And then they said LET THERE BE LIGHT! And light will be everywhere at the 13th edition of the Montréal en Lumière (Montreal High Lights) Festival and its shining star, Nuit Blanche, from February 16 to 26. Read on to find out all the highlights of Montréal en Lumière and where to go on Nuit Blanche!
Montréal en Lumière has built itself into one of the largest winter festivals in the world, drawing over 900,000 fans to explore and enjoy Montreal like a winter playground (which now includes a 110-meter-long slide!!!). A feast for your senses that combines performing arts, gastronomy, free outdoor activities, and a huge roster of cultural discoveries dotted around Montreal’s core.
THE LIGHTS: The new site at Place des Arts is going to wow. It will bring Montréal en Lumière to a whole new level of literalness. Progressive architectural lighting by Marc Tétreault and Jean Laurin will illuminate the surrounding buildings and public spaces. Original light projections, an LED panel stage, interactive boxes, a photomaton, video mapping and lasers all transform the space.
One of the major highlights of the festival will be the mega projection “A Propos De Stern” on the east wall of Maison du Festival Rio Tinto Alcan. It’s an audiovisual experience created by Géodésik and Marc Leclair that will transform, distort, transfigure and deconstruct the entire building using state of the art video mapping techniques. These projections will display three times every evening of the festival (6:30 pm, 7:30 pm, and 9 pm).
THE FOOD: With the new site comes a bundle of new culinary and gastronomy events. We can now let our appetite fun free at the Escales Gourmandes, or grab a snack at the Bistro de Glace SAQ. Seek out Montreal’s famous Grumman 78 taco truck and then enjoy an Urban Cocktail at the RBC Dome. A whole world of fine dining magic, right in downtown Montreal in the middle of winter surrounded by lights? How cool! Check out the full gastronomy programing here.
NUIT BLANCHE: Starting Saturday, February 25 and going into the wee morning hours of Sunday, February 26, Nuit Blanche is going to be a crazily colourful nuit! Nuit Blanche’s epicenter will of course be the new site at Place des Arts, but free shuttle buses will circulate everyone around Montreal’s core to all the venues of Nuit Blanche.
A great way to start the night is catching Bran Van 3000 perform a set on the RBC Stage at PDA (8 pm). Circulate the rest of the festival grounds and then disperse out into the Montreal night! Metros run 24 hours this night to make sure everyone is connected to all the cultural events.
My personal favourite of Nuit Blanche is located a short walk from the main events, at The Belgo. For 2012, the Belgo has 15 official events happening all night long: From an interactive musical at Studio 303 (space 303) to African dance classes at Ingénieurs Sans Frontières (space 404).
The Societe des Arts Technologiques (SAT) will be hosting an homage to Japanese pop culture. From music, food, massive Harajuku Manga icons, Japanese lanterns, beer and sushi! SAT is definitely on my route for Nuit Blanche.
TIPS: Nuit Blanche can be overwhelming. There is so much happening in so many different locations it can be hard to pick through exactly what tickles your fancy. That’s why Montreal en Lumiere has an extremely useful iPhone and Android app presented by Hydro-Quebec! The app has complete schedules, locations, and descriptions of all events. It even allows users to pinpoint the nearest activities using the “radar” function and a super-futuristic “augmented reality” mode. You can even design your own Nuit Blanche itinerary and then share it on Facebook or Twitter!
Montréal en Lumière, February 16–26, 2012
Nuit Blanche, February 25, 2012