Popular Hobart winter festival Dark Mofo will be put on hold next year as organisers flag a shift to a more sustainable model amid rising costs.
They say the intention is for the festival to return fully in 2025 and “set the foundation for the next 10 years”.
The drawcard winter feast and nude solstice swim events will still go ahead in 2024 under an agreement with the Tasmanian government.
The festival says despite record attendance and box office sales this year, it is essential to take stock of changing conditions and rising costs and to reset for the future.
“These two key events will also coincide with the opening of a new major exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art,” organisers said in a statement on Friday.
Dark Mofo artistic director Chris Twite said the state government had been proactive in offering solutions to proceed with the festival in 2024.
But organisers opted for a reduced scope that would honour Dark Mofo’s strong commitment to local community and small businesses, he said.
“We are thankful for the support and assistance that the state government has shown in response to our need to reshape for the future,” Twite said.
“Dark Mofo has always been dedicated to enriching and transforming lives through ambitious art and ideas.
“We want to make sure that we have a festival that continues to deliver incredible art and artists, that continues to expand its artistic boundaries and remains a beacon of creativity, innovation, and cultural significance.
“While this was a tough decision, it ensures we move forward in a viable manner.”
Twite was announced as artistic director in April, replacing Leigh Carmichael who had been in the role since the inaugural festival in 2013.
Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the government would work closely with the festival about plans for a full return in 2025.
Dark Mofo has often courted controversy, including in 2018 when inverted Christian crosses were installed along Hobart’s waterfront.
In 2021, it was forced to pull the pin on work that called for the blood of Indigenous people after backlash which labelled the piece insensitive and disrespectful.