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9 Reasons Why You Should Head to Mona Foma This Weekend

Tasmania's spellbinding festival returns for another year of music, art and thought-provoking social commentary.

The Old Tafe Building, Mona Foma 2023. Image credit: Moorilla Gallery
The Old Tafe Building, Mona Foma 2023. Image credit: Moorilla Gallery

Summer is festival season, and one festival we insist you have on your radar is the ever-popular Mona Foma. This year, a whopping 370 artists spanning diverse disciplines and genres are bringing their talent to Tasmania for two weeks of discovery, thinking, dancing, and debauchery.

Having already taken place in Launceston (17-19 February), and Hobart now primed for the coming weekend (24-26 February), the festival has come back loud and proud after two challenging years.

We were lucky enough to attend the Launceston portion of the festival - and it's one for the books. A treasure trove of dreamscapes and big thinkers, where hyperlocal is the new global. Drinking, dancing and exploring the Old Tafe Building, morning meditations, thought-provoking modern dance theatre performances, and sinking to the bottom of the Cataract Gorge pool to listen to a recorded soundscape of underwater electronica were just some of the many highlights. 

Love a last-minute weekend trip? To help you plan your trip to Mona Foma Hobart, we've rounded up our must-see events and performances. Check out the full line up announced and buy your tickets on the website.


Photo Credit: Mona Foma. Centre - Chloe Kim, photo by Jared Leibowitz

Catch Some Live Music Outdoors at Mona Sessions

Spend a warm summer evening on the MONA lawns in Hobart soundtracked by performances from a thrilling range of local and international acts. Riot grrrl band Bikini Kill, pop provocateur (and general icon) Peaches, Korean jazz musician Chloe Kim, acclaimed indie-folk singer Angel Olsen and many more acts will take to the stage across the weekend from Friday to Sunday. There'll also be bars and food pop ups on site to keep you satiated.

Image Credit: Climate Notes, Anna McMichael and Louise Devenish, photo by Lucian Fuhler; Tomas' Garden, Cici (Xiyue) Zhang; and PhycoForms, Pneu, photo by Shimroth Thomas.

Marvel at Modern, Magical Art 

Experience the unique spirit of MONA by visiting the captivating exhibits and immersive pop-ups. Tomas' Garden by Cici (Xiyue) Zhang will invite you into a magical landscape where touching the art is not only welcomed, it's encouraged. Walk into a 'speculative vision of a future home' fashioned using seaweed-derived products in Pneu, by designers Shimroth Thomas, Rachel Vosila, Joshua Castle. 

Experience an Eclectic Mix of Female Musicians & Dance Performances

If you're a lover of music, Mona Foma 2023 delivers big. Contemporary dance artist Jenni Large will bring a distinctly Mona performance to life in Body Body Commodity, as five female dancers move fluidly around pastel foam objects. Amber McCartney and Tasdance will premiere a new dance performance in Mona's sensational Nolan Gallery.

The searing sounds of Persian music will electrify audiences at Nolan Theatre and on the Mona Lawns on Saturday, with musicians from Van Diemen’s Band and Ensemble Kaboul playing old instruments of the east and west including the rubub (Afghan lute), eastern percussion and drums.

And, you'll be able to see musician-of-many-talents Shoeb Ahmad in Hobart across the weekend of 24–26 February.

Nico Muhly: Artist in Residence at St John's Anglican's Church, Launceston
Nico Muhly: Artist in Residence at St John's Anglican's Church, Launceston

Nico Muhly: Artist in Residence 

Nico Muhly has joined Mona Foma 2023, a composer, pianist and curator who writes and composes orchestral music, works for the stage, music for film, choral, chamber and sacred music. He’ll be working throughout the festival, and his works can be seen at both A Life Sentence with Nico Muhly (TSO Chorus + Nico Muhly) and The TSO plays Nico Muhly, the first being an interactive choral performance where the audience dictates the entire program by choosing poems that move / interest them, and the choir performing works in response to their choices. The second, TSO will perform works from Nico’s expansive, diverse repertoire, featuring Veronique Serret on electric violin and the vocals of countertenor Nicholas Tolputt.

Find out more here

Songs of Freedom at MONA. Image credit: Big hART
Songs of Freedom at MONA. Image credit: Big hART

Hear First Nations Stories Through Songwriting & Film 

Songs of Freedom on MONA lawns will bring together an inter-cultural band of local musicians, family and friends to bring attention to the high numbers of Aboriginal young people in incarceration. On the film front, you'll be able to see Christmas Birrimbirr from Miyarrka Media, a documentary from Arnhem Land about ‘connecting cultures through feeling and tradition'.

Climate Notes. Image credit: Louise Devenish
Climate Notes. Image credit: Louise Devenish

Reflect on the Impacts of Climate Change

Hobart's Rosny Park will be a reflective space where visitors can watch performances or contribute letters that capture the impacts of climate change. Climate Notes will include five works for violin and percussion inspired by thought-provoking letters from scientists on their own feelings about this global crisis. 

Late Night Sessions. Image credit: Moorilla Gallery
Late Night Sessions. Image credit: Moorilla Gallery

The Party (F.K.A FAUX MO) at Old Mercury Print Hall

Across the weekend, enjoy late nights of pleasure, play, and freedom at this inclusive late-night pleasure party (in a never before used print hall). Expect DJs, dancing, karaoke portals, and art interventions. 

Find out more here
Queer Woodchop. Image credit: Mona Foma
Queer Woodchop. Image credit: Mona Foma

Queer Woodchop

Hobart’s Friday festivities kick off at 3:30pm on the tennis court at Mona with The Queer Woodchop, where the classically male-dominated world of timbersports meets joyous queerness in an interactive spectacle of flying wood and fabulousness. No tickets required. 

Morning Meditations in Fairy Dell, Cataract Gorge. Image credit: Mona Foma
Morning Meditations in Fairy Dell, Cataract Gorge. Image credit: Mona Foma

Morning Meditations 

Moments of quiet, music-borne reveries and opportunities for reflection were had in the Fairy Dell at the Gorge in Launceston, and soon the same can be said for a morning hour in the LongHouse in nipaluna / Hobart.


Drank, Danced & Explored in an Old Tafe Building

Before it's transformed into a development, the old 60-room Tafe building in Launceston has played host to an impressive lineup of musicians and artists. The reUNIÓN district was ground zero for Fantastic Futures for the exploration of ideas, immersive art, absurdist theatre, and the best in local drinking and dining. 

Floors of Heaven at Cataract Gorge Swimming Pool. Image credit: Mona Foma
Floors of Heaven at Cataract Gorge Swimming Pool. Image credit: Mona Foma

Listened to Electronic Music in a Swimming Pool

Launceston's Cataract Gorge, one of the city's most striking and popular spots, provided the perfect backdrop to an underwater gig at Mona Foma 2023. The free event – which was accessible to the public – saw the popular swimming pool transformed into a music venue, where electric UK artist's Leon Vynehall’s Floors of Heaven played out via underwater speakers. As you soaked up the sounds and sun, well, It really couldn't have gotten more MONA than this.

Loving our guide to Mona Foma 2023? Find more inspiration for your Tasmania trip with our bucket-list guide of things to do in Tasmania, and make sure you head to the gorgeous Cradle Coast as part of your stay. 

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