No northern move for Dark Mofo
Late last week, Hobart’s lord mayor Ron Christie stirred the pot by commenting on ABC radio that the edgy festival was becoming too “controversial” and that the Hobart City Council (HCC) should review its funding when it comes up later this year.
He suggested the event be moved north to Launceston.
Christie’s statements were slammed by Hobart tourism and business leaders because of the millions that Dark Mofo injected into the local economy.
Other councillors in the HCC rebuked the lord mayor, saying it was not his decision to make.
The festival dew 427,000 people last year.
Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael responded in the Hobart Mercury that he was surprised by the lord mayor’s comments.
He said the HCC provided about $150,000 cash and $50,000 in kind support for the popular winter fest.
“It is a $9 million festival and it is a good return on their money, I reckon they’re in front,” Carmichael said.
“It is significant and we appreciate it. Dark Mofo is a Tasmanian festival.”
David Walsh, founder of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Mona Foma (MoFo) and Dark Mofo was not backing down from maintaining the younger event’s constant and often controversial pushing of artistic boundaries.
“Dark Mofo would die if we cave in”, Walsh said, adding it would “become tame” and “die in three years.”
In the meantime, the Tasmanian government has committed $1.75 million to the relocation of Mona Foma (MoFo) to Launceston for each of next three years.
Last year’s small test of staging it there proved successful, with a block party alone drawing 6000.
It will stage at its new home in January 2019.
Mark Wilsdon, co-CEO of Mona, said: ‘It’s a mammoth task to take an entire festival like Mona Foma to a new city.
“We weren’t interested in putting together a watered-down Mona Foma.
“This funding means we’ll be able to do it and do it properly.
‘This funding will help us support the regional dispersal of inbound visitors to Tasmania.
“It will help us create a world-famous cultural event, industry and legacy in northern Tasmania, as Mona Foma did for Hobart when we launched in 2009.”
He added, ‘We’re working closely with Launceston’s arts, tourism, education and business communities as we plan for our next festival, and it seems that everybody is up for it.”
Launceston mayor Albert van Zetten exclaimed, “That is going to be wonderful for Launceston and northern Tasmania, and will generate more buzz and activity around the city.”