Yesterday, organisers of the inaugural Dark MOFO arts and music festival, which unveiled its full program a month ago, had one of their public events axed by Tasmanian Police had deemed the event “too obscene.”
Amongst the Hobart-based festival’s impressive list of specially curated musical lineup – including the likes of Martha Wainwright, Boris, Mono, You Am I, The Drones, and The Presets – was the Dark Mofo Nude Solstice Swim, which was reportedly cancelled by authorities for contravening law on the basis of indecent exposure, obscene behaviour, and disorderly conduct.
As if in response to the conservative decision however, today organisers of the Museum of Old and New Art’s frist ever winter festival have announced that Tasmanian Police have done a backflip on their decision to axe the event.
The Nude Swim has been given ‘in-principle agreement’ from authorities, Tasmanian Minister For Police and Emergency Management, David O’Byrne, announced today, assuming that it receives the appropriate approval from Hobart City Council.
Dark Mofo Creative Director Leigh Carmichael said: “After further discussions of event management, safety and approval, we now have in-principal support from Tasmania Police to go ahead with the event. “We are pleased the Nude Solstice Swim can go ahead… it’s just a great thing for the community to engage in together, on the morning after the darkest night.” – Leigh Carmichael, Dark MOFO
The artistic skinnydip is planned to take place at Nutgrove Beach, in lower Sandy Bay, and the ritualistic dip had already attracted over 200 registrants from the members of the public keen to brave the winter waters when Police deemed the sight of a few bums and bits splashing about as being too controversial a sight by Tasmanina laws.
Today however, Dark MOFO Creative Director Leigh Carmichael has welcomed the Police’s change of heart. “After further discussions of event management, safety and approval, we now have in-principal support from Tasmania Police to go ahead with the event,” he said, who yesterday called the event “a bit of fun… I imagine a beach full of bums.”
“We will be submitting plans for Hobart City Council approval to hold the first annual Nude Solstice Swim during Dark Mofo 2013 at Lower Sandy Bay beach, which Surf Life Saving Tasmania has deemed the safest place to hold the event,” added Mr Carmichael.
They’re likely to get the green light given Hobart Lord Mayor Damon Thomas’ comments yesterday at the initial cancellation of the nude swim, telling ABC News that they weren’t approached about the event as Police had beached the idea before it had reached their chambers, but said that council would likely approved if it had.
“We’d be less than a good governance if we didn’t consider everything brought forward to us,” said Mayor Thomas. ”It probably makes us look like a bit of a backwater, but we’ve got to remember that clearly this hasn’t come up before, and had it come forward five years or eight years ago, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion now because the matter would have been canvassed, debated, paraded and done.”
The event will see 25 body-painted representatives, along 200+ nude members of the public, hit the water at sunrise, with Surf Lifesaving Tasmania on hand to enforce safety protocols for the 50 metre swim, designed as a ritualistic tribute to northern hemisphere winter traditions.
“We are pleased the Nude Solstice Swim can go ahead,” said Mr Carmichael. “We think this could become a major event for Tasmania’s winter on an annual basis, and – as we’ve seen from the public interest this week – it’s just a great thing for the community to engage in together, on the morning after the darkest night.”
Dark MOFO, pegged as the ‘dark winter sister’ of the popular summer MOFO event, will be celebrating the season through large-scale public art, food, music, and of course, an impressive musical lineup, that takes over Harbour City and its surrounds from Thursday 13th to Sunday 23rd June, with 83+ acts already confirmed for the festival.
View Dark MOFO’s A-Z artist lineup below, along with the dates and calendar, or head to darkmofo.net.au for more details.
DARK MOFO 2013 Lineup
A Dead Forest Index
Ben Milgate + Elvis Abrahanowicz
Canyons + Daniel Boyd
Domenico De Clario
Dylan Sheridan + Laura Hindmarsh
Fabien Giraud + Raphael Siboni
Fourteen Nights At Sea
Kit Webster + Chiara Kickdrum
Naysayer + Gilsun
Oscar Ferreiro + Heath Brown
Rainbox Connection Djs
Sally Rees + Rodney Berry
Super Wild Horses
Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
The Hunter + Jason James
You Am I
Zeal + Cycle
DARK MOFO 2013 Event Details
The festival takes place at various festivals around Hobart.
Presale starts Monday April 22 at 10am, tickets on sale Tuesday April 23 at 10am