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Darling Harbour transforms into a magic wonderland for 23 nights over Vivid Sydney.
Darling Harbour transforms into a magic wonderland for 23 nights over Vivid Sydney.

Ignatius Jones promises 'biggest and best' festival yet

IGNATIUS Jones has promised Vivid Sydney 2017 will be the "biggest and best" yet with the most spectacular combinations of art and technology ever seen - and he should know, he's the mastermind behind it.  

Vivid Sydney is Australia's major winter event combining lights, music and ideas. For 23 nights, the Sydney centre, including the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, is transformed into a hub of bright light displays, impressive installations, music and theatre performances.

If you're yet to experience it, you're missing out.

We caught up with the event's Creative Director to learn a little more about this year's festival and about the creative genius himself.

Vivid Sydney Creative Director Ignatius Jones.
Vivid Sydney Creative Director Ignatius Jones.

When asked about the inspiration behind this year's event, Mr Jones said it was all in the hands of the creators.

"The theme of Vivid eternally is creativity and innovation. One great thing about creativity and innovation is you never know what people are going to come up with - and that's how we like to keep it. The only predictable thing about it, is that it's totally unpredictable," he said.

But this year seems to be 'the year of the geek'.

"Last year we saw a lot of infinity mirrors, and the year before that it seemed to be the year of the kaleidoscopes," Mr Jones said.

"The trends and themes emerging this year are very techy and we're seeing a lot of holographic technology."

As a man who has directed Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, Mardi Gras and a host of international events, he brings to the table a resume as impressive as the 23-day annual festival itself.

So where did this creative spark come from?

"I didn't really have much choice," he said.

Vivid Sydney 2016, Opera House, Lighting The Sails, Songlines. 26/5/2016Photo Credit - James Horan/Destination NSW
The Sydney Opera House will again be a canvas for creativity. James Horan

"My father's a director, my mother's an actress and even when they retreated from the lights when they came to Australia and wanted us kids to become doctors and lawyers and have nothing to do with show biz, we still found a way back to it."

He also has his creatively-wired mind to thank.

"I think theatrically. They have this thing called 'design-thinking' these days, well I have theatrical-thinking and it's not as crazy as it sounds," Mr Jones said.

"It's actually a very disciplined way to think and it's about always knowing you need to put on a show. A lot of people thinking show biz is easy, but that's the last thing it is."

While it sounds like a juxtaposition, Mr Jones said if he wasn't in the creative industries, he'd probably be in the science field.  

"I spent most of my career in creative industries jumping about from a rock n roll performer, to the editor of a magazine, jazz, event director, but I am passionately interested in science, in particular marine biology; I don't know why," he said.  

"I strongly believe science is an art - art is all about research and so is science. I do a lot of research and let the questions answer themselves - but I have got to come up with the questions first."  

But if he was out chasing whales and studying marine wildlife, would Vivid be as incredible as it is? Perhaps, just not wit that Ignatius Jones flavour it's so famous for.  

Do yourself a favour and put Vivid Sydney on your events calendar this year.

It runs from May 26 to June 17 and getting there is a sinch. You can fly direct from the Gold Coast Airport right HERE.

Vivid Sydney 2016, Taronga Zoo. 24/5/2016Photo credt - James Horan / Destination NSW
Vivid Sydney 2016, Taronga Zoo. 24/5/2016Photo credt - James Horan / Destination NSW James Horan

DON'T MISS:

The lights: Projections and light installations will return to Chatswood, Taronga Zoo, Martin Place, the Museum of Contemporary Art and Darling Harbour.

The music: A ticket ballot has been established for US folk-rock band Fleet Foxes, headlining at the Sydney Opera House for four concerts in late-May with electronic duos Goldfrapp and Air also topping the bill.

Australian acts Dappled Cities, Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), The Avalanches, Briggs and Sampa the Great all snagged a spot on the program.

Joining them is American singer Dianne Reeves, DJ Shadow, and British singer Laura Marling.

The ideas: Headlining the Ideas program will be American contemporary artist Shepard Fairey - the man behind the HOPE poster that became an icon of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

 

Vivid Sydney 2016, Central Park, Silent Disco.Photo credt - James Horan / Destination NSW
Vivid Sydney 2016, Central Park, Silent Disco.Photo credt - James Horan / Destination NSW James Horan