Melbourne will soon be joining the ranks of cities like Paris and Montreal as it’s transformed into a 24-hour city as part of the White Night festival as part of Premier and Minister for the Arts Ted Baillieu’s attempt to revitalise Victoria’s art scene.
This news comes after governments in most Australian states try to revitalise the cultural scenes in their respective capital cities as they simultaneously crack down on alcohol-related violence.
Adelaide’s residents have had a tough go of it with the south Australian government recently announcing they would be implementing metal detectors and a 3am lockout. This news came as live music venues acrossAdelaide faced increasing pressure from licensing regulations during a difficult financial climate that has forced some to close their doors permanently.
At the same time as the city’s nightlife is getting heavily regulated, the government attempted to revitalise the scene by introducing a new licensing law that would see Adelaide’s laneways become home to bars and clubs.
Sydney has been suffering a similar fate after simultaneously introducing a raft of new measures to crackdown on licensed venues in Sydney in an attempt to curb violence, and announcing that the Sydney Council are drafting a new cultural policy, seeking public input on ways to improve Sydney’s culture and night-life.
So while a recent 1am lockout has been proposed for Melbourne venues, it seems the Victorian government are also trying to keep Melbourne’s arts and music scene alive, which makes sense considering that’s what the city is most famous for and Premier Baillieu’s latest attempt at making the city a 24-hour one could just the the ticket.
Based off the original White Night Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, the 24 hour summer festival now takes place in over 20 countries including Tel-Aviv, Buenos Aires, Florence and, Paris.
As part of the Melbourne version of the dusk ’til dawn festival Flinders Street Station will be transformed into a music amphitheatre hosting a free concerts.
For the first time, many of Melbourne’s world-renowned cultural institutions – including Arts Centre Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for Moving Image, the State Library and the Melbourne Museum – will simultaneously open late into the night, boasting special programming, exhibitions and performances.
Some other highlight of the festival program are giant glowing spheres floating on the Yarra River projecting images of love in Melbourne, stages set upon rolling tram cars on St Kilda Road featuring circus and musical snapshots, an inflatable cinema screen on Birrarung Marr, a Melbourne Conversations series hosted by John Safran featuring discussions around literature and philosophy and, a giant outdoor dance event in Federation Square.
“Melbourne has long held a reputation as a cultural and major events powerhouse. We have one of the world’s most admired calendars of major events, and White Night Melbourne will add a new dimension and showcase the great strengths and extraordinary creativity of our city,” Premier Baillieu said.
“For one night, Melbourne will peel back its exterior and reveal the depth of its uniqueness, magic and vibrancy under the cover of a ‘white night’.”
To give the festival a bit of street cred, lead singer of The Cat Empire Felix Riebl will be White Night Melbourne’s Music Director. “I want to capture Melbourne’s wild music heart and encourage people to stay up all night and celebrate the deep blue magic spirit of this city,” Riebl said.
While the arts may be Melbourne’s first love, festival organisers have found a way to tie in another of Melbourne’s strong suitswith the introduction of the Pop Up Food Village which will find its home in Southbank and will feature Melbourne’s famed food trucks lining Flinders Street, as well as participation from local restaurants in the CBD.
With all the bad news the Aussie live music scene has been receiving due to further attempts to stave off alcohol related violence, it seems Premier Baillie may actually be making good on his promise to improve as opposed to hinder Melbourne’s night life.
The full program for the inaugural White Night Melbourne will be released in January 2013 at www.whitenightmelbourne.com.au