White Night Melbourne is a public extravaganza that features street performances, lighting, exhibitions, films, music, dance and interactive events in Melbourne’s streets and laneways. Locals and tourists alike are in for an unforgeable three days of sheer organised chaos! The three main locations for White Night Melbourne – Treasury Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Birrarung Marr, will host numerous installations and performances of the highest calibre. Apart from this, several of Melbourne’s major arts and culture institutions will be staying open later, too, including Melbourne Museum, the State Library of Victoria and the NGV.
A Little Something About White Night Melbourne
Ever since its inception in 2013, White Night Melbourne has been lighting up the streets of Melbourne for a 12-hour art party, year after year! This annual arts extravaganza features spectacular art projections, mind-bending installations and unexpected experiences.
White Night was originally started in Paris, France in 2002. The idea behind White Night or Nuit Blanche was to celebrate the French capital’s contemporary art scene by hosting an all-night festival. The success of White Night was heard and felt throughout the world. Eventually, Melbourne became the first Australian city to hold a White Night festival in 2013. It was an instant hit with over 300,000 people enjoying the festival’s local, national and international artistic innovation.
How Does White Night Melbourne Work?
The format of White Night Melbourne has undergone several changes over the past couple of years. In 2019, the festival changed White Night to White Night Reimagined. The festival no longer runs from 7pm to 7am over a single night. Instead, it takes place over three winter nights. Events start from 7pm every evening and finish at midnight.
White Night Melbourne 2019
As per the new format, White Night Reimagined moved from a 24-hour festival in February to three nights of arts, performances and food in three areas around Melbourne’s CBD. There were three main festival precincts last year – Treasury Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Birrarung Marr. The festival kicked off on Thursday, August 22 and ran all the way until Saturday, August 24. Star choreographer and producer David Atkins returned for his third and final stint as the artistic director of White Night.
Treasury Gardens – Treasury Gardens was given the theme of ‘Sensory Realm’. This location had a myriad of beautiful lighting, audio installations, projections and interactive artworks. The star attraction at Treasury Gardens was the Waterlight Graffiti. It featured a wall of LED lights that illuminate when they come into contact with water, thus allowing people to effectively paint in light. British artist Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods was also a huge hit at Treasury Gardens. Other ‘sensory’ works of arts included SongCloud – a structure inspired by lightning, rain, thunder, sun, snow and night skies, Cocoon – a dome lit up by animated pulses and Synapse – a brain-shaped sound and light installation.
Carlton Gardens – Carlton Gardens was the backdrop to one of the most breathtaking sights of White Night Reimagined – an imposing 10m-long lion called the Guardian, brought to life by seven puppeteers. This surreal structure was accompanied by the Swan Sisters that whispered messages as they glided by. The garden was enthralled by aerial artists, who performed on three 9m-high pyramid-shaped towers. Other breathtaking performances at Carlton Gardens were the juggling of illuminated balls, lantern-like animals around the gardens and trees that were illuminated to tell the story of the Bundjil creation.
Birrarung Marr – Championing the physical theme of White Night Reimagined, Birrarung Marr featured 42 acrobats, aerialists, singers and actors. The main attraction was the Heliosphere act, where aerial artists danced while being suspended in the sky. The other featured act was Globe, which was performed by Dutch performance company Close-Act that included 41 acrobats performing in, on and around a huge 16-metre structure. Birrarung Marr also played host to the White Night Sign, a double-sided interactive light installation that was one of the most photographed installations of the night.
White Night Melbourne 2020
Night Melbourne 2020 was slated to happen on August 20 at Carlton Gardens, Melbourne. But due to the ongoing pandemic, organisers had to pull the plug on the festival to follow social distancing rules in Melbourne. If everything goes well, we can look forward to White Night Reimagined 2021!