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A White Night dawns on Melbourne

Hundreds of thousands of people take to Melbourne's streets for the second installment of White Night.

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Up to 550,000 people filled Melbourne's streets for the city's second annual all-night White Night cultural festival, according to organisers.

Police put the estimate for the 7pm to 7am party slightly lower, at 450,000 to 500,000.

Organisers had hoped to lure 500,000 to the city after the inaugural event attracted around 300,000 revellers to the city in 2013.

Tattooed City at NGV International.

Tattooed City at NGV International.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said command was happy with the behaviour of visitors, with just 10 arrests for drunk and disorderly throughout the night.

While organisers were happy with the flow of pedestrians, some partygoers expressed disappointment on social media at overcrowding and the management of numbers.

"I hope you guys are gonna report how thoroughly dangerous and disorganised #WhiteNightMelb is," Mark Smithers said via Twitter. "Ppl (sic) could have been killed."

Illuminations on Princes Bridge. Photo by James Boddington Click for more photos

Melbourne's White Night

Illuminations on Princes Bridge. Photo by James Boddington

"The total lack of crowd control was an absolute disgrace," John Hassett wrote on the White Night Melbourne Facebook page. "Swanston Street was horrendous with people pushing & shoving. What bright spark decided to put stages there. All it did was create a very dangerous bottleneck."

Many people along Swanston Street reported that they found it hard to move past Flinders Street, so gave up and went home. South of the river was much less crowded and more spread out than the previous year.

This year organisers had moved the main music stage from the steps of Flinders Street station to the corner of LaTrobe and Swanston Streets to avoid the congestion that formed at the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets last year.

Arts Minister Heidi Victoria, who stayed until 7am, said organisers had listened to feedback from patrons last year and improved crowd management, and would do so again ahead of the 2015 event.

"I think it comes down to the fact that last year was bigger than we had anticipated," Ms Victoria said. "We listened to them and acted upon it, we listened to people and [asked], 'What can we do better?'"

Asked about the future of the festival beyond next year, Ms Victoria said she would recommend to Victorian Premier Denis Napthine that it be supported beyond the initial three-year funding it had received from the State Government.

White Night was expanded this year to take in 11 precincts and spread from Melbourne Museum and Victoria Street in the city's north down to Southbank Boulevard, Birrarung Marr and the Queen Victoria and Alexandra Gardens in the south, and west to east from Elizabeth Street to Russell Street.

Mr Napthine has branded the party, which featured more than 100 projects involving 300 artists, a "phenomenal success".

“White Night Melbourne is a testament to the city's ability to stage and support major international events," Mr Napthine said.

White Night Melbourne creative director Andrew Walsh said, who was spotted out at the event until the very end, said it was a successful and "fantastic night", and thanked the people of Melbourne for turning out in such huge numbers.

Highlights of the evening included the Wonderland projections along Flinders Street, the Purple Rain installation in the RMIT Alumni Courtyard, Tattooed City projections at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Northern Lights music stage, Molecular Kaleidescope at the State Library and Book of the Night at the Wheeler Centre.

Based on the annual Nuit Blanche event in Paris, which has since spread to more than 20 cities overseas, White Night was funded by former Premier Ted Baillieu for three years from 2013-15.