Saturday, September 29, 2007

White Night season opens and spreads

WHEN Paris held its first Nuit Blanche -- a frenetic all-night, multivenue cultural bash -- in 2002, few could have imagined that five years later White Night fever would be sweeping Europe's capitals, and spreading to other cities.
From Rome, which will hold its fifth White Night on Sept. 8, to Madrid (Sept. 22), Toronto (Sept. 29), Brussels (also Sept. 29), Paris and La Valletta, Malta (Oct. 6) and dozens of other cities, collective insomnia is in, at least for one night a year.
'We all try to respect the rules, but each country does it in its own way,'' said Esther Beck, the main coordinator of the Nuit Blanche in Brussels. ''In Rome and Paris, the budgets are bigger so they tend to have more spectacular events.''

As the festivals have multiplied, in many cases so have the offerings in each city. In Rome, the first White Night festival in 2003 presented 100 events. This year, there are 400.
In Brussels, on the other hand, organizers have taken the opposite tack, halving the events sponsored last year to a neat 100.

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