Festival of Voices (FoV) is Tasmania’s original marquee winter event. It is Australia’s premiere celebration of the voice. It started in 2004 in response to a brief of how to activate Hobart in the middle of winter. It was decided that it would be a good idea to light a bonfire in the middle of the city and have a sing along. The idea caught on, and today FoV attracts audiences of 30,000 people over a two-week period in July.
The iconic image of the festival is thousands of people singing around a bonfire. This is always a highlight and reflects the core aim of the festival to bring people together, not just as observers but as participants as well.
The reach and reputation of Festival of Voices has grown far and wide. It has become known internationally as a special meeting place for singers to come and sing, share and hang out with each other. The educational component of FoV is also significant. It has become a winter school for people who want to learn new repertoires, sing better or just revel in the joy of group singing.
The free Big Sing Bonfire event in Salamanca attracts up to 5,000 people.
Tasmania Sings features around 400 young performers coming together as one. The Finale Concert is where all the workshop participants get to showcase their voices in a major spine tingling concert featuring over 400 performers.
Between these major choral events are performances by cabaret artists, actors, jazz and contemporary singers from around Australia and overseas. The festival hub – Voicebox – is a sassy pop-up cabaret style venue within Hobart’s City Hall. Other spaces are also activated: churches, museums, small venues, large venues and curious places.
By day there are the dozens of pop-up choir performances in and around the streets and public spaces of Hobart and surrounds. Many of these are performed by visiting choirs who come to the festival just so they can sing.
This participatory nature of FoV is what makes the festival unique and what draws thousands of people out of their homes in the middle of winter to celebrate the power of the voice with songs, stories, laughter and puffer jackets!
Festival of Voices is a joyful time to be in Tasmania.