6 Epic Festivals To Make The Most Of Your Winter

By Sophie Colvin
5th May 2017

Do you strike winter out as a time to hibernate, order ramen and not see a soul? We’re sorry to break it to you, but you’re doing it all wrong. It’s a proven fact that winter is actually the best time to get out there, discover wonderful and whimsical things, enjoy a bonfire and red wine and just generally rug up and roll on.

We’ve found six truly epic festivals that are celebrating winter this year. They’re going to make the colder months your new favourite time of year. Go forth and celebrate. 

If you're even more curious after reading, check out this website to get amongst it and experience all Tassie has to offer this winter.

Dark Mofo

Dark Mofo barely needs any introducing, but we’re still going to go ahead and point out why it’s the event that you need to lock into your winter schedule, pronto. Dark Mofo sits as king of the kids on the winter calendar.

Hosted by Mona (Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art), Dark Mofo offers a full schedule of awe-inspiring, whimsical, confounding and wonderful events.

The highlight is definitely the Dark Mofo and City of Hobart Winter Feast. For culture-addicts, food-lovers, travellers and seekers (that’s all of us, right?!), The Winter Feast is a warming banquet of (mostly) local produce, served to celebrate the year’s longest and darkest nights. There’s something pretty special about this event and its modern take on the medieval harvest banquet.

The good news is that, for the first time, the Winter Feast has been extended to run over two weekends (that popularity should tell you something).

Another highlight is the Nude Solstice Swim. Yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like. At dawn, on the end of the longest night of the year, keen beans will plunge into to the icy River Derwent without a stitch of clothing—a defiant nod to winter and the perfect close to the festival.

We could go on and on with weird and whimsical things that you could do during Dark Mofo, but we reckon just take our word for it and book tickets stat.

What: Dark Mofo
When: 8-21 June 2017
Where: Hobart
Details: Find a full program and book tickets here 

Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival

Winter lovers and experience-seekers, this one is for you. The Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival is a soulful celebration that makes the most of southern Tasmania’s history, stories, and love of celebrating all things apple.

Held from the 14–16 July in the Huon Valley (south of Hobart) Willie Smith’s Apple Shed will be transformed to host this incredible festival.

Picture this: A mega bonfire, amazing street performers and artists, a quirky dress up competition, and plenty of dancing by firelight.

Steeped in tradition, the pinnacle of the Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival is the wassailing – for the uninitiated, that’s the ceremony where you scare bad spirits out of the orchard’s cider trees to ensure a bumper autumn crop.

With a finger lickin’ selection of Tassie produce on offer, we suggest you pack your stretchy pants. Our top picks: Willie Smith's Apple Cider, Spotty Dog American BBQ for some serious dude-food, and Lady Hester Donuts to satisfy your sweet tooth.

What: Huon Valley Mid Winter Festival
When: 14-16 July 2017
Where: Willie Smith’s Apple Shed, Huon Valley, Tasmania
Details: Find all the details and book tickets here 

Tasmanian Whisky Week

When anyone gives us an excuse to combine three of our favourite things—wintery feels, discovering top-notch venues, and the liquid of the gods, (aka, whisky)—we’re more than on-board. Enter our dream event: Tasmanian Whisky Week.

Tasmanian Whisky Week gives you the chance to go behind-the-scenes of some of the best distilleries in the world and experience a range of rare and unreleased whiskies (as well as the classics) and get  some insight in to the love, history and stories of Tassie’s best whisky artisans.

Tasmania’s whisky industry has absolutely exploded in recent years. With 19 distilleries from all over the state taking part, plus various meet the maker events, Tasmanian Whisky Week is exactly the excuse you needed to head south and discover a side of Tassie you probably didn’t know about.

With Tasmania’s original whisky distilleries like Lark, Sullivan’s Cove, and Overeem, to newer establishments such as Iron House Brewery and Fanny’s Bay Distillery, the 10-day event won’t be confined to visiting distilleries—you’ll also find events, tastings, talks and dinners at distilleries, bars, barns, stables, restaurants and hotels.

What: Tasmanian Whisky Week
When: 4-13 August 2017
Where: All over Tasmania
Details: Find a full program and book tickets here

Festival Of Voices

For the ultimate celebration of sound, Festival of Voices is exactly what the doctor ordered.

If you’re thinking awkward-uncle acapellas, you couldn’t be more wrong. With a jam-packed schedule of events and workshops to warm those wintery vocal chords, there’s something for everyone to discover. With world-renowned artists heading to Tasmania for the two-week event, you can expect to find talents such as Sarah Blasko and Eric Dozier from the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir (and many, maaaaaaannnny more) all getting involved.

The festival is kicking off with the 'FoV Coastal—The Great Eastern Live' on Tassie's glorious east coast and will be meandering along the coast, giving you the chance to feast on delicious local wines and other produce along the way (not that we need any excuse to hunt out Tasmanian food!).

We don’t know about you, but we can’t even hum a tune. Well fear not, tone-deaf friends, this one is still for you. Enter the City of Hobart Big Sing Bonfire. Held in iconic Salamanca Place, it’s a chance to spread the warmth and love and be part of something bigger. Led by world renowned artists, it’s your chance to join a choir of thousands. It’s the night when the magic happens.

What: Festival Of Voices
When: 30 June- 16 July 2017
Where: Hobart and surrounds, and East Coast of Tasmania
Details: Find a full program and book tickets here

Devonport Jazz Festival

Channel your inner La La Land at the Devonport Jazz Festival. From Thursday 27 July to Sunday 30 July, Devonport will be transformed into a sultry, sexy jazz club. Leading Tasmanian and Australia jazz musicians will be bringing a diverse musical program, including traditional, contemporary, swing, Latin and be-bop jazz. Enjoy the atmosphere with finger-licking food, visual arts and live dancing throughout the festival.

What: Devonport Jazz Festival
When: 27-30 July 2017
Where: Devonport, Tasmania
Details: Find all the details and book tickets here

Chocolate Winterfest

When the puffer jackets come out, so does the hot chocolate. In the picturesque town of Latrobe on Tasmania’s North West Coast, indulge in the Chocolate Winterfest. Celebrating everything and anything cacao, chocolate will be showcased in all shapes and forms. Expect tastings, workshops and (not a drill) CHOCOLATE EXHIBITS.

What: Chocolate Winterfest
When: 13 August 2017
Where: Latrobe, Tasmania
Details: Find all the details here

Editor’s note: This article is proudly sponsored by Tasmania - Go Behind the Scenery and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy. 

Image credit: Peter Whyte, Samuel Shelley, Kate Berry, Phil Kitt, Mia Glastonbury and Adam Gibson, all supplied by Tourism Tasmania. 

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