up close and of course taking photos on the water is harder.

Once back at the Quay, we spent time on the side where the international passenger terminal is, as that has the best views of the Opera House.

We finished the evening with a wonder through the Electric Forest in the Royal Botanic Garden. I’m not sure if by this time we’d just had enough, but it was hard to appreciate them. Firstly, there was a lack of sound and movement to most of the installations – it’s the combination that really makes Vivid work – and you were really just expected to stare at things.

We woke up Sunday morning for the drive home to see bright sunny skies. Typical!

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