The festival runs from 5-14 July in Hobart and features a wide range of performances and workshops. In addition, the festival now includes a program about voicing ideas and this years program – Disruptive – runs from 17-19 July. The program for Disruptive is also included on the festival website.
It is wonderful to see more and more festivals and events in winter in Tasmania. You can find details of other events in Tasmania during winter here.
Festival fires up the night
Rain fell and temperatures plunged but roaring bonfires helped warm the hearts of the brave Tasmanians who turned out for last night’s Festival of Voices grand opening.
About 2000 people, armed with coats, scarfs and umbrellas, huddled around bonfires along Castray Esplanade and sang along with a star-studded list of performers as part of the free First Light event that began under grey skies at 5.30pm.
Beatboxer Tom Thum was a hit, along with performances from Paul McDermott and Darren Percival.
Another highlight was Christine Anu’s performance of My Island Home alongside a 300-strong children’s choir and the backing of joyous singers in the crowd.
A series of other opening night events were held around Hobart, with strong turnouts at gigs at City Hall, Peacock Theatre and Rosny Barn.
Festival of Voices artistic director Kris Stewart said he was thrilled with the enthusiasm of Tasmanians, despite less-than-perfect weather.
He said organisers considered moving the event indoors because of rain, but decided to stay true to the event’s origins and hold it under the stars.
He said chilly winters were part of the Tasmanian lifestyle and Tasmanians were used to rugging up to attend events.
Weather bureau data showed that when the event began it was 6.4C but the apparent temperature (based on wind chill and other factors) was more like 0.3C. By 7pm the temperature was 5.5C with the apparent temperature around 0.8C.
“We wanted to embrace it with a real show-must-go-on philosophy,” Mr Stewart said.
“There’s something really endearing about Hobart. People love winter and they love the chance to get out and enjoy it.”
He estimated 2000 people attended First Light, including many families with young children, which helped created a nice atmosphere.
He said those who attended showed great enthusiasm.
“It’s a lovely example of what’s beautiful about this town,” he said.
Between 5000 and 6000 attended last year’s bonfire event.
Mr Stewart said the opening event gave locals and tourists a taste of what was to come.
Now in its ninth year, the 10-day festival is hailed as being bigger and better than ever, with about 80 different concerts, workshops and interactive street events being held between now and tomorrow week. Many shows have sold out.