The Place Branding Australia conference has been postponed because of concerns about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Place Branding Australia 2020 was scheduled to take place in Hobart from June 17 -19 on the sidelines of the Dark Mofo festival, but event organisers Inmedia announced this week the event has been postponed until further notice.
It follows the decision of Museum of Old and New Art (MoNA) founder David Walsh to cancel Dark Mofo, which is run by the art museum.
“Due to the impact of COVID-19 and the cancellation of Dark Mofo, Inmedia Publishing have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Place Branding conference,” Events and Operations Manager Bethanie Tobin said. “We will confirm new dates when possible”.
Mr Walsh said fears about COVID-19 could affect Dark Mofo ticket sales and make the festival unviable, and the risk of a staff member contracting the virus and causing a costly last minute cancellation was too great.
“We’re killing Dark Mofo for the year,” Mr Walsh said. I know that will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice.”
He said if a staff member contracted COVID-19 a week ahead of the festival it would have to be cancelled at huge cost, estimated by creative director Leigh Carmichael to be as much as $8 million.
“Right now, the government and Mona are each on the hook for $2 million to run Dark Mofo,” he said.
“What’s worse, as far as I’m concerned, is that if we ran Dark and nobody came, I’d lose $5 million or more, because I would have to cover the absent ticket revenue.
“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.”
Mr Walsh said he didn’t expect MoNA to be affected by the pandemic.
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