Now in it’s second year, White Night is an all night event from 7pm-7am filled with lights, colour and roaming street performers. This year, they surpassed their attendee expectations and I’ll give you my top tips on how you can get around all of the sudden issues that might pop up. But what is it? Well, read on to find out more.
What is it?
“The White Nights are a kind of all-night arts festival held in many cities in the summer. The original festival is the White Nights Festival held in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The white nights is the name given in areas of high latitude to the weeks around the summer solstice in June during which sunsets are late, sunrises are early and darkness is never complete. In Saint Petersburg, the Sun does not set until after 10 p.m., and the twilight lasts almost all night.
The White Nights Festival in Saint Petersburg is famous for spectacular fireworks and Scarlet Sails, a massive show celebrating the end of school year. Other festivals following this lead have arisen, using names such as White Night, Light Nights or Nuit Blanche, see that article for examples around the world.” – Wikipedia.
How to get there?
The best way to get here IS by public transport. Nothing else comes close. And in keeping in mind our mindful way of spending, the last thing you want to do, is spend $50 on parking alone. Not only that, this is an event that you need to be geared up for walking. In general, people do not expect this and can be left feeling exhausted after doing laps around the city. Whilst this is normally easy to do, factor in over 550,000 people and it takes 30 minutes just to get from one street to the next (in the peak most times) and you’re patience runs dangerously low. Do you really want to drive home after that? Really? That’s what I thought. Just take public transport, put on your alarm and snooze till your train/bus/tram arrives to your stop. (Highly recommend you put it for a shorter time period than it would normally take you so you don’t get overcarried. Not my fault if you do…. I already warned you!).
Plan of attack.
Yes, you need a plan. Firstly, research is your best friend. And no, I do not mean, doing up detailed analysis of everything, but rather having a rough plan of all the things you want to go and see/do. Plus. Keeping an eye out for what is being advertised the most also helps. (Purple Rain, highly advertised, big disappointment. And the queue was humoungous). I would highly recommend attending all the outdoors and display events first, leaving all the internal ones for later when the queues do die down. This year, I have tried starting when it starts, to see most of the events which were one off at the start (alas, the idea was redundant, I hadn’t prepped my group sufficiently with my plans). Next year I intend on starting later when the crowds do die down (yes, they do, but only around 1am) and see all the events I can get to.
My favourite highlights were:
– the Faces in the park. Freaky but really cool.
– The lights shining over the top of the cityscape.
– The 3d virtual reality item. OMG. If this is the future of gaming (and it is – check out Google’s Project Tango), I want in.
– The Flinders street display
Honorary mentions go to the Federation Bells, disco balls in the street and the Planetoids exhibition.
Ah, my favourite part. What would I do differently had I had the opportunity to do so?
1. Share your plans with your group.
There is nothing worse than someone forcing the group to stand in line for a disappointing event. It’s selfish and if you are really that keen, get in line and do it yourself. Don’t force it on others. Yes. You know who you are.
As always, go with the majority of what people want to see. And all the time, make sure you take other’s fitness and any issues into considerations (asthmatic, claustrophobia, fear of heights, etc.)
2. Target the external events first.
Always go for the outside or display events first, because the queues for some of the hottest items in there are close to 1.5-2 hours long. Why wait, when you can use that time absorbing other things.
This goes without saying but food prices for such an event is extraordinarily high. Fair enough. That doesn’t mean you don’t pre-plan by eating food before hand. Highly recommend a high protein styled food that satiates your hunger for longer.
4. Carry a bottle of water.
Don’t try to be cool and not have a bottle of water. Most of the drinking stations were usually packed around the city. Make sure you keep well hydrated as the last thing you need are symptoms of dehydration preventing you from enjoying such a spectacular event.
If you can get it, GREAT! If not, resort to your caffeinated poison of choice. Trust me, you’re going to need it. Not too much though. Last thing you need is shaky photos from all the energy drinks you’ve had.
6. Put down the camera.
As hard as it was for me, I consciously kept putting my camera away. From an event such as this, I usually come away with over 600+ photos. I know, 600. But this time, I only managed to do 225. And then taking away all the “I’ve-had-too-many-energy-drinks” and “wish-I’d-brought-my-stand-with-me” photos, I am left with 130 or so photographs. Sometimes. You just need to enjoy the moment for what it is. Stop. Look. Breathe. Move on. Cause seriously, ask yourself… who are the photographs for?
I reckon this was a stellar night, and would highly recommend you attend it. Of course, keep your patience and wits about you, as some people think it’s ok to bring their prams and bikes in. Please don’t be those people. And if you really have to, avoid the high pedestrian traffic areas.