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White Night Melbourne

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Introduction to Events
Assessment 1 – Event review white Night
Student Name: Simone Tyrrell

‘The White Night Festival is an all-night cultural event that runs from dusk to dawn in the city streets, parklands, laneways and cultural institutions in Melbourne’ (Bennett 2014)
The White Night Melbourne festival is a major event that Melbourne has now hosted for two years, with its debut being in 2013. White Night Melbourne would be considered a major event as major events are a large scale special event that attracts large crowds and has a considerable amount of media attention. Major events are also expensive to stage. However, even though major events are expensive to stage they bring revenue to the businesses in the area where the event is being staged and raise awareness of the local area which helps promote tourism for a specific region.
The White Night event was 1st conceived in Paris, France in 2002. Paris’ event name is ‘Nuit Blanche’ which translates to “White Night”. The event was created “to make art and culture accessible to large audiences within public spaces” (White Night Melbourne website 2014). From the event first being held in Paris in 2002, it has gained momentum as an international event with over 20 cities in the world now hosting a White Night event.
Melbourne held its first White Night event in 2013 and was “a state government of Victoria initiative created by the Victorian Major Events company” (White Night Melbourne website 2014). In Melbourne’s calendar of events, this is a truly unique event for Melbourne as there are no other festivals that run from dawn till dusk that showcase our city streets and landmarks and our appreciation of art and music all combined into one event in one night. One unique aspect of this event is the screen projections on to major Melbourne landmarks and buildings. These projections on buildings 80 metres and over created stunning scenery for event goers to view and admire either close up or at a distance. The projections brought the city to life with beautiful colour and images. White Night Melbourne has become the event of the year for Melbourne to showcase its love of “music, art, food, theatre, sport, fashion, film, design and performance” (White Night Melbourne website 2014). To date, it is Australia’s only dawn to dusk festival.

Based on attendance at White Night Melbourne, the event was a huge success. With attendance at a whopping 500,000 “the city had been turned over to the people for a night” (Delaney 2014) White Night hosted more than 100 events and the people of Melbourne and its visitors had 12 hours to have a sample them all. And White Night Melbourne really did have it all. There were masses of street entertainers and roving performers as well as fixed stages where musicians played and a variety of venues throughout the city hosted an array of artwork for the masses to partake in and view. There were unique attractions at White Night such as ‘Purple Rain’ which was a shower of ‘purple’ rain for people to pick up an umbrella and walk around in the ‘purple rain’ looking at imagery that was meant to stir the senses. Another was event hotspot ‘Northern Lights’ which had “all night synchronised swimming at the Melbourne City Baths, an outdoor music stage and arts program”. (Bennett 2014). Other attractions included tattoo art on people’s bodies, interactive films, a tribute to the owners of Birrarung Marr with a giant rock illuminating 360 degree projection, and the forum theatre had images of a beating heart and DNA. As Brigid Delaney from The Guardian described “There was dancing everywhere…huge crowds doing jazz hands to all the single ladies in Federation Square at 3am…There’s something that feels subversive, exuberant even, about dancing with strangers in what are usually Melbourne’s busiest street” (Delaney 2014)
Based on the premise of the turn out and the wide array of things to do and see it would appear that the event was a huge success.
Even with the masses of people everywhere trying to see all of the attractions, and there being plenty of attractions to see and the event spread out over a large expanse of the city, was it enough to contend with a crowd of over half a million people? Did this hinder the overall success of the event? Some event goers would say yes.
On the White Night Facebook page, majority of the negative feedback all had the same theme. Overcrowding at popular attractions, not enough crowd control, not enough public transport, not enough public toilets, not enough food vendors or variety of food, not enough event organisers/volunteers on the ground, network issues for phones and internet, designated drinking areas needed, designated family zones needed, better signage for directions needed, and expand the event out further to help disperse more of the crowd to other areas.
Even though there were many complaints, there were also comments on the Facebook page that offered suggestions on how to make improvements for future White Nights. There were also plenty of comments on the social media site from people that said they enjoyed the experience and detailed how they managed to move around in the masses.
Based on all the comments on social media sites and newspaper articles I have read in relation to the event, I would say overall it was a huge success and that the event organisers achieved amazing results with all of the attractions they had on show for the people of Melbourne that attended White Night.
From all the feedback, media attention, newspaper articles, internet presence and imagery of all the wonderful sights of our great city, the benefit of the White Night event to the city of Melbourne is going to be extremely positive and rewarding in regards to exposure of our city for tourism, hosting future art exhibitions and cultural events and hosting future mega events. It has put Melbourne on the map for a fantastic place for international artists and companies to bring their exhibitions and events to.
With events such as White Night there is always room for improvement. The areas I would personally address before the next event would be the amount of public toilets available, a larger amount and variety of food vendors and expanding the event out even further than its current boundaries.
A sufficient amount of portable toilets need to be placed all throughout the space of the event in several locations and not just rely on fixed buildings toilet facilities to accommodate the masses of people. There was also a lot of negative feedback in regards to food vendors. Most people commenting that after 1am most places were closed and their only options were a few food vendors with hot dogs and ice creams or McDonalds. For such a large crowd this is not at all suitable or sufficient. A lot more vendors need to be at the event for the whole 12 hours, dispersed along the entire stretch of the city in within the boundaries of the event. The event organisers could have taken advantage of further promoting the event as multicultural by having a wide cuisine available from food vendors. It also presents a fantastic opportunity for the city of Melbourne to support small local businesses.
As this event is growing in popularity, it is clear that the boundaries also need to be expanded to help with overcrowding and movement around the city. As Leon Kidd suggested on the Facebook page, “maybe extend the range and size (again) of the event? Use the underutilised docklands and Southern Cross station moving some congestion away from Flinders street. Melbourne park possibly? A lot of people were already down that end after visiting the Alexandra Gardens” (Feb 26th 8.18pm Facebook, White Night Melbourne page). And Kurt Stanley suggested a similar idea on the social media site saying, “Maybe spread it out further to include all the way up and down Elizabeth St, Russell St, Exhibition St and Spring St rather than having it concentrated to Swanston/Bourke. And then you could put some of the big attractions in each of those streets so the crowds can spread out. Just an idea. Loved the event both this year and last year” (Feb 25th 4.24pm, Facebook, White Night Melbourne page).
As this is a new event to Melbourne, I believe it will continue to grow and improve and become an event that Melburnians look forward to every year. After my research I certainly want to go and see it for myself.

Reference List:
Bennett, S 2014, ‘White Night Festival to flood city streets in Melbourne’, Herald Sun 21 February viewed 19 March 2014 http://www.hearldsun.com.au/news/victoria/white-night-festival-to-flood-city-streets-in-melbourne/story-fnkd6ppg-1226833680424 Delaney, B 2014, White Night has given Melbourne its very own Carnival’, The Guardian 23 February viewed 19 March 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/culture/australia-culture-blog/2014/feb/23/white-night-melbourne-very-own-carnival# viewed 19 March 2014
Facebook 2014, White Night Melbourne page, viewed 19 March 2014 http://www.facebook.com/WhiteNightMelbourne White Night Melbourne 2014, About White Night Melbourne, viewed 19 March 2014 http://whitenightmelbourne.com.au/about-white-night-melbourne White Night Melbourne 2014, History of White Night, viewed 19 March 2014
http://whitenightmelbourne.com.au/history-white-night…...

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