Everything We're Excited to See at This Year's Mona Foma
Get down to let loose in Tassie.
February 07, 2024
Close out the summer with a wild and wacky bang at Mona's annual festival of boundary-defying culture, music and art. The iconoclastic Hobart gallery, performance space, and purveyor of beer and wine, is known for subverting expectations so you can expect an eccentric and unforgettable few days down south at Mona Foma.
Now in its 16th year, the 2024 incarnation of the festival runs from Thursday, February 15 to Sunday, February 25 in nipaluna/Hobart and from Thursday, February 29 to Saturday, March 2 in Launceston.
There are morning meditations with cross-cultural musical collaborations and captivating art exhibits for those after a more reflective experience. On the flip side of fun, there are gigs galore and late-night bashes for those keen for a boogie.
The program features everything from Taiwanese artist Yahon Chang painting with a human-sized brush and Emeka Ogboh's gin-centred exhibit to musical headliners Queens of the Stone Age, Courtney Barnett, Paul Kelly and cult favourites TISM in a rare live show.
Check out our picks of the program below to kick-start your festival planning or get you inspired to book your Tassie getaway.
If you can only make it to one event, the quintessential Mona Foma experience can be found at the Mona Sessions. On the evenings of Friday, February 23 to Sunday, February 25, you can enjoy live music from international artists on the sprawling museum lawns.
Suitable for all ages, Mona Sessions features performances by Scottish space-rock stalwarts Mogwai; Kutcha Edwards and The Australian Art Orchestra; Japanese punk-pop band Shonen Knife; Canadian quartet Holy Fuck; French-Korean siblings (both under the age of 15) Isaac et Nora; and Lonnie Holley with Moor Mother and Irreversible Entanglements.
Keep the grooves flowing after the Mona Sessions at Faux Mo. The Granada Tavern opposite Mona will become abuzz with late-night beats and boogies from 10.30pm until 2am on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, with a more chill afternoon sesh on Sunday, February 25.
Catch sets from POOKIE, Soju Gang and m8riarchy, along with melodic beats by Mama Snake from Denmark, Afrobeats by Nigerian-born Emeka Ogboh, and mellow house by Kiwi brothers Chaos in the CBD.
Queensland dance collective Dancenorth is known for compelling performances which weave together contemporary dance and powerful storytelling. Wayfinder is no exception.
Viewers will be immersed in Dancenorth's spellbinding choreography, set to a score by Grammy award-nominated Hiatus Kaiyote with a stage and costumes designed by visual artist Hiromi Tango. The performance will only run for three nights from Thursday, February 22 to Saturday, February 24, so be sure to book in quick.
Boats (a gin and art experiment)
Multifaceted artist Emeka Ogboh will not only be spinning a DJ set at Faux Mo, but has also developed an immersive exhibit. Boats explores themes of migration and belonging through a bespoke gin blended by the Nigerian-born creative.
Festival-goers can sample the gin and snacks accompanied by a sound installation at Detached. If that's not enough, Ogboh is collaborating with Mona's executive chef to incorporate the gin and West African flavours at various Mona restaurants during the festival.
It wouldn't be Mona Foma without show-stopping, thought-provoking works — and what's a bigger statement than a 70-tonne sailing ship moored at the waterfront to spread awareness about climate change?
The boat, named Arka Kinari, is musical duo and married couple Filastine and Nova's home, creative work, transport and travelling stage. The pair are inviting visitors aboard to learn about the ship's sustainable resources — which include water desalination, solar power, wind travel and waste management — and will also be performing their music against a backdrop of cinematic visuals on the deck of the ship. Don't miss it.
In Launceston, gym and rave bros collide at the adults-only Dekoor. Local Tasmanian artists ROOKE will put on an exciting dance, theatre and circus performance in a working gym, where audience members can wander through the space throughout the show.
For some added fun, consent tokens will be available if you're open to being touched, carried or led away by performers. These tokens can of course be removed or passed on if you change your mind during the event. After the show, stick around for a party with DJs and performances across three levels of the gym until 1am.
The Shruti Sessions
Journey across musical borders at The Shruti Sessions, where musicians from Hindustani and Rajasthani backgrounds collaborate and experiment with Australian instrumentalists. Experience something new at each performance, whether you drop in for a Morning Meditation or catch the action at the Mona Sessions.
Performers include notable tabla player Bobby Singh, percussionist Benjamin Walsh, OAM recipient and saxophonist Sandy Evans, sarangi player Asin Khan Langa and renowned slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya.
How about a lazy day of lounging and swims followed by an evening concert at the spectacular Cataract Gorge? And what's more, this live show — featuring the elusive TISM, Mulga Bore Hard Rock, FFLORA x Grace Chia and Cash Savage and The Last Drinks — is completely free.
If you'd like to level up your experience, you can opt for the Peacock Pass which grants you access to the Peacock Bar, a private entrance and a viewing area with seating.
Find out more and book your tickets at the Mona Foma website.
Concrete Playground Trips
Book unique getaways and adventures dreamed up by our editors