The FOMA in MONA FOMA technically stands for Festival of Music and Art, but the five-day event could just as easily be named MONA FOMO – Fear of Missing Out.
To call it just a festival of music and art doesn't quite cover things. Curated by Violent Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie and overseen by Museum of Old and New Art founder David Walsh, this carnival of culture has been stretching its official definition since 2009, striking fear into the hearts of those terrified of missing something.
Held in January throughout Hobart and its surrounds, MONA FOMA draws some big headline acts – in the past including John Cale, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave, Philip Glass, Grandmaster Flash and PJ Harvey. The program covers all kinds of musical performance – from classical and opera to hip-hop and avant-garde – along with dance, theatre and visual art. Food, wine and beer tastings and "strictly non-dorky workshops" are thrown in at the MONA Market (aka the MoMa), which continues every Saturday throughout summer.
Not content with collecting an interesting mix of people and events and leaving them be, MONA FOMA encourages some unusual cross-pollination between artistic disciplines. In previous years Neil Gaiman has read his story The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains to the sounds of the FourPlay String Quartet, while Ben Walsh and his eleven-piece Orkestra have performed an accompaniment to Shaun Tan's wordless graphic novel The Arrival.
A more recent addition to the already busy schedule is Faux Mo, the adults-only festival nightclub whose line-up is kept carefully under wraps. Information about who's playing and when can only be found on the MONA FOMA smartphone app, which lets the details slowly trickle out over the course of the festival.
While some place their faith in technology, others embrace the power of chance. Either way the FOMA is the only proven cure for the FOMO.