Swimmers to strip down for festival

A NUDE Solstice Swim will kick off Launceston's first ever Dark Mofo with a splash in June.

The Museum of Old and New Art yesterday announced its winter festival would take over Hobart from June 12 to 22, before moving to Launceston from June 20 to July 5.

The nude swim, which caused a stir when it was introduced last year, will be held in Launceston for the first time on June 22 and will run simultaneously with the Hobart event.

The solstice swim follows winter's longest night and is a way to welcome back the light.

Eager swimmers will strip off and make a dash in to the water right on sunrise, which is set to be 7.38am in Launceston and 7.42am in Hobart.

Dark Mofo's northern debut will also feature a winter feast from June 27 to 28 at Inveresk, a large-scale public artwork to illuminate the night, a Dark Mofo films' program, art exhibitions, durational performance and the infamous Dark Faux Mo.

Festival creative director Leigh Carmichael said organisers were still in the final stages of locking down the full line-up for Launceston and Hobart and it would be announced in April.

``For now, we are putting the dates out there for those wishing to travel from interstate so they can book flights and organise their accommodation,'' he said.

Last year's Hobart Dark Mofo attracted more than 128,000 people to events across 10 days.

Launceston City Council alderman Rob Soward said the festival would be a great attraction for the North, but was not sure if he would take part in the nude solstice swim.

``Anything that brings vibrancy into the community is a great thing and the whole Dark Mofo concept is one that many Tasmanians have supported so I'm really happy that it's coming to Launceston,'' he said.

``I'm not going to commit at this stage (to the swim), I'm guessing we'll see if it's a cold day or not.''

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