It’s not every day that the world’s most popular rock band knocks on your door with an offer to play a free gig, but that is exactly what happened to the organisers of this year’s Dark Mofo.
If the last-minute planning had come off, Coldplay would have performed at Macquarie Wharf Number 2, with screens outside, to 10,000 fans.
A few months before Dark Mofo kicked off, the event’s creative director Leigh Carmichael was contacted by Coldplay’s management.
The band was on a worldwide promotional tour and wanted to make an unscheduled stop in Hobart.
Suddenly Mr Carmichael had a major coup on his hands.
For a moment, he wondered whether the massively popular mainstream band would be “on brand” for his delightfully dark and esoteric festival.
Any doubt quickly gave way to an effort to pull out all stops to get the group on the bill.
“We would never get a band that size to come and do a one-off show in Australia, so we were going to grab it with both hands,” Mr Carmichael said.
“We knew that it would have brought a lot of joy to thousands and thousands of Hobartians. So we were prepared to do it anyway.”
However, once preparations began a hitch appeared when it came to flying the band and all its gear into Hobart.
After a 767 was chartered it was discovered that such a plane could not be unloaded in Hobart airport.
So they considered splitting the freight between two smaller planes but the timing proved too tight to allow the band to meet scheduled appearances in London.
“It was cutting it too fine. Their production guys weren’t prepared to sign on to it …wasn’t worth the risk, so they chose to do the concert in Sydney,” Mr Carmichael said.