Vivid Sydney 2016 will turn the harbour city into a sea of lights and music for the annual festival’s biggest and brightest program to date.

Celebrations start at 6pm on May 27 with the lighting of the Sydney Opera House sails, and will run for an additional five nights until June 18 in an attempt to top last year’s record visitor total of 1.7 million.

NSW Major Events Minister Stuart Ayres says this year’s opera house projection, Songlines, features the work of six Aboriginal artists and will be “a breathtaking statement to the world”.

Vivid Sydney

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Taronga Zoo and The Galeries shopping mall have all added their names to an extensive list of Sydney landmarks to be illuminated by projections and more than 80 installations.

Among the new additions are A Cathedral of Light in the gardens, a laser-dragon water-theatre experience in Darling Harbour and a Love-O-Metre along the renowned Vivid Light Walk from Circular Quay to Walsh Bay.

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Premier Mike Baird said he would gladly see millions of people flock into the city for the festival, which encourages a greater appreciation of Sydney’s architecture.

“Regular buildings of the city all of a sudden become superheroes,” he said.

“When you see them in their majesty and beauty, in a vivid display, it’s quite spectacular.”

The festival’s musical line-up includes English dance-rock band New Order and American indie-folk band Bon Iver, along with a DJ set at Carriageworks by Icelandic singer Bjork.

“Vivid is the full sensory experience because you get beautiful things to look at, wonderful things to listen to and really inspiring speakers,” Destination NSW CEO and Vivid Sydney executive producer Sandra Chipchase said.

She said quality and quantity remained paramount in the festival’s eighth year.

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“You don’t have to speak English to enjoy the light installations and I think that’s why we’ve had such incredible growth out of international markets,” she said.

Creative innovators will also come together for VividIdeas, with the Game Changers Talk Series to be headed by acclaimed director and producer Spike Jonze, House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, Australian blogger and stylist Margaret Zhang, and Orange Is the New Black’s Jenji Kohan.

Visitors are encouraged to use Vivid Sydney’s app to plan their festival itinerary.

Ticket sales to Vivid LIVE open at 9am on March 23.

AAP