Embrace the Dark Side: Dark Mofo
Hobart Town got dark. Dark Mofo came. Dark Mofo conquered. And like Keyser Soze, it was gone.
For the sixth year, early to mid June was a brilliant time to be in Hobart Town. The Town got painted red, and dressed in black, for Dark Mofo was ‘ere.
Hobart now delays its inevitable (but way over hyped) hibernation from the cold (it’s not “cold-cold” to begin with!), to celebrate the dark, the light, the cold, the fire, the loud, the quiet, the buried and the risen.
Amidst all the dark and cold, light and fire, there is feasting. Plenty of feasting.
There was a controversy or two along the way. Free publicity for Dark Mofo. Just the way they like it.
This was Dark Mofo 2018.
When the tickets for Dark Mofo events come on sale late April, I was lucky to get tickets to the inaugural Night Mass and to Einsturzende Neubauten. Plus I got a season pass to the Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast for convenience.
Dark Mofo Begins!
The prelude to Dark Mofo was highlighted by the grand opening of the Zero exhibition at Mona, the Costume Ball and Dark and Dangerous Thoughts.
In week one, the news services rocketed in to action with issues about the inverted red crosses and artist Mike Parr being buried alive under a busy street for 3 days. He was quite comfy, so don’t get distressed.
Mike Parr is a veteran of Dark Mofo-esq performances. See him getting buried in his subterranean endurance art.
Turns out, some people were offended by the red crosses placed around the city as part of Dark Mofo. Strangely, I only see Kylo Ren’s lightsaber.
The news coverage and faux or real outrage created in Tasmania provided Dark Mofo free publicity like only it loves.
Seriously, people need to relax. Life is tough enough without making needless extra concern over trivial matters. Churchy or no churchy. Get a grip.
For me, Dark Mofo started with a slightly intoxicated trip into Night Mass on its opening night.
It was chaotic, as there was no schedule of performers at which venue or when.
There were long lines and it didn’t seem like it went to plan. My friends and I snaked our way through the various pathways, arenas, tunnels and bars, not finding anything with much certainty.
Seemingly as a consequence, Medici, the pizza shop on the periphery of the Night Mass border, had an excellent night’s trade. Awesome mini pizzas Medici. Top job.
Dark Mofo organisers rectified the situation for the Saturday night, providing a schedule for Night Mass performers for the remainder of the festival.
After witnessing the enormity of their brilliance in 2017, I was not going to miss Einsturzunde Neubauten and the dulcetones of their vocalist Blixa Bargeld. Stoked they came back.
Einsturzunde Neubauten presented Lament, a performance based on the aftermath of World War One from a German viewpoint.
It was immense.
The German noise merchants play standard instruments (guitar, bass guitar, keyboard, drums, etc) plus a range industrial instruments, including pipe-based percussion in their construction, put together in Hobart to avoid carting that weight around the world. The cost would be astronomical!
Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast
Winter Feast opened and welcomed the hordes to the hall and alfresco feasting set at Princes Wharf and neighbouring Salamanca Place. Unfortunately, due to illness, I wasn’t one of them.
All the very best of Tassie beer, wine, gin, cider, whisky to warm your gullet and wash down the enormous offerings available to you.
Hearty winter feast tucker was the choice of the famished.
The Dark Park Shows
Dark Park and the associated satellite activities began, and entranced and instagrammed their way into Dark Mofo folk lore.
These events and performances, are always a highlight of the festival – and they are free.
This year the light shows were Leviathan (I love that word) a laser light show and;
Musical Universalis, a light and orb spectacular with crescendoing noise for that world colliding effect.
Various levels of food trucks provide easy and more kid friendly and adult friendly (read chips, hot dogs, tacos, burgers) food fare than the feast.
Inside the main Dark Park shed was the Talisker Bar and the Moo Brew and Moorilla Black Diamond Ski Manor Bar.
You could get a Talisker whisky to go with your jaffle (toasted sandwich).
Moo Brew and Moorilla Black Diamond Ski Manor Bar catered for the wine and beer drinkers.
Entertainment within Dark Park was highlighted by local band Ewah on closing night.
The Return of the Great Blue Beam
2018 Dark Mofo saw the return of an old favourite. Spectra returned to Hobart! Emblazoning our night time sky with a portal-like beam rising to the heavens. Spectra was set up out at the Mona Museum premises in Berridale.
There was a plethora of musical performances on offer throughout the week. The cost was a hindrance, as these tickets don’t come cheap.
I’ll just name some names…. Blasphemy, Tim Minchin, Electric Wizard, St Vincent, Tanya Tagaq, Laurie Anderson…
Burn baby, burn!
The end came so fast. The winter festival culminated in the burning of the Ogoh-Ogoh. This year in the form of a humongous – fuck off type – Tasmanian cave spider. I didn’t know we have specific “cave spiders” in Tasmania. I know I don’t want to meet one, in a cave or other place.
Throughout the Dark Mofo festival, Dark Mofo goers had the opportunity to write down their fears and place them into a sac at Dark Park.
The concept of the burning, as I understand it, is to defeat your fears by burning them along with the Ogoh-Ogoh. Hopefully my fear has gone up in smoke too!!
Elvis has just left the building.
Tickets for 2019
Most events sell out quickly. Subscribe to Dark Mofo mailing list on darkmofo.net to be ready for next year.
Get yourself organised, maybe a friend or two, pick out some dates, get your tickets and be ready to embrace the dark side in 2019.