An odd little tale

David Walsh | Posted on June 23, 2014

Last night, after Diamanda Galás entertained, confused and mesmerised me in turn, I spoke to Dark Mofo revellers from Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane (and the latter complained that the Hobart weather was not nearly cold enough to justify the hype). One of them thanked me for the festival. Everybody does, even though I had very little to do with it. While Dark Mofo boss Leigh Carmichael and his mates put it together, I was on my honeymoon. And then she said, ‘Thank God it's not like the Big Day Out. Dark Mofo would be completely ruined if someone like Coldplay played’.

So I told them this:

A few months ago Leigh visited me, excited because he had been contacted by Coldplay's management. They wanted to play a surprise, free gig at Dark Mofo. I was excited too. It looked like quite a coup. Apparently they wanted me to show them around when they came down for the gig, a problem because I was planning to be at a party in Austria at the time. I quickly reorganised my schedule, leaving my friends in Europe in the lurch to get the gig. It was signed and sealed, but obviously not delivered, because a minor logistics issue arose. Coldplay transport their gear on a 767, and 767s can't land at Hobart airport.

Leigh, typically a circumspect communicator, sent me an SMS expressing his thoughts on the Coldplay no-show just before the Galas gig. It said, ‘Didn't need those Coldplay cunts after all’.

I think the festival went rather well. Leigh seems to agree. Perhaps next year our inability to get an Elton John or Mariah Carey gig over the line will save the festival. In the meantime thanks for coming. Even if you didn't.

Your Blog Mistress here - a big act means big equipment travelling in 12 x LD7 positions from Tokyo. Hobart airport does not have the machinery to unload these pallets, and despite our events team trying every trick they could, we were unable to borrow any from the mainland.


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prettyswagger | June 23, 2014 at 06:37 pm

Magnificent bastard, you

Amanda MCKenna | June 23, 2014 at 07:32 pm

Thank you Leigh! Keep clear of those Coldplay "cunts". I've been a huge fan of Ms Galas for 20 years and her performance was perfection. Tiger Lillies, Tom Waits (if you could wrangle him) or Gary Newman at MOFO would be a great addition. I did have a woman keep saying to me (regarding Ms Galas' performance), "well she's no Annie Sprinkle". No lady, she is not, she is nothing like it, or anything else you will experience

Andrew Lechte | June 23, 2014 at 08:26 pm

Hi there Leigh, the way things are going, there should be no shortage of fine acts wanting a gig at Dark MOFO without needing to bring massive equipment. It is not about size.

Robert Shanahan | June 23, 2014 at 07:21 pm

Lets forget planes
Lets forget cold play
Diamanda Galas last night
Was a ethereal experience..the sound was sublimely realized
She is like no other
Eternal thanks to the Dark Mofo team

david patman | June 23, 2014 at 06:41 pm

'cold play' would be a good description of dark mofo. if those cunts hadn't already taken it.

Cameron Webley | June 24, 2014 at 03:32 pm

So Coldplay are "cunts" for Hobart's lack of aircraft equipment/services...? Right.

It's funny, there are a lot of people on here quick to put words on the band/management and how they would have "ruined" the festival. Sure Dark Mofo has it's niche and they bloody kill it, but I can guarantee if all had been pulled off and Coldplay turned up without any announcement, it would have been the greatest surprise gig/event/show/whatever in Tassie, let alone Australia this year.

Label them "cunt's" for trying and that will most definitely get you no where... Oh wait, you don't want them at your festival, or do you? Hmm.

withlovefromfx | June 24, 2014 at 07:33 pm

They didn't fancy doing an acoustic set then?

William Blake | June 23, 2014 at 08:17 pm

...Many years ago a friend was asked by a work colleague to tape a record, something fairly mainstream. My friend borrowed 2 of my LPs and in the end presented his colleague with a Diamanda Galas/Napalm Death mix tape. It resulted in attempted fisticuffs.

Jace Donnelly | June 26, 2014 at 01:10 am

Thanks Mr Walsh. I couldn't be there because of work. I FIFO of China and my schedule is apparently inextricably opposed to events and gigs that I am interested in. Live in Launnie, go to your MONA often. Appreciating what you do from afar right now. Sent from Jace's phone. >

KeepItDark! | June 23, 2014 at 07:53 pm

I'm glad Coldplay didn't show themselves, they would have completely ruined the atmosphere. I show up for the weird shit. Not Gwyneth Paltrow's ex-husband. People come to this event from all over the world to see something different, exciting, unique and interesting. Nobody flies all the way to Tasmania to see Coldplay. Just keep doing what you're doing!

leanne wise | June 23, 2014 at 08:01 pm

Thanks for that I needed a laugh 

Warren Soundy | June 24, 2014 at 01:18 pm

Speechless wordless yet & none have offered a new one to help out

Meg Bignell | June 24, 2014 at 11:00 pm

That Coldplay man is a bit lovely though.

Bert Cason | June 24, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Ja look, not the end of the world, those merchants of gloom weren't going to add much to an already banging week!

