The Unconformity – Venture outside the norm in Tasmania
There’s something other-worldly about Tasmania’s West Coast, with its lush forested mountains contrasting with barren landscapes all permeated with a sense of isolation from the outside world. Embracing all that is unique and quirky about the region is The Unconformity – a biennial three-day festival of contemporary arts and cultural activities held in the industrial mining community of Queenstown.
Inspired by a rare geological feature and the non-conforming nature of its nearby community, The Unconformity is one of Australia’s most exciting site-specific contemporary art festivals. You can experience this community’s unmatched sense of place and unique creative vision on October 19-21.
The Unconformity has come a long way since it was founded in 2010 as the Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, winning a slew of accolades including best festival or event at the 2017 Tasmanian Tourism Awards, and attracting high-profile people such as MONA co-chief executive Mark Wilsdon to its board.
This year the festival will feature more than 30 events spanning music, art, dance and film. There’s immersive experiences such as audio tour A Score to Scratch the Surface, bespoke outdoor dance Junjeiri Ballun – Gurul Gaureima and short film series Tasmanian Ghost Town Project: A Diary of Lost Memories. Visual art aficionados can admire exhibitions and installations at venues across Queenstown while outdoor lovers can take a guided tour through the rainforest. There’s also workshops for young people, a festival hub for foodies and The Queenie Muster for car lovers.
The Unconformity will roar into life from sunset on October 19 with a deafening sonic experience entitled Tectonica. Giant speakers in the centre of town will create a cacophony of noise and vibration to depict the volcanoes, geysers, earthquakes and meteorite strikes that have shaped the West Coast.
In partnership with Mona Foma, The Unconformity presents Paragon; special musical moments within the hallowed art deco walls of The Paragon Theatre, Queenstown’s revered cultural venue. Renowned worldwide as a virtuosic guitarist, Jeff Lang will perform on October 19 while former frontman of seminal Australian Band Hunters & Collectors, Mark Seymour & The Undertow will perform on October 20.
Make sure to grab yourself a map from the Festival Information Hub, at 20 Orr Street, to guide you around the Unconformity Art Trail to discover a host of talented local artists. The artwork featured is presented across many venues — galleries, studios, shopfronts and alleyways — and is wide-ranging in genre, focus and application. You can also take a self-guided walking tour of the street art and murals that are created by artists in residence at Q Bank Gallery, including five Melbourne artists that will be live-painting during The Unconformity. A brochure detailing locations and artists info will be available from Q Bank Gallery and The Unconformity Information Hub.
Prospect is a new participatory sound performance in which you are invited to “strike it rich” through exploring Queenstown’s Passion Park with a metal detector. Unearth sonic rewards with onlookers experiencing an ever-changing live score in a project that explores the archaeology of optimism, fate and luck. Created by Sam Routledge and Dylan Sheridan it will be held on October 19, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm, October 20, 10am-1pm and 2-5pm, and October 21, 10am-1pm, at Passion Park on The Esplanade Site near Queen River footbridge.
To keep you going while you are exploring the events around town make your way to Crib Lane, on Little Orr St, for woodsmoke, sheds, corrugated iron and industrial barbecues. Crib Lane is The Unconformity’s central hub and Queenstown’s authentic, unburnished take on curated food, bars, music, youth activities and fun. Open October 19, 3-10pm, October 20, 10am-10pm, and October 21, 10am-2pm.
The festival will wrap with The Unconformity Cup where The Queenstown Crows will play a fierce game of footy on the town’s iconic gravel oval. Blood, sweat and tears will be shed upon the historic turf-free surface, constructed in 1895, as The West take on The Rest. Come and watch the battle for glory — and gravel rash.
For full program details and ticketing information visit www.theunconformity.com.au