Winter is coming, and nowhere in Australia knows it better than Tasmania. While many of us see winter as a time to hibernate indoors, our southernmost state has mastered the art of embracing the cold and celebrating the winter chill – especially thanks to Dark Mofo.
By far the most eclectic, weird and challenging festival in Australia, Dark Mofo wouldn’t feel right at any other time of the year. From gory artwork to high-concept performance and theatre, to mind-bending electronic music and piercing black metal, to the beloved Winter Feast and of course, the Winter Solstice Nude Swim (it’s literally hundreds of people running starkers into the River Derwent on the winter solstice, marking the middle of winter and the shortest day of the year), there truly is nothing quite like it.
The festival is a long one, running from June 8-21, so if you ever needed the perfect excuse to visit Tassie, this is it. Should you choose to make a full holiday out of the festival, you’ll be left with ample time for day trips to explore the city and its surrounds, from Mount Wellington and Port Arthur Historic Sites to the Huon Valley and the Tasman Peninsula.
The musical lineup is edgy, eclectic, and in a word, loud. Post-rock legends Mogwai and Norwegian metal group Ulver lead the charge, alongside Xiu Xiu performing the Twin Peaks score, Einstürzende Neubauten, A.B. Original and Thelma Plum among many others.
The art on offer is just as challenging and interesting. For the vampiric among us, Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch is bringing his “extremely confronting” 150.Action ritual, which involves 500 — yes, 500 — litres of blood. Meanwhile, UK artist Chris Levine will be bringing an incredible combination of lasers and sound, with 550 loudspeakers spread throughout the Hobart waterfront, chants and incantations roaring out each sunrise and sunset. At the same time, massive lasers will emit pure light out across the skies.
MONA itself will host its own special exhibition, The Museum of Everything, described as “the world’s first wandering institution for the untrained, unintentional, undiscovered and unclassifiable artists of the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.”
There’s fire, food, theatre, performance and more on offer throughout Dark Mofo – and it’s spread out enough that there’s time to explore the stunning Tasmanian surrounds, so why not make a mini-holiday of it?
Dark Mofo runs from June 8-21 and tickets are on sale now. Check out the complete music and art line-up, food, tickets, accomodation and more information at the official Dark Mofo website.