Winter brings Voices en masse
Dark Mofo's big 2017 talking point has been Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch's three-hour performance featuring the splashed-about blood of a freshly slaughtered bull.
But as always with Dark Mofo, there is more. Topping up acts announced earlier, three members of Russia's feminist punk band, Pussy Riot, will attend a screening of the group's documentary Act & Punishment.
'Masha' Alyokhina, who was jailed for 'hooliganism' in 2012, Alexandra Lukyanova and producer Alexander Cheparukhin will answer questions on the way the radical band managed to put feminism and LGBT rights into the spotlight in tightly controlled Russia.
Other late inclusions are a performance from Hiatus Kaiyote frontwoman, Nai Palm, a second Twin Peaks performance from Xiu Xiu, British performers Gaika and Kojey Radical, rapper Le1f, Chloe Alison Escott and Aussie bands Gold Class, Scott and Charlene’s Wedding and RVG.
The festival that makes real fun of Tasmania's winter started with a bang on 8 June with a record opening-night roll-up for the Winter Feast, following a 110 per cent jump in overall ticket sales. It will conclude with the customary nude solstice swim in the River Derwent on 21 June.
This year's Festival of Voices will open on the East Coast before heading to Hobart for performances featuring talented vocalists in unprecedented numbers.
Buckland, Bicheno and Coles Bay will seize the limelight initially as FoV Coastal takes world-class performers out of the cities.
The much-loved festival, which attracted 30,000 visitors last year, will open on 30 June and run until 16 July.
New Executive Director, Peter Choraziak, said: “It will be a lot bigger, it will be a lot more inclusive, there will be a lot more singers down here this time.
“The singing community will be bigger and there will be a lot more major concerts.”
Headline performers in the 13th Festival of Voices will include The Umbilical Brothers, Sarah Blasko, Toni Childs and the a capella group The Idea of North.
There will also be a bigger range of choirs, community sing-alongs and pop-up performances.
Popular events such as Voicebox at Hobart’s City Hall and the Big Sing Bonfire at Salamanca will be back.
There will also be a wide range of singing workshops in many genres, including pop, gospel, choral, and a capella.
The Premier, Will Hodgman, said half of the people attending in 2016 were from interstate or overseas.
“Festival of Voices is another great event growing in appeal, attracting more people to Tasmania and invigorating our winter,” he said.
Even before FoV falls silent, the grounds of Willie Smith’s Apple Shed in the Huon Valley will be ringing with music, frivolity and feasting.
Up to 18,000 people are expected to attend the three-day Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival from 14-16 July.
The event draws its inspiration from the valley's apple heritage and claims its Saturday night wassail to be the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere (a wassail is a noisy pre-Christian ceremony designed to frighten evil spirits away from seasonal crops, such as apples).
The wassail will be preceded by a Friday night Resurrection of the Sun, inspired by a traditional Hungarian folk story and culminating in the setting alight of a 10-metre tall "burning man".
In addition, the popular Storytellers' Tent will return, along with singers, Morris dancers, fire, hearty food and a lot of fine cider.
Renowned interstate bands Ramshackle Army and The Scrims will be supported by indigenous artist Frank Yamma and a selected line up of Tasmanian talent.
Event Director, Sam Reid, said: “We want people to know that the valley is a place to visit all year round. We are really proud of the impact the festival has on the Huon Valley and the Tasmanian economy over a traditionally quiet time of the year."
Last year, the festival involved around 50 local businesses and injected more than $1 million into the economy.
Before winter's onset, the mural town of Sheffield enjoyed a spell in the festival spotlight.
Powerful lasers projected an animated, historic story of Tasmania on to the rocky face of Mount Roland in May while spectators watched from packed cars parked on local properties.
An atmospheric soundtrack composed by Dean Stevenson accompanied the dazzling Firelight show, which closed to enthusiastic horn honking from the audience.
Firelight’s debut was a special moment for project manager Des Brown, who spent two years working with a small team to bring the event to life.
“It was a good outcome that we’ve been able to pull it off,” Mr Brown told The Advocate.
He now hopes “the powers that be” will get behind Firelight to help establish it as another iconic, Tasmanian event. The three-day festival drew tourists from across Tasmania and interstate, as well as locals.
Image courtesy of Dark Mofo
6 June 2017, Edition 184