10 December, 2020

What’s on in Tasmania 2021?

Tasmania’s 2021 major events calendar is looking good – and you’re invited.

The bad news: some events have been COVID-cancelled this year, including Taste of Tasmania. The great news: most of 2021’s big ones are on, embracing change to offer innovative new editions. From Mona Foma’s art attack to a fresh take on Launceston’s food-focused Festivale, the island is ready to celebrate.

Mona Foma: art on the edge

Launched by Hobart’s world-renowned Mona museum of old and new art in 2009, this summer festival instantly became a highlight on Tasmania’s calendar. Mona Foma, or Festival of Music and Art, was based in the capital, then moved to Launceston in 2019, but for the next edition they’re doubling down by hitting both cities over two wondrous weekends.

“Mona Foma thrives on reinvention and we are compelled to do that big time in January 2021,” says Brian Ritchie, the festival’s curator (and bassist for eternal indie band The Violent Femmes). “One weekend in Launceston, and one weekend in Hobart, to spread the love. Great Tasmanian artists, unusual venues and an irrepressible creativity.”

From giant inflated sculptures to concerts by the coolest musicians in Brian’s black book, the festival has a well-earned reputation for mind-blowing surprises. So expect the unexpected in January: 15-17 in Launceston and 22-24 in Hobart.

Mona Foma
Mona Foma (Image: Jarrad Seng)

Eat, drink and be merry

Festivale usually takes over Launceston for a massive midsummer weekend of food stalls, chef demos, masterclasses and more. That’s not ideal in 2021, but rather than cancel the organisers have reinvented this much-loved event. Indulge offers the unique opportunity to wine and dine in the middle of Tasmania’s premier sporting venue, UTAS Stadium, on 5-7 February. It’s much more than a picnic: think tables and chairs, live music and the island’s finest food and drinks. Cheers!

Other tasty 2021 festivals include Gin-uary, the Tasmanian craft gin jubilee in Hobart on 25 January. A Taste of the Huon returns on 7-8 March for its 28th edition. Expect another delicious showcase of this region just south of Hobart that’s renowned for apples, cherries, mushrooms, berries, saffron, truffles, salmon, wine and TV’s Fat Pig Farm. Like garlic? Don’t miss the Koonya Garlic Festival on 27 February.

Festivale Masterclass
Festivale Masterclass (Image: Rob Burnett)

Crafty, quirky festivals

Boaties around the world felt like they’d run aground when the biannual Australian Wooden Boat Festival was postponed until 2023. News that its most spectacular and popular event, the Parade of Sail, is going ahead after all instantly put the wind in their sails though – and also cheered countless landlubbers who love watching a flotilla of tall ships, yachts and other vessels glide along Hobart’s River Derwent. Pack a picnic and park yourself at one of the best vantage points on 7 February.

From cities to regional centres, edgy art to family-friendly entertainment, 10 Days on the Island returns on 5-21 March with an eclectic program of cultural events and exhibitions. Stay tuned for news about SteamFest, which usually thrills steam-engine enthusiasts and everyone else who gets a kick out of steamy stuff like trains and whistles each March.

Steamfest (Image: Tourism Tasmania & Supplied Courtesy of Kentish Council)

Looking ahead

There are more festivals and frolics during winter 2021, like the cultural kookiness of Mona’s Dark Mofo, and Huon Valley Mid-winter Fest, which is inspired by pagan celebrations for good old fashioned fun like bonfires, cider, singing and dancing. Their dates are TBA, but other events are locked in, including Bay of Fires Winter Arts Festival (12-14 June), Festival of Voices (30 June-11 July), Devonport Jazz (22-25 July) and the scrumptious Chocolate Winterfest (8 August).

Whatever the season, Tasmania’s events calendar is packed with good times, so start planning now!

Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest
Huon Valley Mid-Winter Fest (Image: Natalie Mendham Photography)
Festival of Voices - Pop-up Performances
Festival of Voices - Pop-up Performances (Image: Lusy Productions)


Information included in this blog is correct at the time of publishing. Please contact individual operators for further information.

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