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Popular Tasmanian arts festival Dark Mofo has been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns

Sharon Masige
  • Dark Mofo 2020 has been cancelled because of coronavirus concerns.
  • The winter festival was slated for June 2020 and has been postponed to 2021.
  • “The implications of COVID-19, and subsequent travel, financial and logistical issues, are beyond our control," Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael said in a statement.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

It's a dark day for festivalgoers, as Dark Mofo 2020 has been cancelled over coronavirus concerns.

The winter festival, which celebrates music, food, art and film, is held annually in Tasmania. It was scheduled for June 2020 and has instead been pushed to 2021.

Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael said in a statement it is "with deep regret and sadness" that the decision was made to cancel the festival.

“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," he said.

“The implications of COVID-19, and subsequent travel, financial and logistical issues, are beyond our control."

Carmichael added that the financial costs of a last minute cancellation "would run into the millions, and likely end the event permanently".

"We've had to act decisively to ensure Dark Mofo’s long term survival,' he said.

“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."

However, Bon Iver's sold out performances are set to go ahead on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June as part of their national tour.

The festival is set up by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), which also hosts the summer festival, Mofo, in January.

MONA owner David Walsh also put out a statement on the Dark Mofo website, highlighting how much he would lose should no one go to the festival.

"Right now, the government and Mona are each on the hook for $2 million to run Dark Mofo," he said. "That’s bad. What’s worse, as far as I’m concerned, is that if we ran Dark and nobody came, I’d lose $5 million or more, because I would have to cover the absent ticket revenue."

"Leigh Carmichael, Dark Mofo’s boss, suggested an $8 million scenario: if a staff member contracted COVID-19 a week out from the festival, we’d have to cancel because the staff would need to self-isolate for two weeks, but we’d also have to pay all the artists."