Hobart’s Pagan Dark Mofo Festival Cancelled Next Year

26 September 2023

3.3 MINS

Dark Mofo organisers cite rising costs and a need for rest, review and reset before coming back bigger in 2025.

Dark Mofo, a neo-pagan festival held yearly in Hobart during winter, has been cancelled for 2024. But two of its events, the nude solstice swim and winter feast, will go ahead next year.

The 2023 festival saw record attendance and ticket sales, but event organisers cited “changing conditions and rising costs” as reasons to pause the festival in 2024. Organisers issued the following statement:

“After 10 years of darkness, and in preparation for 10 more, Dark Mofo is pausing in 2024 for a period of renewal.

“Since Dark Mofo’s inception back in 2013, the festival has felt the weight of shifting conditions and the burden of escalating costs.

“While 2023 left an indelible mark, it also exacted its toll, prompting the decision to pause, reflect and plan out a more sustainable future.

“We will return – whole and bountiful – in 2025.

“From our dark heart to yours.”


Considering the amount of prayer against this dark festival, next year’s cancellation is very welcome and encouraging. But as spiritual battles won’t go away, there’s always the need to reflect on current culture, and how Christians should respond to it.

Government Backing

Dark Mofo receives significant public funding and government endorsement. The 2022 festival involved $7.5 million dollars in funding from the Tasmanian Government, $1 million from the Federal Government and $500,000 from Hobart City Council.

Reflecting on the 2023 ten-year anniversary, Tasmanian premier Jeremy Rockliff paid tribute to his predecessors “for the vision and courage to invest in what has been an extraordinary contribution of so many creative people over the course of the last decade.”

Hobart Mayor Anna Reynolds believes the event has changed Hobart, stating that “There’s been such a change in Hobart in the last ten years as a result of Dark Mofo and the winter feast.”

A Biblical Perspective

The Bible would agree that a public endorsement of neo-pagan practices would result in a change in Hobart. However, there would be sharp disagreement that change would be positive.

inverted cross Dark Mofo Hobart Tasmania

According to the Scriptures, humans don’t merely inhabit this planet. We co-habit it (with the spiritual realm made up of God and good and evil angels).

Dark Mofo has placed sayings such as “Welcome to Hell” at the Hobart Airport and features upside-down crosses. It’s interesting the ‘other side’ of the spiritual realm recognises where its true opposition lies: the cross. Why are there no inverted Hindu or Buddhist symbols? Why didn’t Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, call it the Mosque of Satan?

That the dark spiritual side segregates out Christianity as special while promoting hell tells us something about the reality of the world. Of course, like Jesus, we refuse the testimony of demons (Mark 1:34). But the demonic realm does have accurate theology, and it knows the truth about Jesus (Mark 1:24). And its knowledge of that truth will manifest itself in various, dark ways.

Modern Australian culture largely dismisses the role of the spiritual realm (Eph 6:12). Even among those who accept it, few would acknowledge the spiritual realm’s impact on day-to-day life.

Hosea 4:6 teaches that people “are destroyed for lack of knowledge”. Ignorance is not bliss.

Secularism Won’t Succeed: What Will Take Its Place?

The secular worldview (the idea that the natural realm is all that there is) has a stranglehold over the public square in Australia. But cracks in it are now appearing (such as Dark Mofo).

It’s only a matter of time before secularism falls. In response to the question, ‘Why am I here?’, secularism answers, ‘For no reason at all. The universe is here through blind, chance processes. There is no plan, nor purpose. You are a cosmic accident, an insignificant biological machine in a cold dark universe.’

Such an answer cannot satisfy the longing of the human heart. Humans are spiritual beings created in the image of an eternal and infinite Spirit: the Creator God (Gen 1:26). We can only suppress that spirituality for so long.

The book Cross and Culture: Can Jesus Save the West? presents the changing Australian landscape using the following diagram:

Australian society is a mixed bag, not a homogenous whole. That said, it’s undeniable that we are moving clockwise around that circle, away from a Christian society and towards a post-secular and pre-modern one.

Dark Mofo falls under the ‘post-secular’ heading, where “humanity is debased and ancient beliefs are revived”.

A Christian Response

The rise of neo-pagan beliefs and practices create particular challenges for the Church. They also present opportunities.

The Church will require good training and equipping in knowing how to deal with the evil spiritual realm. And how to help people who, ignorantly or otherwise, are caught up in it.

People’s openness to spiritual realities will create opportunities for Christians where previously, invitations to ‘secular’ Australians would have met a closed door.

First-century culture in the Roman Empire was highly paganistic. If the Church could, despite the odds, thrive in this setting (Col 1:6), there’s no reason it can’t do so again.


Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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  1. Kim Beazley 26 September 2023 at 8:12 am - Reply

    So good that you see the opportunities within the challenges, Sam. That’s actually the kind of prophetic edge which will come into play in revival. And even if they do come back next year, I know people in prophetic ministry who go into such festivals and New Age conferences with some incredible encounters and miracles.

    Back in the ’80’s Christian Rock singer/songwriter Steve Camp sang, “Light your candle on the front porch of Hell”. DarkMofo is as good a place as any to do so, don’t you think?

    • Samuel Hartwich 26 September 2023 at 12:59 pm - Reply

      Absolutely, and what you have described already happened this year, which is so encouraging. Indeed, we are to light our candle and put it where it can be seen (Matt 5:15)!

  2. Countess Antonia Maria Violetta Scrivanich 28 September 2023 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    The word “DARK “says it all ! Satanic. What a waste of taxpayers’money when Tasmanians wait years for operations, roads are deplorable , public transport almost non-existent, and most Tasmanian schools do not provide Years 11 + 12 ., etc , etc. ! But, who will properly lead our State ?
    I cannot think of anything more disgusting than to go for a nude public swim with thousands. When I was young, I won more than one Beauty Contest , but, I would never have stooped to that !

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