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Australia: Once you arrive

White Night Melbourne

Discover White Night, Melbourne’s cultural capital at its annual, all-night arts event


Often cited as the nation’s cultural hub, the unique metropolitan charm of Melbourne takes many by surprise. The weather is notoriously temperamental, and whilst there is a beach in the city it’s hardly classed in the same league as shoreline big-guns Bondi or Whitehaven. But Melburnians will tell you that the special thing about their city is that it’s hidden: flecked with hundreds of alleyways, hole-in-the-wall coffee houses and unmarked bars, the city’s underground artistic pulse can be difficult to uncover for non-locals. Not just for students of the Arts, White Night Melbourne, the city’s year-old arts and culture event, makes it all too easy. 


What is White Night?

Showcasing and making accessible the city’s artistic underbelly, for one night Melbourne’s central business district is divided up into areas that each host a number of free and ticketed arts and culture events. Music performances, films, light shows, interactive installations and open-air exhibitions run city-wide from 7pm to 7am.

The idea is not unique to Melbourne. First conceived by Paris’ ‘Nuit Blanche,’ White Night programmes run across a global network of over 20 cities. Each city interprets the event differently, but with the same idea: transform your city into a cultural playground, and encourage people to engage with it on a new level.

White Night Melbourne includes over 300 local and international acts and artists that will feature across 40 different sites in the city’s centre. The 2013 event drew over 300,000 people.

Food and drink stalls will be in operation across all sites, with most local establishments open for business as usual.

What’s on?

Areas of the city are divided into ‘precincts’ for the night, each hosting a unique timetable of events. Those who find themselves in Tattooed City might enjoy a live performance by pianist Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff in Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, or wander around the Secret Garden, an open-air art space by Projects We Do Together that features short films, large scale chalk drawings and shadow puppet plays.

Punters can also immerse themselves in digital light installations of ‘Vector Space’ in the Rags to Riches precinct, or enjoy anything from psychedelic pop to country music on the Northern Lights Music Stage, in the Northern Lights precinct.

Clever use of light projection displays also transform the city’s iconic Flinders Street station and Federation Square into technicolour works of art. Musical performances run all night on Federation Square stage, with plenty of dance space illuminated by long strings of coloured lights.

Click here for the full White Night programme

When and where

White Night Melbourne 2014 runs on Saturday 22 February, from 7pm to 7am throughout the central business district. The city will be divided into west and east hubs from which public transport will run on regular routes all night. Selected areas of the city will be closed to traffic, allowing pedestrians to roam freely between events. A detailed area map and public transport details can be found on the White Night Melbourne website.


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About Author

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.


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