Lighting up Melbourne’s streets after dark


By Rafael Gerster

Disco laneways, late-night salsa parties and a moon lantern festival are set to take over the CBD’s streets this year, as part of the City of Melbourne and Victorian Government’s Dusk ‘til Dawn Activation Grants program.

The first tranche of the program will provide 10 activations with up to $100,000 each to encourage more visitors to support the city’s twilight and night-time traders.

Among the many highlights to be presented by these funding recipients are:

  • Mambomania by The MBassy Dance – a weekly night-time salsa party where dancers weave through a digital art installation.
  • Melbourne Shimmer Lane by Vee Agency – an immersive disco lane experience in Meyers Place.
  • Moon Lantern Festival by Museum of Chinese Australian History – a rich and colourful traditional night-time celebration of Asian culture, dining and entertainment.
  • Glow Comic Trails by Laneway Learning – a series of walking tours and workshops championing comic art by Melbourne artists.
  • Maho Magic Bar in Chinatown by Broad Encounters Productions – an immersive magic show transporting audiences to neon-lit Tokyo, filled with mischief, laughter and cocktails.
  • Community Capsule by Committee for Melbourne – a visual storytelling experience showcasing what it means to be Melburnian.

These activations will take place between May 1 and October 31 and will take over the night-time hours between 6pm and 6am.

The council’s Night-time Economy Advisory Committee chair Penny Miles said the “uplift” of the activations would create “more reasons for visitors to venture in or stay longer in the city after dark”. 

“The city is moving differently – night-time is the time to be in Melbourne,” Ms Miles said.

According to the council, night-time activity was at 107 per cent of pre-pandemic levels in March, up almost 20 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The council’s City Activation portfolio lead Cr Roshena Campbell said the Dusk ‘til Dawn program would build on the momentum Melbourne had gained in the “night-time economy”.

“We want to provide new reasons to visit our vibrant city and to link out late-night traders with the culture and creativity Melbourne is renowned for,” Cr Campbell said. 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said Dusk till Dawn program would “help cement Melbourne’s status as Australia’s cultural and night-time capital”.

“Whether it’s a dance down a disco alley, a stroll through a light-filled laneway, or a groove at a late-night salsa party – there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the city after dark,” Cr Capp said. •

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