Five Things You Need To Do At Dark Mofo 2019
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Dark Mofo is easily one of, if not Australia’s coolest culture, food and music gatherings. Taking place in Hobart from June 6 to 23 (ending on the Winter Solstice), there’s no better time to leave the mainland and take in everything that Hobart has to offer. Here’s our top tips and picks for getting the most out of the festival.
#1 Firstly, plan ahead
Simply put, this isn’t an event you simply show up to without plans or tickets. You’ll still have an amazing time, of course, but you’ll miss out on plenty. Dark Mofo is spread all throughout Hobart (and surrounds) – most events are individually ticketed, it can take time to get around, and there are so many blink-and-you’ll-miss-it installations and performances that add so much to the experience.
It’s those in-between moments that make it so special: Ambling around the waterfront at sunset before dinner, wandering through the beguiling installations of A Forest; getting lost between MONA’s deliberately bamboozling layers, enjoying the deep warmth of a fireside Hot Toddy before (and after) a concert.
Also: it gets cold. Pack appropriately. Book your flights and accom early, and above all, enter with an open, curious mind.
What: A Forest, Wed June 12 to Sun June 16 , Wed June 19 to Sun June 23
Where: 79 Melville Street, Hobart
How much: $20
#2 Eat everything. Seriously, everything
Hobart’s burgeoning reputation as one of Australia’s top foodie destinations is no longer a well-kept secret. If you’ve got spare room after breakfast at Pigeon Hole and lunch at Dier Makr or The Agrarian Kitchen (a half-hour drive from the city centre, and the perfect stop on the way to, or from, Mount Field National Park, this restaurant is honestly heaven), you’ve got dozens of top-notch options left for dinner.
That said, if you’re only visiting for a weekend, look no further than the Winter Feast. You’ve seen the photos: long rows of candlelit tables, neon crosses hanging upside down, endless stalls of hearty heart food and local wine, cider and whisky. But the photos have nothing on the scents or tastes. Make sure you arrive hungry – and early, to avoid the queues and score yourself a great seat at the table.
What: Winter Feast, Fri June 14 to Sun June 16, Wed June 19 to Sun 23 June
Where: Princes Wharf 1
How much: $50 + bf for priority entry every night
#3 Stray from the beaten musical path
Many of Dark Mofo’s headline shows are sold out already, so unless you’ve already nabbed tickets, or you got lucky with the festival’s ticket resales, you might miss out on catching Nicolas Jaar, Jónsi or FKA Twigs.
Fret not. Some of the festival’s best events are safely, intentionally, tucked away, in the farthest corners from the spotlight. Everyone from Briggs and Ecca Vandal to Kelsey Lu and These New South Wales will be popping up at Altar, for which you can only buy tickets on the door.
Discover cutting-edge German music over two nights of “high-concept and audio-visual artistry”, at Laterne, by Berlin Atonal. And if you’re feeling especially adventurous, challenge yourself with the experimental sounds of Borderlands, or an all-out metal assault at the annual Hymns to the Dead.
#4 Get cultured
No trip to Hobart is complete without a visit to MONA, but the ever controversial, confronting and endlessly unique museum/gallery pulls out all the stops for Dark Mofo (which is unsurprising, considering they’re run by the same folks). Siloam will feature artworks by Ai Weiwei and Alfredo Jaar, among others. Simon Denny’s astonishing new exhibition will take you into an augmented reality mine.
And from sunset to sunrise each night from Thursday 20 June to Sunday 23 June, Ryoji Ikeda will shoot a gigantic beacon into the sky. The art doesn’t stop at MONA, either: the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery will host an exhibition by Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Julie Gough that shines a light on the impact of colonialism around the state, and if latex is your thing, head to the Avalon Theatre to experience a twisted, colourful farmyard featuring giant pigs and human-sized piglets, by Japanese artist Saeborg.
#5 Light your fears on fire (literally)
There are hundreds of exhibitions and installations throughout Hobart that you’ll want to try and see (many of which you’ll experience by simply wandering around (again, another reason you’ll never want to be in a rush during your visit). Ogoh Ogoh isn’t an installation so much as Pagan therapy.
Throughout the festival, you’ll be able to write down your fears, worries, regrets and wishes, and shove them into the belly of a gigantic sculpture of a native swift parrot. Then, on June 23, a procession will lead the sculpture to the waterfront, where it’ll be sacrificed by fire (courtesy of pyrotechnical artist Alex Podger) in a “ritual of purification and renewal”.
Even if you aren’t in Hobart for the final burning, there’s something strangely cathartic about knowing that your worries and anxieties have been grilled to a sizzling, ashy crisp.
What: Ogoh Ogoh, Fri June 14 to Sun June 16, Wed June 19 to Sun 22 June
Where: The Goods Shed, Macquarie Point
How much: Free
(All images: DarkLab Media)