Melbourne is set to join the likes of Paris and Montreal in being transformed into a 24-hour city as part of the inaugural White Night festival, a new initiative from the city’s Premier and Minister for the Arts, Ted Baillieu, in an attempt to re-invigorate Victoria’s cultural scene.
The news of White Night first came six months back, where Baillieu promised that ”the city’s galleries, theatres, music venues, laneways and major cultural institutions will come alive with a range of special events and programs – from the grand to the intimate.” And since the appointment of The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl as the event’s Music Director, music fans have been waiting patiently for details of the White Nigh Melbourne program.
Announced this morning, the full programme boasts over 300 local and international artists performing in more than 80 free events across 40+ CBD sites and venues on Saturday 23rd February from 7pm until 7am, and the event’s creative director Andrew Walsh says that the scenic Yarra River will form the centrepiece of the 24 hour festival.
“White Night Melbourne will be a celebration of all things uniquely Melbourne. That’s why the Yarra River will be a central stage for the event – it represents the lifeblood of this city,” said Mr Walsh of the Yarra, which will play host to ‘From The Deep,’ a large-scale “laser, water, and light show… set to an evocative soundtrack.”
Premier Baillieu said the Melbourne’s newest cultural event would span from the National Gallery of Victoria to Melbourne Town Hall and the Melbourne Museum. “From five floors under Arts Centre Melbourne to the heights of Eureka Skydeck, White Night Melbourne will transform our city into a cultural canvas, a performance stage and a creative playground,” said Mr Baillieu.
“White Night Melbourne will be a celebration of this city’s culture and creativity, art and design, live music, theatre, food, fashion, film, and sport. There will be something to delight everyone.” The White Night Melbourne website details a long and exciting list of interesting arts and cultural events, including free movie screenings at Federation Square’s ACMI, projections that use the city skyline as a canvas, urban spaces converted for art exhibitions, pop-up cinemas, all-night writing camps, and much more.“White Night Melbourne will transform our city into a cultural canvas, a performance stage and a creative playground.” Premier Ted Baillieu
On the music front however, details are still to be finalised just weeks out from the Saturday kick-off. The biggest musical event appears to be ‘Theatre of Dreams’, a free concert held at Flinders Street Station with a host of Melbourne’s finest lighting up the iconic landmark.
The lineup thus far includes dance instigators World’s End Press, future-soul sensations Hiatus Kaiyote, the Bollywood surf-rock hybrid Bombay Royale, energetic 8-piece The Eagle & The Worm, Rockwiz Orchestra and guest singers, and, of course, The Cat Empire. (Let’s hope Mr. Edmonds has sorted out his soundproofing before then).
Over at Club Spiegel, The Toot Toot Toots will perform their folk-rock opera Outlaws, a musical tale “set in the fictional gold rush town of Gomorrah Fields, the performance tells the story of émigré Eli Rayne and the vengeance and bloodshed that shadows his arrival.” If their Meredith set is anything to go by, this will be one not to miss, enhancing Outlaws in the live setting with “narrations, gyrations, brass sections, projections, and animated facial expressions.”
Also performing around town will be Uptown Brown!, a “one-man band extraordinaire… inspired by the films of Terry Gilliam and Fritz Lang, and partly by musicians such as Fats Waller and Jesse Fuller.” Additionally, the Arts Centre Melbourne will be hosting the Late Night Sound Lounge, using Hamer Hall’s foyer as an electronic music haven, and Singing In The Sunrise – a procession of bands and artists from Flinders Street Station to Princes Bridge doing just that.
The full programme also promises Particle Picnic, where The Forum will be transformed into a “3D spectacular of art synced with DJS,” a Jazz Stage headed by Bob Sedergreen Trio in Degraves St, a series of concerts under the banner of ‘Elizabeth What Were You Thinking?’ – featuring Flap!, Bobstretch, Nina Ferro’s Band, Marc Hannaford Trio, Peter Baylor’s Ultrafox; and bands playing on rolling stages on tram cars along St Kilda Road.
While details for many of the band and artists that will be performing at these one-of-a-kind events has yet to be finalised, the White Night Melbourne organisers promise that final lineups and details will be announced in the coming weeks leading to the Saturday 23rd Feb event.
For more information head to whitenightmelbourne.com.au
White Night Melbourne Music Lineup
Saturday 23rd February, 7pm-7am
The Cat Empire
World’s End Press
The Eagle & The Worm
RockWiz Orchestra and guests
Bob Sedergreen Trio
Nina Ferro’s Band
Marc Hannaford Trio
Peter Baylor’s Ultrafox
+ more to be announced!