For 12 hours, from 7pm until 7am in the morning on 21-22 February, White Night will once again take over Melbourne city centre’s streets with a celebration of music, art and good food in the third such spectacular outing.
We’ve teed up a guide to the best of White Night Melbourne, hour-by-hour, so you can make the most of this annual celebration of everything that makes ours the best city in Australia.
Even better—trams, trains and buses will be running all through White Night so you can get in and get home easy peasy.
Kick off your evening down by the banks of the Yarra as Birrarung Marr is transformed into Little India for White Night Melbourne, with Sita’s Garden. Grab some Indian street food for dinner and settle down to watch stunning Bollywood dancers, directed by Andrew Walsh, on a floating lotus leaf stage. While down there, also check out metal fire-breathing dragon sculpture, The Crucible.
Head over St Kilda Road to the NGV to check out Keyframes, an enormous light, sound and sculptural installation by French art group, Groupe LAPS, as illuminated plastic figures seemingly caught in constant motion, dance in front of Victoria’s treasured gallery. Also head out back to the NGV’s gardens to check out mind-bending fractal light display, Infinite Curve, designed by Kit Webster and Dave Leigh. Always a highlight of the night, the great hall will be dominated by Hicham Berrada’s Présage, which will project onto the vast walls a crazy scientific brew mixed up in his beaker in a grand act of chemical theatre.
Next door, Arts Centre Melbourne will be haunted for the duration of the night, with both the Phantoms of the Theatre Ghost Tours and Ghostly Machines. The former takes White Night audiences deep into the secret heart of the building, where fragments of performances past shimmer as deadly tales of disaster are relayed. Ghostly Machines sees the very nuts and bolts of the grand building’s beating heart come alive and create their own aural, visual and kinetic encounter.
Pop into ACMI at Fed Square, to check out some cinematic gold this White Night. The BFI has loaned a copy of the 1903, 12-minute long Alice in Wonderland, directed by Percy Stow and Cecil M. Hepworth. Wonderland is a common theme this White Night. Lightlounge in the ACMI light well will feature DJ sets with multiple mash-up nods to the This White Duke and the upcoming David Bowie Is exhibition. Then roll the dice with the Google Cube, which shows a different video on each of its six sides, with audio only working for the one you’re currently looking at. Out on Fed Square proper, Vox Lumen takes over the big screen, translating the movement of the crowd and performers into a spectacular animated light display.
If you’re getting the almost midnight munchies, stop off for a big feed at any number of joints opening up late for White Night Melbourne, including Trunk, Nieuw Amsterdam, Beer Deluxe, Mr Tulk, Movida, Gazi and Stokehouse City.
During White Night’s midnight hour, Australian singer-songwriter and roots guitarist, Jeff Lang, teams up with Mumbai-born tabala-player, Bobby Singh, to bring the best of both countries to a dance-hungry audience on the forecourt of Melbourne Museum.
Ever felt like you could do a better job than most magazine editors? Well now’s your chance. Make like Press Gang and join in on the Emerging Writers’ Festival’s Magazine in a Night experiment, as the audience literally joins in the editorial conversation and a magazine is put together on a giant screen as the evening wears on. By 1am, with six hours to go on deadline, things should be getting pretty exciting.
In another nod to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the façade of the State Library will be lit up with projection artist, Nick Azidis’, Rabbit Hole. Follow that rabbit into the library and Eat Me’s 360 degree projection on the grand reading room dome, created by French artists, Antoine + Manuel, continues the theme with an electro-pop soundtrack created by Melbourne artist, Sui Zhen.
Get elemental with 4 Elements at the Royal Exhibition Building. An aerial circus performer will join two dancers from the National Dance Company of Portugal and a synchronised swimmer in a virtual performance inhabiting earth, wind, water and fire projected onto the grand old dame’s facade.
Back on the forecourt of Melbourne Museum, the intriguingly titled Cumbia Cosmonauts will fuse tropical vibes with sci fi sounds for a musical jungle adventure in space.
As you make your way back through the White Night throng, down the spine of Swanston, begin to unwind with some smooth Jazz at the Forum.
The beautiful surrounds of Queen Victoria Gardens are as good a place as any to end your White Night celebrations in Melbourne, and there’s plenty to see and hear here. British Composer of the Year for Sonic Art, Ray Lee’s enormous, half-tripod, half windmill, kinetic sound sculptures, dubbed Chorus, will make magical music. Glowing plants create a sensory experience in Circles of Light, pose for selfies with the giant multi-coloured Neon Angel Wings, then catch short film History Zero.
Go home and get some sleep kids!!! White Night Melbourne wraps up for another year.
Image Credit: Craig Silitoe - White Night Melbourne 2014.