Mofo organisers won't censor Tas festival

Ethan James

Dark Mofo organisers won't water down the often-controversial Hobart winter festival even though the city's mayor believes it creates an unhealthy culture.

Ron Christie this week said council funding for the annual event would be reviewed and that it contributes to mass tourism which is "killing" Hobart.

He's been criticised by Tasmania's peak business body, fellow councillors and Dark Mofo's creative director, who says the festival won't be censored.

This year's Dark Mofo, which wrapped up at the weekend, drew the ire of some Christians after inverted red crosses were put up at the Hobart waterfront.

More than 18,000 people signed an online petition calling on them to be taken down.

Mr Christie on Tuesday doubled down on his criticism.

"I have not backed down or stepped away from the personal comments I made about the Dark Mofo festival or the future of our city," he told reporters without taking questions.

"It's now time to have the debate and listen to our community."

Dark Mofo creative director Leigh Carmichael told AAP Mr Christie was entitled to his personal views but it was "concerning" when community leaders tried to censor art.

"We're not going to start watering down the festival in order to appease a certain alderman or members of the community," he said.

"Free expression is fundamental and paramount for artists and art organisations to express and explore new ideas.

"Impressionism at one point was controversial ... and now you wouldn't even look twice."

Dark Mofo relies on council permits to hold the festival but Mr Carmichael was confident a strong relationship between the two could continue.

Mr Christie's fellow councillors say he doesn't represent the position of the council as a whole.

Alderman Marti Zucco wants Mr Christie to resign, a call echoed by Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Mark Bailey.

"Clearly, he has not been out and about in Hobart with the tens of thousands of people who have attended Winterfeast, Dark Park and Mofo events over the past two weeks," Mr Bailey said.

Early figures indicate around 15,000 people from interstate and overseas attended this year's Dark Mofo, while a record 1537 took part in the nude winter solstice swim.

It is estimated the festival brings $50 million to the state's economy.

Mr Christie indicated on Tuesday he won't step down, saying he's had hundreds of calls and emails from people who agree with his view.

"Like me they love this city. They want to preserve its unique history and also its beauty," he said.

The Hobart City Council reportedly funds the festival by $280,000 a year, which is up for negotiation at the end of the year.

The state government pours more than $2 million a year into Dark Mofo and has previously said it won't interfere with its artistic direction.