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Celebrating Artistic Chaos: MONA FOMA Festival 2024.

In a day and age where we've become passive consumers of artistic expression, glued to screens and devices, the MONA FOMA Festival emerges as a beacon of active engagement. No longer a mere spectator sport, this festival, set against the backdrop of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Berriedale, Australia, challenges the notion of curated experiences. Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie leads a fearless team of curators, turning the festival into a dynamic dialogue with its audience.

MONA FOMA is not just a celebration of music and performances; it's a lamentation against the dystopian humdrum of our daily lives. Its curatorial psalm reverberates with a baseline concentration of awesomeness and eclecticism, transcending the usual roster of well-liked artists. Ritchie and his team curate an experience where art seeps into unexpected corners, free from the shackles of pretentiousness that often plague artistic endeavors.

Often dubbed a "subversive, adult Disneyland," MONA FOMA goes beyond mere subversion. It thrives on attention to detail and a complete disregard for conventions. Artists become residents, re-interacting with challenges, audiences, and the unique festival site. Like Disneyland, MONA is a self-contained microcosm that opens doorways to new worlds, offering surprises year after year.

The laissez-faire approach at MONA FOMA seems to work seamlessly with its audience. Unlike other festivals, the grounds are devoid of left-behind trash, and there's a refreshing absence of intrusive branded advertisements. The brand, in this case, is the atmosphere itself—a genuine, unpretentious good time.

Hobart transforms into a haven for art during MONA FOMA. The festival spans various iconic locations, from the Theatre Royal to the Salamanca Arts Centre in Hobart but also extending its magic to Launceston, creating a city-wide artistic tapestry. The festival extends beyond the museum's walls, embedding itself into the soul of Tasmania at large.

As the summer of 2024 approaches, MONA FOMA promises three weekends of unpredictable music and art. Festival director Brian Ritchie, embracing the chaos and unpredictability, has curated a lineup that blends humor, absurdity, and artistic brilliance. The program, spanning from February 15 to March 2, showcases big-name locals like Courtney Barnett alongside lesser-known international artists, ensuring a diverse and eclectic experience.

Mona Sessions, held on the Mona lawn in Hobart, offers an exclusive concert by headliners Queens of the Stone Age, alongside acts like Mogwai, Kutcha Edwards, and Shonen Knife. The festival continues its tradition of unique settings, such as Arka Kinari, a performance on a 70-tonne schooner by Seattle producer Filastine and partner Nova.

Nigerian artist and DJ Emeka Ogboh takes the fusion of art, music, and food to a deeper level with "Boats," adding yet another layer to the festival's rich tapestry. Brian Ritchie consciously designed the program to work in bite-sized chunks, ensuring that attendees can immerse themselves in the experience, even if they can't catch the entire festival.

MONA FOMA 2024 is not just a festival; it's an artistic rebellion against the mundane. So, mark your calendars from February 15 to March 2, embrace the chaos, and get ready for an unforgettable journey into the heart of unbridled creativity. Tickets are on sale now—don't miss your chance to be a part of this unruly celebration of art and music.


Words by AW.


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