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Coronavirus fears impacting music festivals around the world with Coachella postponed and Tasmania’s Dark Mofo cancelled

Coronavirus fears impacting music festivals around the world with Coachella postponed and Tasmania’s Dark Mofo cancelled
March 11, 2020

With ongoing fears about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) impacting mass gatherings around the world, music festivals are being progressively cancelled or postponed in the USA and Asia with organisers citing the risks of public events - particularly those involving international attendees - becoming sites for human-to-human transmission of COVID-19.

Tasmania's Dark Mofo winter arts festival was cancelled earlier today because of coronavirus, with founder David Walsh saying he is only too aware the event's loss will "murder an already massacred tourism environment".

Walsh said the decision needed be made early to avoid a massive financial impact, fearing that a late cancellation would have permanently damaged the event.

Explaining the cancellation of Dark Mofo, Walsh said Creative Director Leigh Carmichael had found that if a staff member contracted COVID-19 just before the festival, it would need to be cancelled anyway, with colleagues having to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Walsh stated “that kind of blowout would affect MONA's program, and I'd be back to subsisting on the diet I had when I was eighteen - pineapples and mint slice biscuits.”

"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."

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania Chief Executive, Luke Martin said while he understood the difficult decision Dark Mofo organisers had to make, the cancellation was a "shocking blow" to an industry already facing challenges.

Martin advised “until now, Tasmania's tourism exposure to the coronavirus travel ban has been relatively isolated to a small group of tourism operators who specialise in the China inbound market.

"But Dark Mofo is our largest drawcard over the winter months and has a big positive impact on visitation across Tasmania in June. It is going to severely impact our visitor economy over the depth of winter."

With live music tours and events being cancelled, California's Coachella festival has been postponed until October while Miley Cyrus has pulled out of a trip to Australia, prompting the cancelation of a bushfire benefit concert.

However, as of today, Australia’s Bluesfest, Groovin the Moo, Download and Splendour in the Grass are set to go ahead

Bluesfest, one of Australia's biggest festivals and a marquee event for blues and roots musicians worldwide, is still set to take place over Easter in Byron Bay.

"We are still going ahead," a spokeswoman for Bluesfest told the ABC on Wednesday, adding that extra hand sanitiser stations would be placed at toilets throughout the festival site.

She said organisers were staying in close contact with authorities in case any advice changed about the risk of transmission at public events. That risk is currently low, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee said on Wednesday.

Later in April regional touring festival Groovin The Moo will see two dozen artists travel the country for a series of shows.

Other major music festivals on the horizon include Download next weekend in Sydney and Melbourne.

Last week, Italian band Lacuna Coil pulled out of their appearance there, citing the threat posed by the virus in northern Italy, where they are based.

Italy has since been locked down.

On Tuesday, New Zealand authorities said a man who was standing in the same general admission area of a Tool concert as a confirmed coronavirus patient had fallen sick and was awaiting test results.

Images: Dark Mofo (top) and Bluesfest (below).

Related Articles

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6th March 2020 - Tourism leaders look for Federal rescue package amid Coronavirus fears

6th March 2020 - ATEC highlights the ongoing threat of Coronavirus to export tourism industry

13th February 2020 - ATIC calls for government support to counter coronavirus impact on tourism industry

31st January 2020 - Coronavirus declared global health emergency by World Health Organization

12th July 2019 - Byron Bay Bluesfest names Moshtix as exclusive ticketing partner

25th June 2019 - Hobart’s Dark Mofo attracts record breaking crowds

30th April 2019 - Pill testing saves lives at ACT’s Groovin the Moo festival

16th July 2018 - Pollstar acknowledges Bluesfest as Australia’s top music festival

22nd June 2018 - Backlash follows Hobart Mayor’s Dark Mofo threats

17th August 2016 - Eventbrite research shows Australians love festivals

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