Dark Mofo festival to light up North

Premier Lara Giddings and Tourism Minister Scott Bacon in Launceston yesterday announced the grant to ensure the Hobart-based festival will also enliven Launceston in winter.

The Opposition also said it would match the funding, if elected next year.

This year's inaugural festival, run by the Museum of Old and New Art, was hailed a success, attracting 126,000 visitors and interstate tourists spending more than $6 million during their stay.

Festival creative director Leigh Carmichael promised next year's event would be even better.

Mr Carmichael said the full program would be announced in April but a highlight would be a midwinter feast at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery to be overseen by Launceston's Festivale committee.

Ms Giddings said Dark Mofo in Launceston would see art meeting sport, as the feast would coincide with the Gold Coast Suns-Hawthorn AFL match at neighbouring Aurora Stadium on June 28.

``We have the football going on at the same time and this is a bit of a clash of cultures in some respects but there are a lot of people out there in the community, including myself, who love sport but also love the arts,'' she said.

``And if you can bring the two together, what a great experience for people.''

Mr Carmichael said Dark Mofo was timed to open in Hobart to coincide with the winter solstice on June 21 and would then travel to Launceston the following week. 

The feast will run for two or three days before the June 28 AFL game.

``We are excited to come to Lonnie,'' he said.

``This year the Skywhale [a hot air balloon with 10 breasts created by sculptor Patricia Piccinini] was a toe in the water that was well supported,'' he said.

``We are looking to come back in a much bigger and stronger way next year.''

Dark Mofo 2013 also  drew a full house at the Princess Theatre for Vandemonian Lags , a musical theatre account of the state's convict history.

Entrepreneur Errol Stewart will also contribute $10,000 to Dark Mofo in Launceston.

He said Dark Mofo ``got the whole place going'' in Hobart this year and would expect the same would happen in Launceston.

Tourism Northern Tasmania chief executive Chris Griffin said winter had been a quiet time in the North but the festival would make June a critical month, and more people would now stay for longer. 

This $200,000 Dark Mofo injection of arts-friendly funding comes just weeks after  Arts Tasmania bolstered its support of Launceston's Junction Arts Festival, also aimed at enlivening winter, to $750,000 over three years.

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