Mona Foma 2019 is going to be like any good road trip: “fraught with potential danger but also a sense of adventure,” according to curator Brian Ritchie.
The program has officially launched, ahead of the festival January 13-20.
The week-long event will bring a mix of eclectic and eccentric acts from Tasmania, the mainland, and the world to Launceston, in the first time the award-winning festival will be fully based in the north.
Ritchie said he was particularly looking forward to Oneohtrix Point Never, a cutting-edge visual and electronic composer.
The American artist will be performing Myriad: a four-part performance of medieval folk, electronic dance music, R&B, and science fiction-esque visuals.
Ritchie also selected Swedish pop hip-hop artist Neneh Cherry as a probably highlight.
Internationally acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett, who used to live in Tasmania, will be returning to the state for Mona Foma, with critical darling Julia Holter representing ethereal dream-pop.
There will also be traditional Ethiopian music fused with jazz and Afro-Latin grooves in the form of Mulatu Astatke and the Black Jesus Experience, and psychedelic Saharan desert rock from Central Niger with Les Filles de Illighadad.
Magisterial-electro-pop-meets-choral-soul-meets-warped-gospel-meets-dancefloor-glam will be brought to Launceston by Nakhane.
Visually, Australian artists Kenny Pittock, Heath Franco, Lou Conboy, Lou Hubbard, Parer Studio, Pete Matilla, and Rosie Deacon will have their works scattered in venues including Sawtooth, the Workers Club, Cataract Gorge, and other surprise locations.
Like last year’s mini-Mona Foma, the festival hub will be the Queen Victoria and Museum and Art Gallery, with even more of the space utilised for next year’s event.
The week of music, dance, art, and all things joy will wrap up with the Faux Mo afterparty, a tradition established at Hobart’s Mona Foma.
Ritchie said that the festival would not only be filled with “kick-ass musical anarchy and artistic abandon”, but also be a “social engineering stunt,” as it was their foray into bridging the Hobart-Launceston divide.
There could also be some unexpected faces there.
“Keeping with our festival tradition of inviting a group of people we think could love their first-time Mona Foma experience, we’ve extended an invite to the Amish community via a massive billboard that's just been erected in Pennsylvania,” Ritchie said.
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