AU ABROAD

Five Reasons You Should Have Gone to Dark Mofo in Hobart

Over 11 days in June, the second annual Dark Mofo Festival transforms the cold winter of Hobart into a wonderland of arts and culture that locals and folk from the mainland come in their droves to experience. And if you didn't, well, Lauren Anseline was there and is letting you in on the five reasons you missed one hell of a good time. See you there next year?

Searchlights

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's 'Articulated Intersect' project comprised of 18 searchlights which roamed the skies over Dark Mofo directed by anyone who wished to sacrifice 10 minutes lining up with a throng of small boys and 3 minutes trying to get the lever to work while people yell instructions at you. But a spectacular result to witness, awe-inspiring and slightly chilling when you realise the inspiration behind the piece is the searchlights used on the Mexican border to track migrants. And also they were like playing with giant lightsabers so that made it worthwhile.

The Winter Feast

The shipping terminal was transformed into a glowing red forest of food. Macabre antlers and lights hung from the ceiling above thousands of feasters who could pick and choose whatever earthly delight took their fancy. Pick of the bunch was the Bruny Island Oysters, the Tasmanian Whisky distillers and the Mona BBQ but really the highlight was lazing on the lawn outside by a fire with an Overeem port cask whisky and being serenaded by passing musicians.

Sun O))) + Earth

Earth melted our faces off with powerful undulations of doom and drone guitars. Sun O))) took the stage amid smoke machines set at the highest notch wearing hooded robes, and then I was glad of the slightly more expensive ($10) earplugs I had because everything starts vibrating terrifyingly to the long drone of guitars. The effect is mesmerising as it is chilling when they start their chanting, like everyone would turn around and be wearing masks and Tom Cruise would walk in on an orgy. The scene perfectly complemented Mofo's "celebrate the dark" tagline although it had some punters who didn't know what they were in for running for the exit.

Grimoire

After sludging through the Sun O))) set (barely), Grimoire was a welcome change of pace with the Brisbane Hotel transformed into a dark playground for the partygoers of Hobart. I won't pretend that I've heard of half (if that) the bands that played but Sydney's Rainbow Chan did a stellar job of lightening the mood with her special blend of electro pop and rnb which the festivalgoers couldn't get enough of. Upstairs in the corridors and rooms where eerie installations, like a room plastered in cardboard with a little hut structure in the centre in which two stocking headed musicians twiddled with amps and keyboards or another where you had to wear a mask taped to a pair of glasses that make the lights look like it's 4am on an acid trip.

Hobart in general

It was phenomenal to see Hobart come alive with out of towners. It had a rep as a 'place to go to retire' but the injection of younger mortals who came for the festival and oohed and ahhed at the extravagance of David Walsh's weird and wonderful mind palace really took it to another plane. Definitely will go again but with more planning for gigs and tickets!

For more about Dark Mofo, head to: http://www.darkmofo.net.au/