Every year Vivid Sydney gains momentum, improves on the year before and pushes boundaries. Over just nine years Vivid has established itself as Australia's largest event of its kind.

This year the program again spans the world's leading creative minds (there will be 180 events as part of Vivid Ideas), light art and music (250 gigs spread across 23 nights).

"We have deliberately set ourselves the challenge to make each year more amazing, more inspiring, more likely to join every part of our society into that wonderful whirling world of the creative industries," says Vivid Sydney's creative director, Ignatius Jones. What is this year's overarching theme? "Vivid has no single theme, instead it has thousands," he says.

Here is a list of the highlights of this year's events in each category:

Light – open from 6pm–11pm every night
Director, editor and graphic designer Ash Bolland will light the Sydney Opera House sails alongside creative agency Spinifex.

A facade in Chatswood will be transformed into a concourse with a sunken Atlantic steampunk water world.

Urban Tree 2.0 by Ample Projects will return to Martin Place, on Harry Seidler's "Mushroom Building".

A cast of new characters will join the favourites from last year at Taronga Zoo, for Lights For The Wild, including a swarm of bees and a giant interactive shark, called PJ.

Vivid Sydney Light Walk will return to Circular Quay.

The facade of the MCA will be the setting for "a single artwork created from the constant morphing and mutation of a series of images" called Organic Vibrations.

The Royal Botanic Gardens precinct will host a number of light works including Electric Forrest and You lookin' at me?, which involves five eyeballs in the grass that follow you as you walk past.

Porteño will roast meat on an enormous fire pit in Martin Place.

Music
Avalanches will perform its album Since I Left You on the boardwalk at Sydney Opera House. The group will be supported by special guests DJ Shadow, Briggs and Sampa the Great.

Seattle's Fleet Foxes will play new material from its highly anticipated third album.This will be the only performance in Australia in 2017.

French duo Air will play its first Australian show in nine years.

Goodgod Super Club is back for four days.

Nick Murphy (Chet Faker) will play a three-night residency at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, and Laura Marling will also play a show at the venue.

Goldfrapp will play a one-night-only show at Carriageworks.

Curve Ball – a one-day festival at Carriageworks – brings together artists and musicians across two stages.

Dappled Cities will play its new album IIIII at the City Recital Hall.

Ideas

Shepard Fairey – best known for his Barack Obama HOPE poster – will share insights into crafting iconography at Sydney Town Hall. He will also create a mural live on a wall in the CBD.

Semi Permanent is back with innovators from Getty Images, Nike, Uber, Vice, Google and many more.

Vivid Ideas Exchange will cover topics such as storytelling, health innovation, big data and mixed reality.

For more information visit vividsydney.com.
Vivid Live tickets are on sale March 20 9am.