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Launceston's First Mona Foma Has Revealed Its Impressive and Eclectic 2019 Lineup

It has everything from real human body parts to onesie exhibitions to Courtney Barnett — and free tickets for the local Amish community.
By Sarah Ward
October 12, 2018
By Sarah Ward
October 12, 2018

If there's one thing that you can count on at MONA's arts festivals, it's that they never deliver the exact same experience twice. That's doubly true of next year's Mona Foma, which is making the huge move to Launceston — and doing so with a seriously noteworthy lineup.

After hosting part of the 2018 event, the entirety of 2019's Mona Foma will take place across the Tasmanian city, shifting from its previous home of Hobart. Arriving in town from January 13–20, it'll bring everything from music legends to thumping beats to new Aussie heroes to the stage. Attendees can also expect a sensory blend of music, theatre and art, an exhibition that combines creativity with scientific specimens, and oh-so-many onesies. Of course, the list goes on.

Headlining this year's bill are Swedish star Neneh Cherry and Welsh electronic music icons Underworld, so prepare to get in a buffalo stance and get born slippy. They'll be joined by Mona Foma's big Aussie premiere and exclusive: a four-part performance by producer and composer Oneohtrix Point Never and the MYRIAD ensemble. Also called Myriad, it's framed from the perspective of an alien intelligence that has absorbed earth's entire history, and mixes the seemingly unlikely combination of medieval folk, dance music, R&B, and sci-fi imagery.

Music-wise, Mona Foma-goers can also catch Courtney Barnett on her return to Tassie, as well as Mulatu Astatke and the Black Jesus Experience as they blend Ethiopian music with jazz and Afro-Latin. Or, there's Finland's Satu Vänskä playing her 292-year-old violin with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Aussie stoner rockers Bansheeland doing their psychedelic grunge thing and Central Niger's all-female Les Filles de Illighadad with their inimitable brand psychedelic Saharan desert rock.

On the arts side of things, Art of the Body: Health, Beauty and Desire brings together a heap of artists to respond to medical body part specimens — and the actual body parts will be on display as well. Then there's Onesie World 2.0, a new iteration of Adele Varcoe and Self-Assembly's onesie extravaganza, with the designer and label whipping up 2000 DIY all-in-ones.

Other highlights include morning meditation sessions in Cataract Gorge, endurance performance artist Ben Landau's 24-hour attempt to keep humming non-stop, as well as a rather curious inclusion from British composer artist Nick Ryan: a machine that tracks the position of 27,000 pieces of space junk, then transforms them into sound as they pass overhead.

And, with Mona Foma committed to inviting a new audience to experience the festival each year, they're focusing on the Amish of Lancaster County for 2019 — which means putting up a bunch of billboards around Pennsylvania and letting the local Amish into the festival for free. For everyone else, tickets go on sale from midday on Monday, October 15.

Mona Foma runs from January 13–20, 2019, in Launceston, Tasmania. For more information or to grab tickets from midday on Monday, October 15, head to

Published on October 12, 2018 by Sarah Ward
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