In decades past, the good residents of Hobart often referred to their home town – the capital of Tasmania and now a burgeoning city of 218,000 – as ‘Slowbart’. There never seemed to be much going on here, much less anywhere else in the state. Local food and wine were mired in 1976; the arts scene danced a slow shuffle to the ‘finding funding’ blues; the odd sporting event and – with the honorable exceptions of Dire Straits in 1986 and Faith No More in 1993 – no big-name international bands ever toured there. A listless malaise permeated the entire island: Tassie was, quite literally, a non-event. Fast-forward to 2019… Haven’t things changed!
So theres’s something for everyone, Taste of Tasmania, Falls Festival, Wooden Boat Festival. Ten Days on the Island, Panama, Non Conformity in Queenstown, MoFo, Festival Of Voices, Winter Feast in the Huon and then there’s my favourite David Walshes Dark Mofo full of dark journeys if that’s what floats your boat.
MONA FOMA (aka Mofo ) is the Festival of Music & Art, held in January. Under the auspices of Brian Ritchie, the bass player from the Violent Femmes, it will be as edgy, progressive and unexpected as the museum itself. Then, in the still depths of the southern winter, Dark Mofo arrives. Skirting the frayed edges of Tasmania’s guilty conscience, this noir package delivers a taut, seductive and joyful series of happenings, installations and performances that will rattle your rusty cage.
So what’s next for this formal penal colony and its capital known as slowbart, probably an update of infrastructure and facilities if ten year continual tourism growth is anything to go by. An Island home that has enormous potential some say, but not to quick so we don’t drown in visitors and the accompanying traffic mayhem. Go slow enjoy… wave to a local.
Mike Briggs, Hobart 2019