Inside White Night’s tasty new festival program

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 21 August 2019

White Night Melbourne 2019 is putting on a gourmet menu of events.

White Night has had a makeover and everyone is invited to the party. 

This weekend Melbourne’s massive all-night free-for-all will be reborn as a three-night winter festival staged across the city’s main parks with an impressive line-up of arts, culture, fun and food.  

White Night reimagined has partnered with the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival to serve up a trail of restaurants serving comfort food, a nine-restaurant ‘supper series’ and a feast prepared by three of Victoria’s top chefs at the Royal Exhibition Building.

The entertainment menu features world-first performances and experiences from 7pm to midnight Thursday and Friday and until 2am on Saturday.

The entertainment menu features world-first performances and experiences from 7pm to midnight this Thursday and Friday and until 2am on Saturday.

The three main performance areas are themed. Birrarung Marr is the ‘physical realm’ or action arena, Treasury Gardens is the ‘sensory realm’ with stimulating artwork and installations, and Carlton Gardens is the ‘spiritual realm’ with a roving ‘guardian’.

The projection and video mapping installations White Night is famous for will light up the facades of such buildings as the National Gallery of Victoria and Old Treasury building.

Meanwhile city backstreets and laneways will ring out with music spanning multiple genres, and on Saturday, drone music fans will head underground to the bowels of the Arts Centre for the massive Superdrone concert. 

Regional Victoria gets its own version of White Night in Ballarat on September 21.

With so much on, it’s hard to know where to start.

Here are nine events you shouldn’t miss. 

Cocoon, Treasury Gardens

Step inside a giant cocoon of woven rope strung with 1000 LED lights and watch the ever-changing pulsing light show. Outside you can touch a pad that records your heartbeat and changes the light show accordingly. This is the first time the installation by Sydney studio Amigo & Amigo has been shown.

Iris, Treasury Gardens

See inside the micro world of the human eye via this large-scale projection created using medical microscope photography. An oversized image of half a real eyeball is mirrored in a pool of water to create a whole. 

Waterlight Graffiti, Treasury Gardens

Release your inner street artist on this 10-metre-wide wall of water-reactive LED lights. The LEDs light up when you ‘paint’ the wall with water using a brush, spray or hands. As the water dries the lights dim and return to black, leaving a fresh canvas. 

The Globe, Birrarung Marr

Featuring more than 40 acrobats, aerial performers, singers and actors inside a giant six-metre globe, this Australian premiere showcases the biggest work ever by Amsterdam-based street-theatre group Close-Act.

Bowl of pasta
White Night in Melbourne

White Night 2019 will feature an impressive line-up of arts, culture, fun and food.

Heliosphere, Birrarung Marr 

Suspended under a giant balloon, an aerial performer spins and twists in magical circus manoeuvres above the crowd, sometimes swooping down to steal a hat and carry it 20 metres skywards. 

Cyclo Illuminato, Birrarung Marr

Travelling troubadours Thomas and Wells will take to their tricked-up illuminated tricycle to entertain the crowds with music and street performances.

Mad Max, Carlton Gardens

See Mad Max Fury Road as you’ve never seen it before as George Miller’s post-apocalyptic world is projection-mapped onto the Royal Exhibition Building, accompanied by live performance, special effects and music. On the nearby Melbourne Museum forecourt the movie’s wild rides, including the Doof Wagon, Gigahorse and the Razor Cola Interceptor, help bring the cinematic experience to life.

Bundjil Creation Tree, Carlton Gardens

One of the gardens’ massive trees becomes a story teller, bringing to life the Bundjil (the eagle) creation story of the Kulin nation and introducing six magical puppet creatures who helped Bundjil create the land, waterways, plants, animals and humans.

The Guardian, Carlton Gardens

A crystal-covered big cat will roam in and around Melbourne Museum. It’s a 4.5-metre-high, 10-metre-long lion-like puppet that glows, changes colour and blows smoke.