SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 2, 2014; Sydney Opera Hosue illuminated in geometric vibrant colour during Vivid Sydney annual festival of light, music and ideas

VIVID Sydney 2016: Bon Iver And Bjork Headline Stellar Lineup

It’s that time of year again. Sydney is braced for a bevy of bright lights and brilliant live music, as the annual Vivid Sydney Festival draws ever closer. As snap happy photographers ready their cameras, music enthusiasts our now licking their lips at the talent attracted down under, with the lineup for the festival released today. Here are just a handful of the shows that are certified “must-sees”:

Bon Iver

Justin Vernon has reemerged from his musical slumber and is set to bring Bon Iver back to Australian shores as part of the CERCLE series of performances. With only three prior Sydney shows to his name, this is a must for any music fan that can appreciate lyricism and talent in it’s rawest form. Attendees at the Sydney Opera House will be the very first in the world to see his new show premiered, and considering it was only recently that we learnt Bon Iver wasn’t actually done and dusted, news of his return is among the greatest musical announcement we’ll see this year!

Where: Concert Hall (Opera House)
Date: 27-30 May
Tickets Here


The eccentric songstress is headed back down under to showcase her newly developed Bjork Digital experience, an exhibition set to showcase: “five unique spaces that will premiere a new virtual reality project from the musician, alongside other collaborations with some of the finest filmmakers and programmers in the world.”

Bjork has recently dabbled with VR technologies, and her work looks set to culminate in Sydney as she tantalises our senses from all angles, an experience that is set to add yet another layer to the mystique of her performance, which will no doubt see the Australian live debut of music from her powerful, emotionally intense 2015 album Vulnicura.

Where: Carriageworks
Date: June 3
Tickets: Here


When Justin Vernon labels you “the best band I’ve ever heard” you can be certain that you are in for an aural treat when Polica take to the stage to unleash their unique fusion of electronic sounds and indie pop. Returning to Australia after a three year hiatus, we can only imagine that Polica is ready to take Sydney by storm all over again, performing from their gorgeous new album United Crushers, which came out earlier this month and has garnered stellar reviews.

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Date: June 3
Tickets: Here

New Order

The presence of the synth-pop legends at Vivid is sure to set tongues-wagging, with the group set to celebrate 35 years with a “live retrospective” performance that will undoubtedly satisfy even the most hardcore fans. Rejoined by synth wizard Gillian Gilbert, New Order will introduce a brand new generation to the wonders of their discography.

Where: Concert Hall (Opera House)
Date: 1 June, 5 June
Tickets: Here

Oneohtrix Point Never

Described by organisers a “rock-inspired rampage set to stun audiences with cutting synthesizers and decimating bass,” we can breathe easy knowing that we probably won’t be able to hear properly for the rest of the night after catching Oneohtrix Point Never’s Vivid Live performance. Fans can of course expect to hear much of OPN’s stellar 2015 release, Garden of Delete (his seventh album to date), a Nine Inch Nails-inspired industrial, experimental, eclectic electronic album that featured on many end of year best-of lists.

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Date: May 29
Tickets: Here


Performing an Australian exclusive premiere as part of Vivid, the astounding talents of Anohni, leader of Antony and the Johnsons, in the form of what is sure to be a stunning live staging of her fifth studio album Hopelessness. Anohni was the first performer announced for this year’s festival, and will no doubt provide a unique and soulful experience, as the self described ‘electronic record with sharp teeth’ takes its rightful place on centre stage.

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Dates: 27 May, 28 May, 30 May, 31 May
Tickets: Here

These are of course just some of the headliners we can expect to see as part of the festivities, with a range of other masterful talents on display:


And now for something a little different: off the back of their incredible 2015 release New Bermuda, and completely unlike anything else on this bill, heavy-hitting Deafheaven are set to bring their thunderous walls of pristinely complex noise to the Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre. While still a relatively new act in the scene, they have more than made their mark with their three studio records, and have quickly become one of the most important heavy bands in the world. This will be a simply breathtaking show – and for those who aren’t in Sydney, you can catch them on tour across the country.

Where: Joan Sutherland Theatre (Opera House)
Date: 2 Jun
Tickets: Here

Hiatus Kaiyote with Sampa The Great

One of the absolute highlights of Australian music circulating today, two-time grammy nominees Hiatus Kaiyote will be bringing their immense talent and impeccably well composed jazz-infused tunes to the Opera House’s main stage. In tow will be Sampa The Great, who, in a nutshell, is Australia’s Lauryn Hill (except hopefully she’ll be a little more frequent with her music output and less so with her tax fraud.) Sampa has toured with Hiatus Kaiyote before, and even remixed a full series of their tracks last year. Arguably two of the best Australian acts around today, this is not to be missed.

Where: Concert Hall (Opera House)
Date: 31 May
Tickets: Here

This is only the beginning of the Vivid announcements, with a myriad venues including Oxford Art Factory, Newtown Social Club, Freda’s, The Lord Gladstone, The Basemen, The Argyle and plenty more set to hold events throughout the festival. Needless to say, we probably recommend taking a couple days to relax and get some sleep before it all kicks off, because there’s something happening every single night.

While the light show and musical performances attract much of the attention and allure of the festival, let’s not forget some of the brilliant minds that are heading our way to deliver “Game Changer” talks. Director extraordinaire Spike Jonze, the genius behind Being John Malkovich, Her, and Adapation will be joined by none other than Beau Willimon (of House of Cards fame) and Jenji Kohan (Orange is the New Black) to inspire and motivate attendees as they bestow their creative wisdom upon us, sharing their insightful gems and anecdotes as they recount their storied careers.

Indigenous Australia is also set to be highly recognised by organisers, with the Sydney Opera House set to be lit up with the works of six prominent Indigenous artists, in a work entitled Songlines.

With 2015 numbers soaring to heights of almost 2 million attendees, we can be sure that this stellar lineup will see 2016 break new ground and further establish Vivid as one of the world’s most stellar culminations of culture and art.

Head to Vivid’s official website for more

Image: Vivid