The COVID-19 pandemic has had a marked impact on cultural festivals that employ international artists to perform at events catering for domestic and international visitors. Air transit routes have been severely disrupted across the globe and border security measures have severely restricted international arrivals. In nations such as Australia, where there have been further sets of restrictions on movements between states, the logistics of running major arts events have been highly onerous. This short case study profiles a range of logistical issues faced by the organisers of the annual Dark Mofo festival, held in Hobart, Tasmania. These issues were particularly significant singe the festival plays a key role in the winter economy of the island and threats to its operation had multiple ramifications for a range of related tourism activities. The case study thereby highlights the precarity of reliance on major ‘big ticket’ events and the adept nature of organisatioal responses to such challenges.