Tasmania can be a little, how shall we put this tactfully, chilly during winter and mainlanders used to joke that Tasmanians went into hibernation for several months.
No more. The coldest nights will signal some of the hottest events in the island state as MONA presents its second solstice festival of music and art, Dark MOFO.
The 2014 program will feature a 10-day journey towards winter's longest night, with the festival program featuring art, music, film, food and drink, while Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's large-scale public artwork Articulated Intersect will cut through the night sky with powerful beams of light.
Avant-garde musical pioneers Sunn O))), chanteuse Chrysta Bell and New York artist Vito Acconci will head the invitees while late-night revellers will hit nightclub Dark Faux Mo and foodies will head for the City of Hobart Winter Feast (June 19-21). The festivities run from June 12-22. See www.darkmofo.net.au for details.
The Huon Valley, south of Hobart, will hold its own encore to Dark MOFO with its own Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival.
A new initiative, led by the crew at organic cidery Willie Smiths, will be based around "the ancient tradition of wassailing, popular in the West Country of England,'' event organiser Sam Reid said. "The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.
"We want to awake the Huon Valley during the middle of winter to clearly show that the Huon Valley is open for business year-round.''
The festivities will be held on July 19 and will feature local produce, storytelling, folk music, bonfires, Morris dancing and a wassailing celebration.
Other highlights around the state during winter will include the Festival of Voices (July 4-13), which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014, The Taste of the Tamar in Hobart (July 19-20) Launceston's seventh annual Pinot Noir Showcase (July 26), the Devonport Jazz Festival (July 24-27) and Latrobe's Chocolate Winterfest (August 10).
For a full and up-to-date listing of Tasmanian events, and information on travelling to Tasmania, visit the Tasmanian Tourism website www.discovertasmania.com.au.