It’s a sad year for music festivals. Splendour in the Grass cancelled days after tickets went on sale, Groovin the Moo cancelled due to low ticket sales, and now Tasmania’s summer festival Mona Foma has been cancelled. The news was announced in a statement from the Museum of Old and New Art’s owner and founder, David Walsh, this afternoon.

“Mona Foma took us around the world. But it ends here. Maybe the end started at Covid. Maybe it’s because the last festival was a poorly attended artistic triumph. But those aren’t the reasons I killed it,” Walsh said, in his characteristically warm but defiant way.

Broadsheet writer Marcus Teague attended the festival, which was headlined by Queens of the Stone Age, Paul Kelly and Courtney Barnett. He remarked on the low attendance, foreshadowing the cancellation. “The second weekend of Mona Foma’s … fortnight in Hobart was a beaut: warm days, mild nights, some of the planet’s most elegant music in town, art both iffy and inspiring, late-night raves and decadent drink and food. Despite these ingredients, attendance felt down on previous years.”

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In Mona’s statement, Walsh recalls the moments he loved – Peaches’s Auslan interpreter signing “peg”, Gotye playing the ondioline, and finches playing guitar among many others – but he also spoke about the expense of running a museum and its two festivals. (Dark Mofo’s 2024 edition has also been cancelled.)

“I know that we live for experience but, more and more, I seek permanence, a symbolic immortality,” he says. “At Mona, I’m building this big thing, hopefully it’ll be a good thing, but it’s a costly thing. I’m addicted to building, and my addiction got out of hand. Some things have to go before I’m too far gone … Mona Foma is one of those things. It’s been magical, but the spell has worn off.”

He goes on to thank those who attended and joke “you’ll no longer suffer from FOMO for FOMA” and “I hope it was as good for you as it was for me”.