Bendigo to host White Night in 2018

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WHITE Night is set to light up the streets of Bendigo, following its success in Ballarat. 

The all-night light festival in Bendigo is less than a year away, with the date set for September 1. 

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, John Eren, and White Night artistic director David Atkins are today expected to announce both Bendigo and Geelong as first-time hosts of the event in 2018.

“The first ever regional White Night was a rousing success and we want more of our regions to experience and benefit from it,” he said.

More than 40,000 people visited Ballarat to see the spectacle earlier this year.

The event was credited with injecting more than $3 million into the city’s economy. 

“This will be a wonderful opportunity to welcome more visitors to our region, support jobs, and generate more business for our restaurants, bars and hotels,” Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, said.

Ballarat will host its second White Night event on March 17, while Geelong will celebrate its White Night on October 13.

Bendigo’s festivities are expected to be inspired by the city’s history, spanning from the legends of its Indigenous owners right through to the present day.

“White Night will showcase the best of Bendigo, giving locals and visitors the opportunity to explore the streets like never before,” Member for Bendigo East, Jacinta Allan, said.

It’s early days, but Mr Atkins said the Bendigo community’s excitement about the event was already palpable.

He will work with Victoria’s cultural institutions, independent artists and the best creative minds to bring White Night to both Bendigo and Geelong.

Mr Atkins expected Bendigo’s landscape, stories and ideas to be what made the event unique to the city.

The artistic director said suggestions for areas and precincts suitable for White Night would have formed part of the City of Greater Bendigo’s bid to host the event.

“We’ll be taking that into account,” he said.

Bendigo has been vying for the chance to stage White Night since the state government announced the event would be staged in regional Victoria.

“The City of Greater Bendigo is very pleased to be hosting White Night for the first time in 2018 and we look forwarded to showcasing some of the best Bendigo has to offer through this event," Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said.

“Greater Bendigo is already renowned for its arts, culture, food and wine industry and major events so White Night is a perfect fit for us.”

Of the almost 300 Bendigo Advertiser readers who responded to an online poll earlier this year, only 44 per cent were keen on the city hosting its own White Night in 2018.

Their responses came after Bendigo’s major events manager, Terry Karamaloudis, highlighted the potential cost of staging the event.

“One presentation of White Night is far greater than the entire budget for major events, you need to have a serious think about that and say ‘well is this really the best utilisation of funds?’,” Mr Karamaloudis told the Bendigo Advertiser in March.

White Night is unlikely to be the city’s only festival featuring projected digital artworks, having received a $160,000 grant from the state government in June to stage the Enlighten festival.

The festival, which was described as a ‘mini White Night’, was reportedly likely to coincide with Cultural Diversity Week in March.