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It's Melbourne's turn to paint the town white


Farrah Tomazin

Illustration: Matt Golding.

Illustration: Matt Golding.

TODAY it happens in Paris. Next year it's Melbourne's turn. On February 23, the state government will open up the city for a dusk-to-dawn festival of art, culture, film, fashion and sport.

Melbourne will effectively become a 24-hour town under Premier Ted Baillieu's plan to hold Australia's first White Night Festival.

The National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and the Melbourne Arts Centre will throw open their doors. City buildings will be bathed in colour and light, artistic performances will take place around the city, and Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, Alexandra Gardens and Birrarung Marr will become key party venues.

Inspired by the Parisian event La Nuit Blanche, Victoria's arts-loving Premier says the Melbourne offshoot will be ''a night like no other''.

''White Night Melbourne will be a chance for Victorians and visitors from all walks of life to come together and experience some of Melbourne's greatest passions: music, dance, theatre, visual arts, sport, food and fashion,'' Mr Baillieu said. The festival originated in St Petersburg, Russia, and now takes place in 20 cities, including Rome, Tel Aviv and Madrid. As Premier and Arts Minister, Mr Baillieu used the start of today's 11th Parisian La Nuit Blanche to call for expressions of interest from performers, artists and businesses wanting to participate in the Melbourne event.

A joint venture company partly formed by Andrew Walsh (whose credits include the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics and Melbourne's 2006 Commonwealth Games) has been appointed to deliver the event.

''The way we share our public spaces defines who we are as a society, and when art and culture combine with celebration, the possibilities are endless,'' he said.

26 comments so far

  • simply fantastic! we should make it an entire week- i do hope that there is some consideration taken to use as much clean energy as possible to light the city. viva melbourne!

    Date and time
    October 07, 2012, 12:12AM
    • So will I be able to get out of the city after midnight, or will it be the same as it has been for thirty plus years, where people are stranded in the city with few options for leaving?
      Before you implement any of your wacky ideas, maybe make sure the trains and buses are all operating all night please, it's pathetic.

      Dr Strangelove
      Date and time
      October 07, 2012, 1:21AM
      • surprising it has taken us so long to follow the Euro nations and have a white night. i guess in australia things usually take a while to trickle down to us from the north

        Date and time
        October 07, 2012, 3:17AM
        • I hope Metro Trains and Yarra Trams use this opportunity to trial all night services every 20-30 minutes (20 minute frequencies on the more busier and 30 minutes on the quieter lines).

          If its successful in having patronage, we should roll it out as part of the Friday and Saturday late night services.

          Aljosa V.
          Date and time
          October 07, 2012, 3:49AM
          • What a pity they forgot to provide 24hr transport.
            Sounds like another white elephant

            Allan hawley-jacobs
            Date and time
            October 07, 2012, 6:06AM
            • Great idea, Ted....but this isn't Paris where there is some you will ensure that the garbage that causes trouble every Friday and Saturday nights will be banged up as a precaution so that the rest of us can enjoy what's on offer, won't you?

              Chirnside Park
              Date and time
              October 07, 2012, 7:42AM
              • Suppose that means booze will be sold and consumed for 24 hours straight.

                Date and time
                October 07, 2012, 7:47AM
                • Are people here that ignorant they can't use the proper french name "Nuit Blanche"? In english-speaking New York and Toronto, they call it "Nuit Blanche", they didn't convert it to an english name.

                  Then again, this is a land where people can't even pronounce "fillet" properly. Ignorant.

                  Date and time
                  October 07, 2012, 8:15AM
                  • Why would Melbourne use a French name when the whole thing originated in St Petersburg? That's not in France in case you were wondering.

                    Date and time
                    October 07, 2012, 1:33PM
                  • Say Chowder!!!

                    Date and time
                    October 07, 2012, 1:37PM

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