Vivid Announces Massive 2023 Line-up

14 March 2023 | 12:07 pm | Mary Varvaris

From Friday, 26 May, to Saturday, 17 June, Australia’s largest festival of light, music, and ideas will take over Sydney's most spectacular venues.

(Weyes Blood, Thundercat, Jose Gonzales (pic by Peter Eriksson), Cat Power)

Vivid will return this May and June with a massive line-up suitable for Sydney’s premier contemporary music event.

From Friday, 26 May, to Saturday, 17 June, Australia’s largest festival of light, music, and ideas will take over Sydney's most spectacular venues.

Featuring over 45 artists, including 19 international artists, six Australian exclusives, three orchestral collaborations and four party collectives, Vivid will take over the acoustically enhanced Concert Hall, the vaulted Joan Sutherland Theatre, the intimate spaces of the Utzon Room and the Drama Theatre, the legendary dance floor of the Studio and, most publicly, on the iconic sails.

Speaking on the line-up, Opera House’s head of contemporary music Ben Marshall stated and highlighted some of the key events.

“You’ll remember when the music strikes you at the Sydney Opera House this year. From Cat Power exclusively reinterpreting the moment Bob Dylan went electric, Devonté Hynes going classical with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in his only Australian appearance, Jaguar Jonze’s unique one-off presentation of The Art Of Broken Pieces, to José González stripping everything back to just himself and a guitar for his exclusive residency celebrating the 20th Anniversary of his seismic album Veneer.”

He continued, “We are incredibly proud to host the Sydney debuts of Max Richter’s majestic, moving Ambient Orchestra and the mighty Ethel Cain, to present the triumphant return of Ella Mai and welcome Yaeji back for two exclusive nights, and to finally present the first Sydney Opera House headline performances from artists like Budjerah, Weyes Blood, Thundercat, Becca Hatch, Sleaford Mods, Birdz & Fred Leone and many others. 

“And, as always, we hand the building over to the brilliant local collectives who help make Sydney somewhere worth living – from House of Mince’s 12th birthday to Mad Racket, Picnic and Future Classic’s Studio parties and Low Life’s stunning curation of Scandinavian post-punk plus more, over two evenings of Posh Isolation.”

Pre-sale tickets to Vivid are available now. General admission tickets will be available from noon this Friday, 17 March. Buy your tickets here.

Concert Hall

Headlined by José González hosting an exclusive Australian performance of Veneer, celebrating the album’s 20th anniversary, the Swedish folk icon will strip everything back to a voice and a guitar. 

Vivid has scored other exclusives, too, such as Cat Power recreating Bob Dylan’s legendary 1966 Royal Albert Hall performance, where Dylan shocked the audience by going electric. Devonté Hynes, aka Blood Orange, joins Vivid with another exclusive accompanied by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for his first return to Australia in over a decade.

Max Richter, conductor Matthew Lynch and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will present his innovative new project, Ambient Orchestra, in another groundbreaking event. Ella Mai returns for a night of lush grooves and old-school soul. After her 2018 smash hit Boo’d Up made her the first woman since Beyoncé to top three R&B and hip-hop charts simultaneously, the South London singer has collaborated extensively with everyone from rap royalty Nicki Minaj, Quavo and Meek Mill to pop heavyweights Usher, John Legend and Ed Sheeran

Thundercat, also appearing at Melbourne’s RISING Festival, will lay down his scorching fusion of funk, R&B, psychedelic jazz and hip-hop for his first Australian show in five years. In another Australian exclusive, Hiatus Kaiyote will expand into new sonic territory with their biggest show. The Melbourne seven-piece will unleash their head-spinning odyssey of progressive soul at the iconic Concert Hall for just one night, where the power of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra will join them.  

Joan Sutherland Theatre

In the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Yaeji headlines in an Australian exclusive, with RISING performer Weyes Blood also appearing alongside Kimbra, Sleaford Mods (NSW exclusive), Squarepusher and Alfa Mist.

The Drama Theatre

The Drama Theatre will be hosted by RISING’s Ethel Cain, Jen Cloher, The Necks, and Martha Marlow


Budjerah will take over the Studio, as will Jaguar Jonze, with an Australian-exclusive performance of The Art of Broken Pieces

Utzon Room

Over at the Utzon Room, Vivid attendees can find Becca Hatch, Birdz & Fred Leone’s Gira, Ashli, Maina Doe, Pirra, Pania, and JACOTÉNE.