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.