Melbourne’s Parisian inspired all-night cultural showcase White Night Festival is back for a third year boasting exciting new features and updated versions of the most popular exhibitions from its first two years.
In 2013 and 2014, crowds flocked to see stunning projections on city buildings, interesting uses of normally dead urban spaces and a host of other artistic activities including musical performances and film screenings.
Returning for the festival’s third edition, White Night’s artistic director Andrew Walsh says the free CBD wide all-night event is a counter cultural alternative to the usual idea of a drunken night out in the city.
“That is very important to us – it isn’t a night to go out and get hammered.” Mr Walsh says.
“One of the great things about White Night is that it has been a very safe night and people have commented on the fact that everyone gets along with each other.
“It’s about going out with your family and friends and with the rest of Melbourne’s humanity and just having a really good time.”
The festival takes place from 7pm to 7am on February 21st – toward the end of sobriety challenge ‘Feb Fast’ and in a social climate where alcohol fuelled violence is prevalent.
The runaway success of the festival is something Mr Walsh,the 2006 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony producer says, puts down to its ability to showcase and tap into Melbourne’s inherent flair for the arts.
“It’s a celebration of Melbourne and of its cultural landscape, which ranges from the arts through every genre of music,” he says.
“We want it to be a celebration of all things Melbourne and the creative drive of Melbourne.”
Organisers of White Night 2015 are well aware of the cultural celebration’s quick rise to popularity and important standing on Melbourne’s cultural calendar.
“If you don’t know about White Night you probably haven’t been here for a while,” he continues.
“We make sure the program works so that it’s interesting and that it provokes conversation and also to some degree it challenges.
“Melbournians love to come out and that’s the great thing about this city, people do get out and about.”
One of this year’s most anticipated new areas is ‘Sita’s Garden’ which will happen at both Birrarung Marr and floating on the adjacent section of the Yarra River.
Inspired by the mythical Indian figure ‘Sita’ it will showcase a giant floating lotus pond on the Yarra whilst re-creating a bustling Indian urban scene on land.
Mr Walsh says it is a way of paying “homage to Melbourne’s large Indian diaspora” while making use of “one of the loveliest spaces of its kind in the world.”
Along with ‘Sita’s Garden’ here are five more things not to miss at the White Night Festival:
Buskers Pitch (various artists in Bourke Street Mall)
Organisers have searched for the city’s most entertaining and interesting busker’s and placed them around Bourke Street Mall for festival goers to explore and enjoy.
Magazine in a Night (The Wheeler Centre)
If you ever wondered how magazines were put together White Night now has the answer. Over the festival’s 12 hours, audiences will get an in-depth look into how editorial decisions are made and how a publication comes together.
4 Elements (Royal Exhibition Building)
Melbourne’s grandest building and the site of the first Parliament of Australia in 1901, the Royal Exhibition Building, will have its facade transformed into a screen for virtual performers to spectacularly embody the earth’s elements onto.
Experimenta Recharge (RMIT Gallery)
The exhibition will feature works across photography, installation, electronic sculpture, sound art, 3D printing and more to garner new perspectives on how technology and cultural context changes knowledge.
Fourteen Ounces (Union Lane)
Large scale photographic light boxes that superimpose old images of landscapes onto pictures taken in the present day, for an instantaneous representation of how time has altered the land.
White Night Festival is free of charge and begins on Saturday 21st of February at 7pm and finishes at 7am on Sunday 22nd of February throughout the Melbourne CBD. Access the full program here.