This year’s Dark Mofo festival in Launceston, Tasmania has been cancelled due to concerns around the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The beloved winter festival was planned to be held in June.
“After a thorough risk assessment on the potential impact and disruption of coronavirus, we have been left with no option other than to move the current program to 2021,” explained Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael on the decision to forego this year’s event.
“The implications of COVID-19, and subsequent travel, financial and logistical issues, are beyond our control.”
Carmichael went on to explain that the decision to cancel the festival is to prevent the financial impact of a last-minute cancellation, which would “run into the millions” and potentially end the festival for good.
“Our current priority is to minimise the implications and cost on our audience, artists, suppliers, sponsors and key stakeholders, and support our staff through a challenging period.”
Bon Iver’s sold-out performances scheduled as part of the festival will still go ahead, as per their nationwide tour.
In a statement, MONA owner David Walsh commented, “We’re killing Dark Mofo for the year. I know that will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice.”
Walsh went on to echo Carmichael’s sentiments around the financial jeopardy the festival could be placed in were it to go ahead.
“We could soldier on, without consideration or advantage, have the crowd turn up anyway, and send them home sick. But that wouldn’t be the worst thing, either. Worse than that, for me at least, would be proceeding with Dark Mofo and having it fail, and thus having it become the final Dark Mofo.
“That would mean facing a future of Hobart winters unpunctuated by pageantry, and thus returning to a tyranny of complacency – that worse-than-COVID Hobart malaise of believing we don’t have to seek to do more, and we don’t have to seek to do better. So we’ll see you next year. Assuming, that is, another black swan doesn’t cause another white elephant.”
You can read Walsh’s full statement here.