Celebrating the time

Photo by Zoe Nguyen

Photo by Zoe Nguyen

After the strong success of Alternatives Journal’s Nuit Blanche-style event last  year, NIGHT\SHIFT is returning for another year on Nov. 1.

The event — located in downtown Kitchener and centralized around Duke Street — has grown considerably since last year, with more attractions and a longer running time. However, like all great things, the beginnings of NIGHT\SHIFT happened rather suddenly.

“The festival started very impulsively last summer and we produced the first version largely with the team behind [Alternatives Journal], led by myself. We produced the first version of it in the space of a month last year. It ended up being a thing that a whole bunch of business owners, artists and people interested in community building downtown, especially, became really interested in,” said Eric Rumble, the festival director for NIGHT\SHIFT.

Last year was the first year for the event, named after the daylight savings time shift. Though Rumble wanted to keep most of the event and its unique aspects the same, there were a few things he wanted to improve on.

“One of the things I tried to do was not really expand the landscape too much — I really liked the walkability of it. I wanted to offer more within that,” Rumble said.

“The two main criticisms from last year were that it was cold and I can’t control that, but we’re making attempts to try and deal with that this year. There are more pieces of programming than there were last year so there are more places to get inside and warm up.”

Rumble also shared that he looked to make the event more inclusive to families with younger children. The event starts at 7 p.m. — rather than at 9 p.m. like last year — and has created a family-friendly itinerary on the NIGHT\SHIFT blog.

The focus on being more family-friendly speaks to the general message of inclusivity that Rumble based the foundation of this year’s festival on and why the event was successful last year.

“Part of why the festival worked last year is that it was kind of predicated on the idea of bringing as many different subcultures that are already doing stuff downtown to contribute in some way to make this night a bit more memorable than the time shift … [this time] is sort of this dead space between Oktoberfest and Christmas,” Rumble said.

In terms of different programming for this year, Rumble focused on making more interactive attractions and participatory. One such attraction, put on by a local film collective called 12 Angry Filmmakers, will have two “disruptive” film crews filming one movie throughout the night. People will have a chance to be featured in the film and it will show that same night shortly after midnight.

NIGHT\SHIFT has 40 scheduled events planned for Nov. 1, with activities ranging from poetry slams to pop-up pubs to live music.

The evening should be the perfect way to celebrate the autumn time change.

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