An estimated 100,000 people attended, spanning all ages. Families with prams, children and even dogs crowded the pavements in the early evening to enjoy the show of lights, music and sculpture on display. As the evening wore on though, puppies and babies were replaced with people ready to party until dawn.
Arriving on Swanston street at 9pm was surreal. With streets closed to traffic, it felt like a mass exodus from the city. I'm not going to lie, I did feel like we were fleeing from Zombies. As we walked two young tourists turned to ask, wide eyed 'What's happening?'. We told them about the festival and they excitedly climbed onto a nearby platform to take photos. I could still hear their 'oohs' and 'aahs' as we walked on towards Federation Square. Imagine if they thought it was a standard Saturday night out in Melbourne? Forget Vegas and New York.
Flinders Street was transformed into a Wonderland courtesy of The Electric Canvas, buildings awash with colour and dancing light. Along the Yarra River we passed art in a variety of mediums, including film and inflatable sculpture, and lingered on the banks to watch From The Deep, a water, light and laser show. Next we battled the crowds at the NGV International to see French Artist Michel Blazy's Bouquet Final 2. Working with a familiar medium (a similar piece is housed at MONA), the piece featured cascading foam powered by electric pumps.
Finally we found ourselves in Federation Square for the enthusiastic dance stylings of Bombay Royale. A true crowd pleaser, I left the dancing to those not wearing glitter platforms and enjoyed a drink with a perfect view at Chocolate Buddha.