Tasmanian Winter Arts Festival Dark Mofo Has Been Cancelled Due to Coronavirus
"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."
Large swathes of cinemas have been temporarily shuttered in China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy and France; theme parks have been closed in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo; and Texan music and film festival South by Southwest has been cancelled for the first time in 34 years. Music tours have been cancelled throughout Asia, too, and plenty of questions hang over forthcoming events elsewhere in the world — such as Coachella in April and the Cannes Film Festival in May. Now, Australia's arts scene is feeling the impacts of the mounting concerns about COVID-19, with Tasmania's Dark Mofo announcing it will not go ahead in 2020.
In the same week that Miley Cyrus cancelled her trip to Australia and charity concert in Melbourne, the announcement was made on Facebook this morning by David Walsh, owner of Hobart's Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which runs the annual festival.
In the statement, Walsh says: "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."
The art gallery and festival founder says the decision was made off the back of other locally run events not selling well and the prediction that Dark Mofo could also be a flop. "If we ran Dark and nobody came, I'd lose $5 million or more," Walsh said. If this happened, he says it could jeopardise the future of Dark Mofo.
Take placing across Hobart during the winter solstice every year, Dark Mofo combines winter feasts, boundary-pushing art, nude swims, warehouse parties, talks and lots of live music. Last year's lineup saw the likes of artists Ai Weiwei and Mike Parr, American musician Sharon Van Etten and one of the world's largest glockenspiels descend on the Tasmanian city. While the lineup for this year had not yet been announced, the 2020 festival was scheduled to take place from June 10–22.
For now, MONA will remain open as usual and Dark Mofo is set to go ahead in 2021.
Dark Mofo 2020 has been cancelled. You can read David Walsh's full statement over here.
To find out more about the status of COVID-19 in Australia and how to protect yourself, head to the Australian Government Department of Health's website.
Top image: Rémi Chauvin
Published on March 11, 2020 by Samantha Teague