Winter, Summer, Autumn or Spring, Tasmania really shows its true colours and they’re all beautiful. As music festivals go, you can’t keep a good Tasmanian away from them, even in the chill of winter. Perhaps when you’re looking for a place to live, study or holiday, you’ll consider Tasmania.
One thing’s for sure; you’ll always know there’s a festival coming up to help you celebrate the warm season and bring you out of the doldrums in the cold one.
It never really gets too hot in Tassie but what they call ‘summer’ there is really just a gorgeous, comfortable time of year when one of the best things to do is go to a music festival. Here’s what you could be going to.
- The Falls Music & Arts Festival (Dec/Jan) – When one year clocks over to the next, you have to be at the Falls Music & Arts Festival! You get three full days of outstanding local, national and international musical acts, with dazzling New Year’s Eve celebrations thrown in for good measure. The setting is the gorgeous Marion Bay on the east coast of Tasmania. You can camp onsite and enjoy non-stop entertainment from the hip hop, electronic, blues, roots and rock artists. Some of the world’s most beautiful beaches are a short walk or bus ride away too. Aside from the music, you can catch some amazing theatre, circus, comedy, cabaret and dance acts.
- Festable (Dec/Jan) – In the same way that the Falls festival is a 3-day New Year’s Eve event in an out-of-the-way Tassie location, Festable is too but it’s more laid-back. Its flavour is more local with grass roots music and arts on the program. Held in Wegeena in the state’s central north, the event is a bit ‘hippy’ with its peace-loving crowd and focus on environmental sustainability. Its line-up of more than 40 local and interstate performers is just one of the drawcards; the other is that you can BYO food or buy it cheaply onsite.
- Mona Foma (Jan) – Forget the relics for a minute; the Museum of Old and New Art in Launceston is the setting for the week-long Mona Foma Festival of Music and Art, aka ‘MOFO’. Let your thoughts wander to the darkest receptacles of your mind and you’ll find techno, indie rock, Polish punk, Ethiopian jazz, Swedish pop and other majorly corrupting genres! And you’ll find them all infiltrating your brain at MOFO, if you dare. Some big names show up for this gig each year. Pop your contacts in though because you may think you’re ‘seeing things’ when you spot the massive inflatable artworks.
- Party in the Paddock Festival (Feb) – A fairly new addition to the music festival circuit, Party in the Paddock is still finding its feet but it already has more than a few devotees. Since its inception in 2013, it’s grown from strength to strength and is affectionately known as “Tassie’s biggest little festival”. Whilst its idyllic country setting just twenty minutes outside of Launceston makes it perfect for the music’s ‘anti-social’ volume, it’s brilliant to think that it has attracted such huge names as the UK’s Lily Allen. Temps reach the thirties in the day but drop to paltry single digits in the evening so yes, you can camp there but don’t forget your blankie!
- A Festival Called Panama (Mar) – Picture an out-of-the-way, 50-acre property in north-eastern Tasmania, complete with boutique cider brewery and a galaxy full of stars shining down upon you. That’s A Festival Called Panama. When we say it’s an ‘intimate gathering’ of just 1,500 attendees, you’ll have to agree it’s one of the more exclusive events on the festival calendar. The line-up includes popular national and international acts, feats of organisation that can’t be underestimated. Panama’s reputation is so shiny that the event’s devotees grab tickets before they even know which artists will be performing! There is a ‘Safe Spaces’ culture which promotes acceptance of people of all sexualities and gender identifications, and kindness is the order of the day.
Go on, brave the cold and go out and catch some live music. It’ll do you good.
- The Festival of Voices (Jun/Jul) – It’s the country’s largest and favourite festival that celebrates the power of song and the voices that perform it. The Festival of Voices began as a way to wake up Hobart in the dead of winter and get people enthusiastic about happenings away from their home fireplaces. The main event is the ‘Big Sing Bonfire’ held in the historic precinct of Salamanca. A bonfire is lit and everyone crowds around and has a sing-along. At ‘Tasmania Sings’, 400 youths band together to sing in a group, a spectacle that brings a tear to the eye. In amongst those gigs, there are cabaret performances, jazz and contemporary shows and pop-up choir performances. Hobart’s City Hall comes into play, as do beautiful museums and churches whose acoustics are stunning.
- Devonport Jazz (Jul) – The Devonport Entertainment Centre plays host to the major events of Devonport Jazz, but you can catch old-timey and contemporary jazz performances across cafes, restaurants and other venues across the state’s north west coast. The festival is as much about Tasmania’s music as it is about dance, film and visual arts.
How about something extremely unique and utterly thrilling? Well, if you like classical music, then you need to clear three days in October on your calendar.
- Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival (Oct) – When you combine spectacular cuisine and classical music, you get a feast for all the senses. The Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival’s performances are held in some of the state’s most glorious historic homes and gardens. There are string quartets, talented soloists and dynamic duets. Imagine a candlelit concert of Handel’s music featuring a harpsichordist, soprano and violinist? That’s just one of the exciting items on the menu. You’ll need to go along to experience it in full flight.