Last year, 700,000 people flooded Melbourne’s CBD for White Night, the city’s all-night festival of performances, culinary experiences and luminous art. From 7pm to 7am, Melburnians explored institutions like the NGV and wandered around closed-down streets illuminated by projections on the city’s most iconic buildings. The attendance numbers are proof of the event’s wild success – but now it’s all changing.
Now in its seventh year, White Night will significantly change its format from a one-night summer event to a three-night winter event from August 22 to 24, called White Night Reimagined. And in its most significant departure, it will no longer run all night. The event will now run from 7pm to 12am on Thursday and Friday, and until 2am on Saturday.
White Night Reimagined will also move events away from the CBD (some elements will remain at the NGV), instead focusing on inner-city parks.
Carlton Gardens, Birrarung Marr and the NGV will feature live performances, with as-yet-undetermined road closures coming into effect to allow travel between the different areas that will showcase the festival’s renowned light projections. An expanded program of food offerings will showcase Victorian produce.
White Night artistic director David Atkins will oversee White Night Reimagined this year, but will not return for the 2020 event.
White Night’s inaugural event in 2013 was attended by 300,000 people. The festival has grown to include events in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong. Going forward, regional centres will take turns each year hosting the satellite events.
Last year’s event saw the installation of colourful cocoons that responded to human touch in the Carlton Gardens, The Serpent Mother (a huge metallic reptile from US festival Burning Man), and a silent disco hosted in a full-scale model train at Birrarung Marr.
Based on the French tradition of Nuit Blanche, White Night festivals are now celebrated in over 20 cities across the world.
White Night Reimagined will run from August 22 to 24.