Now in its seventh year, Vivid Sydney is the biggest light festival in the world. In 2014 at least 90,000 people visited Sydney to snap neon selfies and strut the interactive harbour footpaths. But to focus only on the lights is to do the festival a disservice. This May 22 until June 8, returning visitors will get more than a technicolour Sydney Harbour. While we’re looking forward to local artist Spinifex transforming Customs House, and the MCA providing a canvas for Danny Rose and Rebecca Baumann’s Mechanised Colour Assemblage, we’re also in a flap about the music and talks.

Beyond the pretty lights; the Vivid Live music program is equally as dazzling. Morrissey will appear for an evening at the Sydney Opera House, as will Sufjan Stevens, who will play his much-hyped new work, and Future Classic will celebrate its 10th anniversary with Flume's only Australian show this year.

Vivid Live sneaks into some of the city’s favourite clubs, too. Oxford Art Factory, Goodgod Small Club, The Basement and Freda’s will all host various gigs and parties over the 18 nights of the festival, with rare performances from the likes of British electronic iconoclasts Mathew Herbert and Squarepusher and US jazz legend Pharaoh Sanders.

The Vivid Light program will also extend to Chatswood, Pyrmont, Central Park and The University of Sydney this year.

Jess Scully, curator of Vivid Ideas, believes the festival will encourage inspiration and creation. “It’s a really huge program this year,” she says. The Gamechangers series will feature heavyweights of the creative industries: Tyler Brûlé of Monocle, design icon Stefan Sagmeister and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner. “These guys know it’s about speaking up to your audience, not speaking down,” says Scully.

Scully is emphatic, saying, “Australian audiences have one of the most sophisticated food cultures, design cultures, fashion cultures and music cultures in the world.” Vivid has recently played a large part in bringing this culture to Sydney, and 2015 will prove no different.

Vivid runs from May 22–June 8, every night from 6pm–midnight.
See the full program at vividsydney.com