if Ryoji Ikeda’s Spectra failed to persuade all Hobartians that an alien invasion may be in the near future, Robin Fox’s White Beam megawatt laser will undoubtedly make believers of us all. As the Spectra tower loomed above like an eye from outer space, toxic purple and violent blue laser beams cut through the trees of Salamanca Place, turning the misting rain into sparkling green light. Phasing bass frequencies emulated the sound I imagine brain-washing technology makes, filling the ears of every festival goer with an inescapable dull and digital roar. As the tunnel of sound and light dissipates, arms of fire leapt from the ground and reached into the sky, sending a heat wave washing over Princess Wharf 1.
Needless to say, the opening of the Dark Mofo Winter Feast was impressive. Hosted by Hobart City Council the Winter Feast is inspired by the pagan winter solstice and celebrates ideas of community, storytelling and gastronomy. Hobart’s Salamanca Place and Princess Wharf 1 have been transformed into an idyllic solstice celebration with wooden benches circling well-stoked fires as musicians tell stories and pigs roast over the open flames, so that many may enjoy their barbequed flesh. Inside the food hall, communal tables are decorated by lace and candle-lit jars. Art-deco chandeliers hang from the cavernous ceilings and fairy lights lead the way to food and drink stalls, filled with Tasmania’s best produce, craft beers and wine.
The Winter Feast is the perfect opportunity to indulge in the crème-de-la-crème of of Tasmania’s gourmet produce. The stalls vary from locally produced cheeses, chocolates and coffee to French patisseries and Japanese cuisine, housed in beautifully original art-deco stalls with individual relaxation areas. Local vineyards have also gathered for the Winter Feast, keeping the attendees well hydrated with wine. The Hobart Bookstore has a stall for featured author signings while A-list chefs Philippe Leban and Vince Trim periodically educate and advise Hobartian foodies via cooking demonstrations and talks. If all this celebration of food and frivolity isn’t enough for you, the Winter Feast also features performance art pieces and each night is closed with a DJ set.
Set in beautiful surrounds on Hobart’s water front, the feast operates from 4pm-10pm June 20-22.