Rest up, people. White Night Melbourne is only a matter of sleeps away! If you missed the magical mayhem last year, your second chance is here. For one night only on Saturday 22 February from 7pm until 7am, Melbourne will once again become the city that never sleeps; with every nook and cranny of the CBD boasting free art and design, music and light shows, fashion and film … and long lines at the 7/11.
Last February I decided to check out Melbourne’s first ever White Night celebration. I was very excited that this world-wide phenomenon had now reached our lovely city. And I wasn’t the only one. Locals were out in full force, the CBD literally crawling with hundreds of thousands of people wandering the streets on a perfect late summer evening, enjoying pop up installations, light shows, live music and access to buildings that are normally off limits to the public.
My friends and I cycled into the city and decided to kick off our epic night with a sunset picnic at the Myer Music Bowl featuring a stunning program by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Once our supplies had run out, we packed up and wandered along Southbank, marvelling at giant inflatable balls on the river, light displays on Princes Bridge, a peace installation along the Northbank of the Yarra and an interactive sound artwork in the subway under Flinders Street.
Next, we squeezed our way through the laneway jazz audience in Degraves Street, watched an animated light show alongside dumpsters near Melbourne Central, flopped in beanbags to listen to short stories by emerging writers at the Wheeler Centre, hugged giant inflatable light cones at the top of Hosier Lane, and stood in awe watching the buildings come to life with coloured light projections along Flinders Street.
Just after midnight, we caught a laser show on the Yarra River with a 40-foot water feature and soundtrack by Cat Empire frontman Felix Riebl. We learnt to Zumba in Federation Square under hundreds of suspended mirror balls, sat on the grass eating cupcakes next to Hamer Hall, wandered through the War Horse puppet exhibition at the Arts Centre and delighted in the art projections on the exterior of the NGV building. (Unfortunately the highly popular foam machine on display inside the gallery was too hard to get to).
In the wee small hours of the morning we called it a night and cycled home. As I reflected on the events of the evening I found myself thinking how incredible this city is. And how important the arts are to any community. Art inspires, activates and unites. White Night is a celebration of this. No matter what time you stop by.
This year you may plan to stay out all night, or you may go to bed early and head into the CBD to catch the sunrise. Either way, pounding the pavement looking for pop up art and free events is a thrilling and strangely unifying experience.
1. Consider riding your bike in; thought locking it up on the outskirtsof the CBD would be a wise idea
2. Visit the bathroom before you leave home
3. Wear comfortable shoes
4. Pack a water bottle
5. Bring a fully charged phone; you’re bound to lose sight of your party at some point – think outdoor arts fair meets football crowd leaving the stadium: times ten!
The 2014 White Night Melbourne program is a cracker, bigger, better and bursting with innovation. For more information, or to plan your very own night to remember, visit whitenightmelbourne.com.au
White Night Melbourne
Sat 22 Feb, 7am – 7pm
Melbourne CBD and surrounds