Dark Mofo; a feast for the eyes, ears and belly

I had the pleasure of attending Dark Mofo over the weekend and what an amazing experiential event it was. Neon red lights, local produce, music and spectacle is what you’ll get at Dark Mofo.

As soon as you get off the plane and see a big neon red sign above Hobart airport telling you to “come into my web” it’s clear the whole city is going to be your playground. Thanks to a tip from a local, we sent a text to become part of a secret society for the weekend and were promptly told where free coffee would be in the morning and insider events would be at night. It started our weekend off right.

It’s always a good time going to Mona but going for Dark Mofo is extra special. This year the new exhibition launched for Dark Mofo was called Zero and the use of light and colour in the pieces gave us a taste of what would be in store at the Dark Park, Winter Feast and Night Mass.

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At Mona I also sampled the cocktails that would be featured at Winter Feast, as a whiskey drinker my favourite was the Behold Fashioned, described by Mona as such:

After forty days, David emerged from the desert. ‘Smoked bacon and dehydrated banana-infused whiskey,’ he proclaimed. ‘With maple syrup cognac and bitters. Invent them and pour them into my face. For I am thirsty, and have also lost my mind.’

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Heading into the cold at 5pm we immersed ourselves in fire, lasers and sound at Dark Park. An instagramers dream, the cold and rain didn’t bother anyone. The steam coming from mulled gin cups and embers flying from huge drum fires added to the spectacle of it all. We could have spent hours and hours playing with red lasers in a pitch black room but we had a feast to attend.

Walking along the wharf it finally dawned on me that this whole experience had been enhanced by a sound that was all around Hobart. A soft drum beat that gave the city its own soundtrack throughout the weekend, I have no idea where the sound was coming from but with this festival I’m sure the amps were well hidden for the best effect. Everything at Dark Mofo is well thought out and cleverly integrated.

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Huge flames shooting into the air and neon red sign that says Dark Mofo marks the entrance into the Winter Feast. Full of local produce and red neon crosses, the Winter Feast is all about finding a table and sharing some oysters, lamb and red wine with friends. Within minutes we were talking to proud locals who couldn’t wait to tell us about what else we needed to see and and taste. It felt like Dark Mofo made everyone proud to be Tasmanian.

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At 10pm we run in the rain to Night Mass. An event taking over a city block in the middle of Hobart. Each hour a new experience is opened to ticket holders and each is more unique than the next. At 10pm we watched a movie in an old warehouse, at 11pm we climbed a back staircase to watch a woman in a plastic bubble singing about the problem with female beauty standards, at midnight we walked into a theatre to watch some R&B followed by wrestling matches, and at 1am I’m told a rave started in the basement of an office building - but I must confess I was in bed by then.

I’m still trying to unpack everything I experienced at Dark Mofo, it’s an event everyone interested in food, art and culture should experience at least once. I’ll be going back next year, planning to stay longer, see more bands and bring more of my friends along.

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Photo credit to my friend and photographer @emilia_luisa