Dark Mofo is about to descend on the southern-most capital of Australia. Hobart’s brooding, hedonistic and ever-expanding winter festival draws crowds from interstate and abroad. Celebrating all things winter and weird, Dark Mofo is quickly becoming one of Australia’s most looked-forward-to events.
Winter in Tasmania is nationally renowned for being cold and dark. This used to sound like a negative. That was until the masterminds behind MONA decided to create a festival celebrating the edgier and darker side of the season. This creation gave us Hobartians something to look forward to in winter, and develops a unique gothic cross paganistic atmosphere inspiring everyone to come out and play. Think dark art installations, winter feasts, fire pits, and an array of unusual musical wonder.
This year the fifth annual festival runs from Thursday 8 June to Wednesday 21 June and the lineup is packed. You should not miss out this year (I’m definitely flying home for it!). Tickets for events can be purchased on the Dark Mofo website.
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The winter feast is easily the pièce de résistance for the Dark Mofo festival, being the heart (and the stomach) of everything that happens here. Filling up Hobart’s Princes Wharf, the feast is full of brooding lights, music, fire pits, and the freshest Tasmanian produce. The decoration of the wharf is always impeccable and creates the perfect atmosphere to warm up from the bitter cold outside. Door sales are $10 or there is free entry after 8PM.
Nude Solstice Swim
This may sound weird but bear with me (or bare with me). The Nude Solstice Swim caps off the Dark Mofo celebrations as some of the bravest souls of Hobart bare all and take a dip in the freezing Derwent River to mark the longest night of the year. The communal ritual feels rather cathartic and everyone is too worried about the cold to worry about how they look. And don’t worry — there are dressing gowns and fire pits for when you re-emerge!
Running on the chilling nights of both the weekends of Dark Mofo, Transliminal promises to deliver electronic beats that will warm the soul. Transliminal will take over the Hobart City Hall and transform it into an immersive house and techno experience. This hedonistic immersion will provide a night to remember (and it’s expected to be a late one). Door sales are $50 or $20 after 2AM.
Dark Park is the centrepiece of Dark Mofo’s public art spaces, based in a large industrial space near the wharf. It is only a short distance from the feast so is the perfect place to go after you’ve eaten up. This is an immersive art experience on a large scale. The main drawcard this year is the immersive sound and light installation iy_project 136.1 Hz by Chris Levine and Marco Perry.
Each year at Dark Park there is the Ogoh-ogoh which is purged and burned. This year the sculpture is a wooden wolf. You write your fears onto a piece of paper and put them into the ogoh-ogoh, and then on the final Sunday of the festival (June 18), the ogoh-ogoh is burned and all the fears go up in smoke. It really is incredible to take part in.
All activities and art at the Dark Park are free of charge.
You probably remember the feminist punk group Pussy Riot and now you have the chance to hear the DJ set. The revolutionary Russian activists are putting on a DJ set for Dark Mofo followed by a Q&A session where audience members can ask questions. This is sure to be thoroughly interesting and something not to be missed.
Dark Mofo Films
Dark Mofo films is collated this year by Nick Batzias and James Hewison. Although the program has not been released yet, it is always full of cinematic wonder (both old and new). Films, live performances, and documentaries are all on the agenda. Dark Mofo Films takes place from Friday 2 June to Sunday 18 June over the State Cinema and Cinemona.
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So get yourself down Tasmania this winter and embrace the rituals of Dark Mofo. Warm yourself from the bitter midwinter cold with delicious food, immersive light shows, and an impressive musical line up.
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Images supplied by Dark Mofo and Moorilla