Pacific Cultural Festival set for 2024

The Pacific islands’ premier cultural festival will now be held in 2024, says the regional organisation Pacific Community.

The Pacific Community, which is also known as the Secretariat of the Pacific Community or by its acronym S.P.C., is the custodian of the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC).

The announcement by the S.P.C. follows the decision of its Council of Pacific Arts and Culture (C.P.A.C.) and was based on Pacific-wide health, economic, and security concerns stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic. 

According to a statement released by the S.P.C., FestPAC Hawai'i Commission Chairman, Senator Kalani English said that they were excited to host this year's FestPAC but they had to defer the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We were very much looking forward to hosting FestPAC this year. However, the Commission realized there is much to consider given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawai'i and throughout the Pacific," Senator Kalani said. 

"Commissioners are now discussing how to best reaffirm our plans to highlight our indigenous cultures once the pandemic subsides, and how Hawai'i will serve as an outstanding host to delegates, participants and visitors. We have ample time to prepare." 

The FestPAC Hawai'i Commission, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (D.B.E.D.T.), continues to meet regularly. 

Its proposal to postpone the 13th Festival to 2024 was considered by the C.P.A.C. on May 20, 2020. A working group was established to determine how best to adapt the festival to ensure that everyone continues to meet the changes in the region and keep the essential role of arts and culture at the forefront of Pacific development. 

The S.P.C. Social Development Program Director, Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, said that the postponement to 2024 acknowledges the value of FestPAC while taking into account the realities faced by Pacific nations as a result of the impact of COVID-19. "We continue to work with Hawai'i as the host, in collaboration with the Pacific countries and territories to determine the best options as we move forward," he said 

FestPAC was originally scheduled to take place from June 10-21, 2020. It was the first major festival in Hawai'i to be postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic grew. The early decision was made out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of Hawai'i residents, as well as visiting delegations. 

This new date maintains the four-year cycle of festivals, while maximising the opportunity for delegations to participate at their own Pacific island nations, recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic. 

In preparation for the festival, the FestPAC Hawai'i Commission meetings continue to be held virtually and are streamed live on the D.B.E.D.T. Facebook page. Agendas are posted on the D.B.E.D.T. website one week prior to meetings. Information will also be posted on @festpachawaii social media channels on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. 

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