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Hedonist delight at MONA FOMAHobart, Tasmania

There is nothing on earth like Tasmania’s MONA. From the rumours surrounding its enigmatic, casino-busting creator, David Walsh, to its cavernous spaces more akin to a Bond villain’s lair than an art gallery, Australia’s largest privately funded museum has fast become one of the country’s seriously hot spots.

If you’re thinking it’s not worth hopping Bass Strait just for a museum, then think again. Twice a year, Walsh and his minions bring Tassie to life with MONA’s dual festivals: Dark Mofo in June and MONA FOMA in January. The two seven- to 10-day events are extensions of the museum’s bacchanalian themes, fusing international and local art, music, food and drink into a defiant and ballsy contradiction to any festival Australia has on offer.

In one day you can fill your stomach with locally sourced food while listening to Tibetan throat singing, experience sensory overload as international composers choreograph a giant industrial laser, and lose your mind to The Presets as they blow the roof off Macquarie Wharf.

The best part, however, takes place after the sun goes down. Without a doubt one of the highlights of both events is Faux Mo, the festival’s after-party. Held on each evening of the program, this sweaty, hedonistic communion will have you cheek to cheek with transvestite burlesque dancers, throwing your hands up in the air in a converted coin laundry and wishing on everything you hold dear that they don’t announce last drinks.

get there

Return transport tickets (ferry or bus) are available from Brooke Street Pier in Hobart for around US$15–$30.

MONA FOMA three day passes are US$105–$135 and gigs cost US$20–$75 per ticket plus booking fees.

Ferries depart every 60 or 90 minutes, depending on the time of day. You’ll really need to squeeze your energy reserve to take full advantage of all the party time.

There is no parking at MONA for MONA FOMA and Dark Mofo festivals.

MONA is only open to pass-holders during festivals.

Tags: art, festival, gallery, hit list, hobart, music, nightlife, pride, unusual experience

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