5 Things That Shouldn’t Slip Off Your Vivid Radar

Words by Dougal Gorman 

As we’ve mentioned recently, this year’s Vivid LIVE music schedule is jam-packed with musicians like The Cure, FKA Twigs, and Maggie Rogers.

Mix that with the mind-bending light shows scattered across Sydney, and it is easy to miss out on other the stuff it overshadows. Never fear—I’m here to cast light on some events that may have slipped off your art/music radar.

Lighting of the Sails – Austral Flora Ballet by Andrew Thomas Huang

Do you like Australian native flowers? Bright-ass, colour-poppin’ lights? Are you tired of looking at the same bland Opera House as you commute to your bland job? Well boys and girls, are you in for a treat. Chinese-American artist Andrew Thomas Huang will transform the sails of Sydney Opera house on the 24th of May to officially open the celebrations of Vivid LIVE festival 2019. Huang’s Austral Flora Ballet is a hypnotic fusion of contemporary dance and motion capture technology that brings our botanic wonders to life like before.

What’s better than a mesmerizing light show you ask? A mesmerizing soundscape to go with it, compliments of Kelsey Lu—which we will get to later!


Right off the bat, 2019 welcomes a brand-new art program collaboration between Sydney Opera House and M+, Hong Kong’s soon-to-be opened museum of visual culture. Heavily film and video-based, M+ brings you The Hidden Pulse 脈動深藏, Vivid’s inaugural moving image program. Exploring the ability of music and performances to build community, resist authority, transform culture, shape identity, excavate history, and reclaim space, this one is not to be missed. If we were to pick one MUST SEE from the five-day program, Into a Space of Love by Wu Tsang would have to take the cake. Really, though, if you have the time, see them all. Treat yourself.

Freshflix 2019 Film Festival

You film nerds are bloody spoilt this year. Back for their seventh year, the Freshflix Film Festival organisers promise, ‘Vivid views to die for, awards and beverages a-plenty, and by golly, there will be a sensational time had by all.’ Shining the light on the best independent Australian and international short films, this year Freshflix also offers a late-night horror, thriller and creepy sci-fi night for all you sick-minded folk.

Kelsey Lu

If you haven’t heard of Kelsey Lu, you should stop reading this, make a cup of tea and listen to her latest album, Blood. If the album hasn’t taken all your breath away and you’ve made it back to this article, go by yourself a ticket here. Emerging on the scene with her atmospheric, cello and vocals, Lu is known for her dreamscape sound, which she continues to develop despite already collaborating with huge names such as Andre 3000 and Florence + The Machine.

Lonnie Holley

While we’re on the topic of unbelievably talented musicians, let me introduce Lonnie Holley. Born into a family of 27 children in racially segregated Birmingham, Alabama, Holley says he was raised by a burlesque dancer and traded for a bottle of whiskey as an infant.


With a backstory like that, you can imagine the power and emotion generated at Holley’s shows. Since the late 70s, he has dedicated his life to improvisational creativity, moving between sculpture, found art, and music born of struggle and curiosity. And what better place for him to perform than the Sydney Opera House’s intimate Utzon Room.

This isn’t one to miss, folks.

For the rest of the 2019 Vivid lineup, head here.

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