September 3, 2018

New Melbourne winter festival incorporates White Night, eyes international music acts

New Melbourne winter festival incorporates White Night, eyes international music acts

A night winter festival launches in Melbourne in 2019, incorporating the free end of summer 24-hour party White Night, will have a great focus on local and international live music.

Mushroom Group chairman Michael Gudinski, who already oversees the entertainment during the AFL grand final, has been brought in as an advisor for the new still-untitled festival.

The music will use smaller venues as well as the large arenas.

The program will also retain White Night’s stunning light shows arts performances, films, magic and design.

“This massive new winter festival will boost to local businesses, support jobs and cement our reputation as the cultural and major events capital of Australia,” said minster for tourism and major events John Eren.

“It will light up Melbourne with music, dance, film and food and the new format will give families more time to enjoy everything the festival has to offer.”

White Night artistic director David Atkins OAM added, “This event will give Melbourne a bigger stage to entice audiences and demonstrate Victoria’s rich cultural offering – Melbourne has always been the cultural capital and this initiative will ensure it maintains that mantle.

“This reimagined event will create unique and exciting opportunities for artists, performers, cultural practitioners and institutions with a broader program and more nights to experience it.”

Moving White Night from February to August from next year, as part of the expanded festival, was inevitable.

It was a runaway success since it launched six years ago, this year drawing 600,000.

But there were complaints of over-crowding, especially from families.

The move to winter allows longer nights and performance hours earlier start times for families.

White Night Bendigo made its debut last Saturday night (September 1) drawing an unexpected 60,000.

Organisers had predicted 40,000 and Visit Victoria chief executive Peter Bingeman called it “a huge success.”

The public hailed 50 projections, installations, performances, exhibitions and music in the streets, laneways, parks and landmark buildings.

The music and arts community was impressed that over half the talent used was from the region, there were also grumbles on social media about “inadequate” public transport.

The second White Night Ballarat drew 60,000 this year. The Geelong event is on Saturday October 13.