Dark Mofo, an eclectic annual arts, culture and music festival in Tasmania, the southernmost state of Australia, has been canceled due to the spreading COVID-19 disease.
The treasured event was planned to be held in Hobart this June, with Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) among its performers.
“We’re killing Dark Mofo for the year,” explains Mona founder and owner David Walsh, who launched the midwinter fest in 2013. “I know that will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice.”
The cancelation was something of a pre-emptive strike, explained Walsh. Were organizers forced scrap the show at the last minute, the move would “run into the millions” and possibly spell an end for the festival.
“Right now, the government and Mona are each on the hook for $2 million to run Dark Mofo. That’s bad,” Walsh added. “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.”
Bon Iver’s national tour, which had included the stop in Tasmania, will go ahead as planned.
Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael said the decision was made with “deep regret and sadness”.” The implications of COVID-19 and “subsequent travel, financial and logistical issues are beyond our control,” he explained.
Dark Mofo isn’t the first live entertainment event Down Under to wiped out by coronavirus. Earlier this week, Miley Cyrus canceled her appearance a bushfire benefit concert due to the global health crisis. The event will no longer go ahead.
Australia’s live entertainment trade association insists it’s business as usual for the country’s colorful concerts industry.
“At this stage, the advice of the Commonwealth’s Chief Medical Officer is that there is no material risk associated with attending a public gathering,” says Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson.
“We’ll continue to follow that advice, and many of our live performance events are proceeding on that basis, including upcoming festivals such as Bluesfest,” she continues. “If and when the official advice changes, we will work closely with health authorities to respond to their advice.”