“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,” Walsh says. “But that’s the best thing that could happen. The worst thing that could happen is not me trashing my cash. We could soldier on, without consideration or advantage, have the crowd turn up anyway, and send them home sick. But that wouldn’t be the worst thing, either. Worse than that, for me at least, would be proceeding with Dark Mofo and having it fail, and thus having it become the final Dark Mofo. That would mean facing a future of Hobart winters unpunctuated by pageantry, and thus returning to a tyranny of complacency – that worse-than-COVID Hobart malaise of believing we don’t have to seek to do more, and we don’t have to seek to do better.”
While the festival’s wider program has been cancelled, headline draw Bon Iver will still perform as part of a national tour that will also take in Adelaide on 18 June. The announcement follows news that Austin’s music industry conference and city wide festival SXSW has been cancelled for 2020, while April’s Coachella Festival is widely expected to be postponed until later in the year.
While the Adelaide Festival program has been touched by the virus and the resulting disruption to international travel – most notably with Friday’s announcement that composer Brett Dean would withdraw from the weekend’s Sound of History concert after testing positive to the virus – it seems Adelaide’s festival season will be lucky to get through this final week relatively undisrupted.