Vivid Sydney announces 2021 dates, new festival director

The Sydney skyline during the 2019 Vivid Sydney festival. Photo: Vivid Sydney/Demas Rusli/Facebook.


Sydney’s annual festival of light, music and ideas – Vivid Sydney – has announced its 2021 dates, just days after announcing its new festival director. 

The 2021 festival will take place from Friday, 6 August to Saturday, 28 August and will feature artistic light displays and 3D projections from both domestic and international artists, as well as an eclectic music lineup.

The August dates represent a slight departure from previous Vivid Sydney festivals, which are generally held in May and June. 

The full program for the festival – which was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic – has not been revealed, but is expected to be announced shortly. 

Previous Vivid Sydney festivals have featured a diverse array of performers including The Cure, Dirty Three, Herbie Hancock, Grace Jones, The Middle East, Pet Shop Boys and Maggie Rogers, among others.

In 2014, the Pet Shop Boys brought their Electric Tour to that year’s Vivid Sydney festival. Pictured is a scene from one of their concerts at Carriageworks. Photo: Carriageworks/supplied.

Past light installations have focused on buildings and locations such as Cadman’s Cottage, Carriageworks, Circular Quay, Customs House, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), The Rocks, the Royal Botanic Garden, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and – perhaps most famously – the Sydney Opera House, the sails of which are used as giant projection spaces during the festival.

Earlier this week, the state government’s tourism and events agency, Destination NSW, announced that it had appointed creative director and events producer Gill Minervini as the new festival director of Vivid Sydney.

Ms Minervini has previously been a creative director and producer for the City of Sydney Council, working on major civic events such as Sydney’s Lunar New Year celebrations. 

Her CV also includes similar engagements with the City of Melbourne, the Adelaide Festival, Transport for NSW and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart.

Speaking about her new appointment, Ms Minervini said: “Vivid Sydney is one of the most exciting homegrown festivals in the world and I can’t wait to be able to champion the local creative community, as well as the vibrant and diverse group of artists, music makers and brilliant minds that make Sydney the creative hub of the Asia-Pacific.”

A time lapse of stunning scenes from the 2019 Vivid Sydney festival. Video: Vivid Sydney/YouTube.

NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said: “Planning for Vivid Sydney 2021 is underway and with [Ms Minervini] at the helm, this year’s event will be a celebration of creativity like no other. 

“The Harbour City truly shines during Vivid Sydney and we’re all looking forward to being uplifted and inspired this August.”

In 2019, a record 2.4 million people attended Vivid Sydney, creating a $172 million money spinner for the local economy. 

For more information on the 2021 Vivid Sydney festival, visit