Dark Mofo Festival Cancelled Over Coronavirus Fears

Tasmania's iconic Dark Mofo festival, to be headlined by Bon Iver, has been cancelled over coronavirus fears -- the first major Australian event to be scrapped over the virus.

Dark Mofo, held in Tasmania each June, is a fortnight-long festival of music, art and culture. The festival had not yet announced its full lineup, but had revealed American folk artist Bon Iver was to be among its headliners.

A midwinter festival organised by the MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) in Hobart, it has become a cult favourite in recent years with thought-provoking, alternative lineups of artists and performers. Many thousands of people travel from all over Australia to attend.

"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," festival organiser and MONA owner David Walsh said in a statement online.

Bon Iver's concerts are still going ahead, but the wider festival will not.

Walsh said "fear... compelled by uncertainty" over coronavirus would impact the ability to sell tickets, saying he preferred to cancel the event early as he claimed the festival could potentially lose up to $8 million if it was forced to cancel close to the start date.

Image: AAP

"I’d rather be a rich coward than a poor hero. I’m pouring cold water on Dark Mofo while there’s still water to pour," he said.

"It’s likely that nothing will happen. 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."

Dark Mofo was named Best Live Event in Australia at the 2019 National Live Music Awards.