By Luke Voogt
Street performers, musicians and projections will light up central Geelong laneways when After Dark returns next Friday.
As the festival begins, the apparently bodiless voice of Jan Juc opera singer Wendy Grose will bewilder visitors near Geelong Library and Heritage Centre.
“They’ll hear me even if they’re 50m or 70m away … and wondering where the hell it’s coming from,” she told the Indy with a throaty laugh.
“I’m singing to the masses but in a mysterious way. They won’t be able to see me – so they won’t know what’s coming.”
Grose began singing at age five and has sung classically for 40 years across Australia, France, England and Italy.
She has also appeared on TV shows like Blue Heelers, Kath and Kim, Sea Change and Neighbours.
She described After Dark as a regular highlight. “It’s always a really uplifting night,” she said.
The 2019 Geelong After Dark programme features more than 70 art projects to stimulate all senses.
Virtuoso Tim Hulsman will entice locals into the streets with the smooth sound of his five-metre slide guitar.
Projections of compliments from strangers will fill Barwon Water’s forecourt while ‘sensory portals’ will draw art lovers at Johnstone Park.
The festival will feature delights for the tongue, like the OYSTER project, and ears, in three Geelong music film clips.
Local unsigned artists Chloe St Claire and Jack Meredith, and band Alby Jay have written songs paying homage to the mountains, beaches and city they call home.
After Dark was the highlight Geelong’s of cultural events calendar, attracting more than 20,000 people and contributing about $2.1 million to the local economy last year, Mayor Bruce Harwood said.
“It’s loved by our local community and draws visitors from Melbourne and beyond. Make sure you’re in central Geelong for a great night out.”
Council’s arts portfolio holder Jim Mason also described After Dark as “a night not to be missed”.
“Geelong will come alive with an incredible range of art, music and cultural displays,” he said.
“This year’s programme will entertain, amaze and make us think.
“Our region is home to so many talented and creative people, and this event gives them a chance to showcase their work to a large audience.“
Geelong After Dark begins at 6pm, on 3 May.