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White up the Night

12 Oct 2017

White up the Night Image

A record number of artists have applied to be part of White Night 2018 on February 17.

With applications closing last month, White Night’s artistic director David Atkins told Southbank Local News that more than 600 applications had been received for the Melbourne White Night event alone.

“We’ve received 120 more applications than last year for Melbourne and we’re only two thirds of the way through assessing them so we’ve got a bit to sift through still!” he said.

Mr Atkins said Southbank would once again play a central role in next year’s all-night event, with the Arts Precinct, Southbank Promenade, South Wharf and Alexandra Gardens to feature prominent installations and activities.

And while White Night 2017 was a significant improvement on 2016, some Southbank businesses told Southbank Local News that they had hoped for more activation in the precinct next year.

Mr Atkins said organisers were “reasonably pleased” with the local offering in 2017 but said that safety issues were always a key planning concern due to high pedestrian volumes in Southbank.

“Southbank Promenade is a significant operational pathway,” he said. “It’s difficult because of the amount of people and putting in stuff that doesn’t impede the pathway.”

“Foot traffic in 2017 was fairly heavy throughout the whole event particularly in the early part of the night and there were major installations throughout the area including the promenade, the Arts Precinct and South Wharf.”

“One of the key objectives of the event was to avoid crowd crushing so we really sought to disperse foot traffic throughout the whole city, which probably meant more focus was taken away from specific locations.”

While governance of the Yarra River has always proved a bureaucratic stumbling block for organisers in the past , Mr Atkins said he hoped to see more on river activation in 2018.

“It’s a difficult challenge because of managing river traffic on the water but there is definitely a strong desire to have more emphasis on water installations,” he said.

“We’re talking with the city’s parks and gardens committee and other stakeholders so we’ll have to wait and see how those discussions go before we know what we can do on the river.”

The full White Night program for 2018 is expected to be unveiled in December.

 

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