Vivid Sydney, the annual festival of light, music, and ideas, returns this year with dazzling installations and captivating experiences across Sydney Harbour. However, fans looking to revisit the magic at Chatswood or Taronga Zoo will be disappointed.

While the iconic landmarks of the Sydney Opera House and surrounding city buildings remain centre stage, the 2024 festival program is no longer shining on the North Shore.

The Taronga Zoo website acknowledges the absence, stating: “Taronga Zoo Sydney is proud to have been a Vivid Sydney favourite since 2016 when the zoo was lit up for the first time as part of its Centenary celebrations. Since inception Taronga has welcomed over 500,000 guests through the light walk.

vivid taronga zoo
Taronga Zoo’s Vivid Light Walk

“In conjunction with celebrating Australian artistry and innovation, Vivid Sydney at Taronga offered a unique opportunity for Australian and international guests to experience Taronga Zoo at night and highlight the importance of wildlife conservation.

“In 2024, Taronga has made the decision to not present Wild Lights while we take stock of our creative offering while still furthering Taronga’s commitment to a shared future for wildlife and people.”

Taronga Zoo will no longer be participating in Vivid’s stunning Light Walk

A spokesperson for the Zoo revealed, “Taronga has several exciting new events taking place this year such as the opening of our Australian Reptile Conservation Centre that is occurring mid-year, thus the decision was made the maintain focus on these projects rather than Vivid.”

Vivid 2024: A new installation at Cockle Bay by Hika Rakuyo

“However, Taronga Zoo Sydney looks forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Destination NSW on future activations.”

Vivid Sydney 2023 welcomed a record-breaking 3.48 million attendees and generated $206.1 million in visitor expenditure, the largest in its history.

Vivid Sydney is owned, managed and produced by Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency. A Destination NSW spokesperson said, “We are confident that Vivid Sydney 2024 will be another spectacular event, showcasing the best of creativity, innovation, food and technology in NSW.

Lighting of the Sails, Echo by Julia Gutman for Vivid 2024

“Taronga Zoo has made the decision to not present Wild Lights while they take stock of their creative offering. Taronga Zoo Sydney has been a Vivid Sydney favourite since 2016 when the zoo was lit up for the first time as part of its Centenary celebrations.

“Destination NSW is constantly looking for ways to expand and evolve Vivid Sydney year on year.”

Sea, Sand and Stars by Guan Wei on The Museum of Contemporary Art for Vivid 2024

While Chatswood CBD, Westfield Chatswood and Chatswood Chase have previously participated and been transformed with Vivid installations and light sculptures, the festival will be not returning again this year – they didn’t participate in 2023 either. This means there will be no North Shore presence for the festival for the first time since 2016. We asked for Destination NSW for a comment on this decision, but we are yet to be informed about the reason behind the change.

The Greens in North Sydney last year put on a mini Vivid festival with neon bowls, a glow in the dark Paint n Sip collaboration with Pinot & Picasso, and smores around the fire. We contacted the team to see if they will be bringing it back, and they were yet to make a decision.

Customs House will be lit up with Reg Mombassa artwork for Vivid 2024

Despite the shift, Vivid Sydney promises to be worth travelling over the bridge for. This year’s theme, ‘Humanity,’ sparks reflection and invites visitors to explore the beauty of light and its transformative power. Expect a curated program featuring innovative light installations, live music, captivating projections, and thought-provoking talks and workshops.

While Chatswood and Taronga Zoo might not be glowing this year, the Vivid festival is an incredible multi-art form festival, transforming Sydney into a vibrant hub of creativity, innovation and community connection. Some teenagers we know might even call it lit.

Vivid Sydney

Dates: Friday, May 24th, 2024 to Saturday, June 15th, 2024.


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