Australia Today

Dark Mofo 2020 Has Been Cancelled

With coronavirus fears on the rise, MONA founder David Walsh issued a statement this morning announcing that they're "killing" the popular winter festival.
Gavin Butler
Melbourne, AU
Dark Mofo
Image via Wikimedia user HappyWaldo, CC licence 4.0

Dark Mofo, Australia’s most popular and controversial winter solstice festival, has been cancelled in 2020 amid coronavirus fears.

The event, established in 2013 by Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), draws thousands of people to the port city every year and is one of the state’s biggest tourism drawcards. But this morning, MONA founder David Walsh issued a statement declaring that “We’re killing Dark Mofo for the year”.


Walsh cited growing concern around COVID-19—as well as the devastating financial cost of not being able to sell tickets to events, or having to cancel the festival last-minute—as the driving motivator behind the decision.

“What happened? Fear is what happened,” he says. “That fear is compelled by uncertainty. Fear is the right response. And that right response means we would have trouble selling tickets to Dark Mofo events, also.”

That kind of a loss, Walsh suggests, could have spelled the end of Dark Mofo permanently.

“It’s likely that nothing will happen,” he states. “June will roll up, COVID-19 will die down, and I’ll look (more) like a fool for having cancelled. But that’s the best thing that could happen.

“The worst thing that could happen is not me trashing my cash. 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.”

The 2020 festival’s full program was set to be announced in April, with just one act—Bon Iver—having been announced early. Leigh Carmichael, Dark Mofo’s creative director, said Bon Iver’s two sold out shows would, at this stage, still go ahead.

Otherwise, Walsh says, "we’ll see you next year. Assuming, that is, another black swan doesn’t cause another white elephant."

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