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“I just came from a renegade rave”: Nuit Blanche die-hards talk about why they’re still up at 4 a.m.

By Jennifer Cheng| Photography by Giordano Ciampini

Saturday’s Nuit Blanche was the first one in nearly a decade to happen without sponsorship from Scotiabank, which pulled its support late last year. We headed out at 4 a.m. to see if anyone had noticed a difference in the quality of the programming—and to ask them why they were still awake.

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Tanu Ravi

28, actress and customer service rep from East York

“I’m trying to make the most of the last call. I came down to Nathan Phillips Square after hitting the Court Jester Pub on the Danforth. It’s hard to comment on whether this year’s Nuit Blanche is worse or better than in past years since we just got here.”

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Dylan Lymburner

26, filmmaker and bartender from East York

“I’m here for the art. I love this shit to death. I came here after I closed my bar at 2 a.m. to appreciate creativity and learn about life. It’s all about love and getting inspired. This is my first time at Nuit Blanche.”

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Alexandru Nichitiu

23, student from North York

“I’m taking in the nightlife. It’s tradition to stay up. It’s not just about getting drunk. It’s about the art. This year’s Nuit Blanche is not as good, though. There’s less to see. I would rather have 20 small exhibits than one large one.”

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Nzube Ekpunobi

23, med student from Mississauga

“I started at around 9:30 p.m. I thought it would take two hours, but it took the whole night to see everything. I’m almost done. It’s better this year without Scotiabank. There’s more focus on the art than on corporate sponsorship, and the vibe is more robust and intimate. The last four years, I would check out half the exhibits and give up because I got fed up with the chaos—the lines were belligerent, security wasn’t doing much and I didn’t know what was going on. This year, it definitely felt like there was a greater security presence. The lines were fairly strict. I knew what I was getting into.”

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Sola Aina

23, law clerk from Mississauga

“I’m trying to get through as much as I can. I think Nuit Blanche is great this year. I actually understood the exhibits and took the time to read the blurbs in the moment, whereas in previous years I would just take pictures with my phone and read them later.”

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Mahan Javadi

30, intern architect from Queen West

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“I started at 2 a.m., when the crowds were quieting down. The people who are still out at this hour are usually the die-hards who are into art. I just came from Queen West, so I haven’t seen a lot yet. The outdoor art installations at last year’s waterfront were amazing.

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Kyle Bernard

24, artist, dog walker and personal chef from Bloor and Bathurst

“I just came from a renegade mobile rave.”

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Andrew Nagy

23, student from North York

“I’m just enjoying the art installations and listening to the night sounds. Nuit Blanche is getting worse, though. The quality of each piece is great, but there are not enough installations. There used to be exhibits every few metres. If there’s not enough art to see, I might as well stay home.”

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