Judi Kearsley | June 23, 2014 at 06:26 pm

Dark Mofo crew have done it again....congratulations :)

simone bridges | June 23, 2014 at 06:32 pm

767 aircraft land at Hobart airport all the time - every year the cricket teams playing in the Ashes test arrive with fans on chartered 767 Qantas aircraft - I know this as I operated on the aircraft on those flights. Actually for the last few years. There appears to be alot of nonsense coming from Coldplay management. SHAME they really missed a unique event that in their world I'm sure they don't get to experience all that often anymore.

ginadoe | June 24, 2014 at 03:48 pm

I agree with All Sizes above, surely Hobart needs to get its act together to be able to unload any plane that lands here … seriously.
And, if coldplay and kylie had dropped by, who’d say no to a free concert? sounds like their spirit was aligned with the mona foma spirit which has always been to throw everything into the mix – big, small, high, low, unknown, big-known – one fantastic eclectic mix.
Ever since brian ritchie moved here, I’ve been in heaven, knowing that we’ll be treated to the most insane surprises. dark mofo seems to have followed in brian’s zen footsteps, with a wild mix of chaos and order.

grahamgourlay | June 24, 2014 at 04:00 pm

interesting ...
brian does seem to be very zen. A friend told me that after the first MONA FOMA in 2009, he heard brian say that he was most proud of managing a lot of people to pull the thing together, and staying calm and treating them all with respect. What a wonderful thing to be proud of!
I think the dark mofo creators have had a fantastic person in brian to mentor them. I love the fact that he’s off touring in uk, greece and spain right now – he’s not a micro-manager – he doesn’t need to be here to make sure anyone knows what they’re doing. he’s following his ‘party all the time’ motto all around the globe, and he’s made our home town part of that!!
God, zen circus with brian and that gorgeous woman on the alto sax in the peacock theatre doing gone daddy gone at that first mofo with a manga artist painting being projected overhead – when I saw that I knew that something truly revolutionary had been birthed in hobart as the precursor to MONA which was to follow two and a bit years later.

I will be forever grateful to b. ritchie for what he has done here – for his creativity, intelligence and calm kindness. What a gift – and out of that has come this wild winter madness, while he’s off playing in the northern summer solstice. It’s the stuff of dreams … very good dreams.
Can’t wait for SUMMER MOFO xx

How Hobart Airport Cancelled A Surprise Coldplay Gig - Music News, Reviews, Interviews and Culture - Music Feeds | September 26, 2014 at 02:28 pm

[…] The Bronx, SUNN O))), Veil of Darkness, and many more alternative notables. But according to a new blog post from organiser David Walsh, they almost managed to nab one of the world’s biggest bands, […]

Ben | June 26, 2014 at 11:08 pm

I say "no" to all your suggestions (apart from my own previous stroke of genius). See previous comment. Cold, dark, winter. Funeral Doom.

John Kincade | June 24, 2014 at 09:36 am

David - my wife & I brought four friends down from Lennox Head with us for the week, taking in MONA & Dark MOFO. We felt extremely proud of our State and how it has grown in self confidence & stature over the last few years, in no small way attributable to your foresight & generosity of spirit.
Congratulations on providing such a wonderful experience!
John & Di Kincade

carolynaudet | June 24, 2014 at 07:48 am


Donna Ritchie | June 24, 2014 at 09:32 am

You're only as good as your last festival (according to Leo Schofield) so with that in mind I think you're bloomin' marvellous..... and the all that 'good' you've cultivated in the dark should shine you forward to keep playing with fire

Ben | June 24, 2014 at 11:45 am

Funeral Doom please.
Esoteric, Skepticism, Ea, Monolithe, Loss, Ataraxie, Funeralium or Pensées Nocturnes?

Perhaps some Aussies like Mournful Congregation or Murkrat?

Given our seafaring and whaling history, perhaps the ever popular Ahab might be appropriate?

Well, it was a nice fantasy while it lasted!

Catherine | June 23, 2014 at 09:21 pm

I see Diamanda as a voice for the forgotten and the persecuted. She has said "my voice was given to me as an instrument of inspiration for my friends and a tool in the torture and destruction of my enemies". I became aware of Diamanda in 1991 and I've been privileged to see her twice. Thank you to Dark Mofo for honouring the darkness which needs to be acknowledged and bought to light ... And bringing this amazing woman to Hobart.

anneevery | June 23, 2014 at 09:29 pm

Reblogged this on Viking Juice and commented: Hobart Aiport really needs to get some pallet unloading equipment, stat. David Walsh you need to get some for us! Please?

All Sizes Thanks | June 23, 2014 at 09:39 pm

At the same time, surely Tasmania's airports can address their inability to cope?
I have LOVED seeing Nick Cave, the Saints, the Wire, David Byrne, PJ Harvey, John Cale, Girl Talk, and all the other names, big and small, at summer MOFOs ...
I saw Coldplay at Glastonbury and they were wonderful, as were Radiohead, Grouplove and Foster the People who played tiny stages as surprise acts.
I have always loved the quirkiness and eclecticism of the MONA FOMA festivals, summer and winter, but I'd hate to see us diss big acts just because their planes can't land in hobart ...

Dan | June 23, 2014 at 10:45 pm

Can't help but think this a bullet dodged. Coldplay at Dark Mofo is like GG Allin at Carols By Candlelight. But obviously nowhere near as entertaining.

cate | June 24, 2014 at 12:39 am

Coldplay? Ewww, so beige.

Heather | June 24, 2014 at 12:45 am

I'll take Kirin J Callinan over those Coldplay cunts any day. Dark Mofo was all I had hoped for and more. Charged up now to survive the cold dark Vic winter. Thanks to you and all involved for your inspired programming and outstanding generosity of spirit.

davidp | June 24, 2014 at 05:50 am

I think a lack of coldplay is probably a good thing. Big is not automatically better.

mccomish | June 26, 2014 at 02:50 pm

Fuck Coldplay. See if you can Laibach next time. They'd be a much better fit for the general vibe of the thing.

kerynrobinsonartist | June 25, 2014 at 10:50 am

Best. ever. text. message from Leigh! Coldplay would have lowered the tone anyway – too whiney!
I wish I could have been there! visited for the first time on Queen's Birthday (and my birthday) weekend, hence my unsolicited job application to David Walsh on my blog...