Tonight is Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche in Toronto and they are celebrating it’s 8th year. If you have never been, It’s an amazing celebration of arts and culture in the city of Toronto, which takes place from dusk til dawn. I’ve basically participated every year (except fort last year when i was in Vancouver), in some fashion, either as a rogue photo booth, as well as an active viewer and it’s an awesome event. I thought I would share some random tips from a seasoned veteran on how to survive the night.
1. Charge your smartphone. Between taking pictures of all the installations and sharing them on your social networks, and texting your friends to find out where they are, you can easily drain your battery before your night is through. If you have a Mophie case or external battery, bring it along or at least bring your charging cord. Two years ago, I found myself plugged into a wall at a random building behind city hall at 3 in the morning, that short stop definitely extended my sharing power that night.
2. Turn off your LTE or 3G on your phone. Using a lower data stream through the night will definitely extend your battery life. The one year, when I carried an empty frame through the streets of Toronto, doing a portrait photo series, I barely made it 12 hours, basically my phone died at 7am as I was taking my last shot at the north end of Trinity Bellwoods park.
3. Use the hashtag, it’s #snbTO. Definitely share your favourite installations and use the hashtag to track what everyone is loving. There is nothing worse than finding out you missed THE installation of the night, simply cause you didn’t know. The best places to follow the hashtag are on instagram and on twitter.
4. Take a nap. I usually try and see as much as I can in the night, so I start early and stay late. There have definitely been a couple of years, where I was getting back home as the sun was rising. Taking a nap this afternoon, will definitely help you get through the long night. If you are as dedicated as I am.
5. Start past midnight. Do you hate large crowds and long lines? Consider starting your Nuit Blanche adventure after midnight. It will give you a chance to follow along social media to see what everyone is talking about, and you can formulate a plan of attack. Often once 2am hits, the majority of the people start to head home. Lines are shorter or non existent and you definitely have more room to enjoy the art in a civilized manner.
6. Do a little bit of planning. The Nuit Blanche website has a lot of information on all the installations that are happening tonight. And there are plenty of guides online to get your started as well. Use this as a starting point, set your route and have fun.
7. Be Flexible. Yes I told you to plan, but be flexible enough to stray from your plan on a moments notice. It’s great to have a basic plan, but don’t stick your plan to a timeline set in stone. You will drive yourself crazy. Undoubtable you will read something on twitter about a must see installation. Or perhaps you will bump into friends and they will tell you about the most amazing thing that they have seen that night. The worst is arriving at an installation to discover that there is a 2 hour wait. Be flexible, stray off your path, or decide to come back to busy installations after 2am.
8. Comfort and Well being. This should go without saying, but wear comfortable shoes, you are undoubtably going to be doing a lot of walking. Dress for the weather, it looks like the rain isn’t coming until 6am, but you never know. Pack a water and multiple snacks. You are gonna get hungry.
9. Getting Around. Likely you are going to be doing a lot of walking, The best way to get around is likely have a bike to get your from one end of the city to the other (don’t forget your lights and helmet) and of course there is “the better way,” the TTC who is offering a special Nuit Blanche branded metro pass
10. Follow me. Okay this last one is self serving, but I will be taking photos and sharing them on tumblr and instagram throughout the night. And I’ll be tweeting @photojunkie all the latest as I come across it. So join me virtually.
Most of all have fun, be courteous, become a part of the art and not just a viewer of it.
What are your tips to surviving Nuit Blanche?