For the last four years, Melbourne has lit up for one night in February. From 7 pm to 7 pm the city is bustling with music, dance, installations, and, most importantly, light shows. The best light shows were the projections on the facade of large, important buildings downtown; they made a great canvas.
Starting up at the north of the city in Carlton Gardens, there were a few light installations. There were lanterns in trees, colored illumination on trees, and a glowing, almost pulsing, sphere of light. The sphere was really cool as you could get up close and touch it and see the lights within.
The first major projection light show we saw was on the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens and it turned out to also be the best one. The projection was so well coordinated with the architecture and there was such great attention to detail. It was absolutely fantastic.
More than half a million people were expected at this year’s celebration and they came out in force. The streets were full to bursting even with the roads closed down to trams and cars. Many of them were wearing some kind of light-up headband or necklace, which added nicely to the whole glowing theme. A few of the statues of famous explorers or politicians were dressed up and illuminated. And even some of the cranes from the many construction projects going on joined in the fun.
The State Library of Victoria was also completely lit up. It had a garden theme and the projections showed various types of flowers blooming and growing. Again, the way the projections line up with the columns is simply amazing.
Smaller light shows were dotted around the city as well. Some were large LCD screens on the side of utes, some were small projections on the side of buildings (like St. Paul’s Cathedral below), and some were made of neon lights (such as the angel wings, which were a great photo op)
The next major projection was not on any particular building, just on a row of stores along Flinders Street. However, the projections themselves took on the wonder as they told the stories of fairytales. Every few minutes, a new series of projections would come up that were fairytales in almost comic book form. Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel were all represented, as well as a few others.
Flinders Street Station and the Arts Centre (the Eiffel-Tower-like thing a little bit down the street) were both illuminated. Flinders Street Station was also home to another major projection; this one told the history of Australia.