A Rumbling in the Guts of the Solstice
The Feast: Catering • June 18, 2015
DARK MOFO 2015
Words Scilla Sayer, Images Andrew Wilson
As the shortest days close and heartbeats are sent to the heavens via light lasers from the centre of Hobart, a distinct rumbling in the guts of the city can be heard at the water’s edge. The doors of Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast are opened once again on Princes Wharf.
On first impressions, it is akin to stepping willingly into Dante’s Inferno. There is plenty of fire and just a touch of brimstone to heighten our excitement – or maybe, it is Hitchcock’s film The Birds?
The precinct is ablaze with braziers, beer stalls and burlesque. Inside the wharf building, red and black predominate in lighting, costume and décor and the thematic intention is to create a feeling of being in a bird’s nest. This is no cosy, mossy or wool-lined circle of security. The ceiling is hung with uprooted trees and leafless cuttings arranged in ways that bring pterodactyls rather than pardalotes to mind and performance artists bring huge eggs and coquettish chooks to life as they interact with members of the crowd.
Between live sets from the avant-garde and the edgy, the low pitch of subwoofers maintains a strange equilibrium between comfort and claustrophobia. Curious diners drift in waves up and down between more than 60 stalls and 2 long tables – almost mesmerised by the intensity of the sensory input.
Some familiarity is welcome in such a melee, and Smolt brings back the slow-roasted lamb and ever-popular churros to a joint stall with her new ‘family member’, Frank, who makes a debut at the Winter Feast this year. Succulent pork lomo, crispy potatoes and naturally fermented Tasmania wines on tap are all on offer at their busy stall located at the threshold between the chilly fresh air of Salamanca and the alluring intensity of the indoor Feasting space.
Get in early – or stay late…. but be sure to be there before the heat dies down with the conclusion of Dark Mofo’s Winter Feast on Sunday 21 June at 10pm. If you fancy joining the nude swim at 7.42am the next morning, I can’t think of a better pre-dip prep than a good feed from Frank.