FESTPAC Postponed due to Coronavirus Fears

March 3, 2020, 6:00 AM HST (Updated March 12, 2020, 6:26 PM)
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PC: Festpac

The 13th Festival of the Pacific Arts & Culture or FESTPAC is the latest victim of Coronavirus.

Representatives of FESTPAC announced Monday they will postpone the international event due to growing global concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. Hawaiʻi was to host FESTPAC 2020 for 11 days in June 2020.

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FESTPAC organizers stressed the priority of health and safety for Hawaiʻi residents and for all festival participants in a press release and will continue to monitor developments surrounding COVID-19.

Currently, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi.

In 2016, Guam hosted the 12th FESTPAC, which drew a reported 90,000 visitors, the release continued. Hawaiʻi will remain the host for the 13th FESTPAC. However, rescheduled dates will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the FESTPAC Commission will continue its planning work.

“FESTPAC planning will continue in order to ensure that Hawaiʻi is prepared to be an outstanding host to our Pacific Island cousins and all who participate in this … event,” said Senator J. Kalani English, FESTPAC Hawaiʻi Chairman. “We want to thank all of our sponsors, supporters and all those who have expressed interest in helping with FESTPAC Hawaiʻi. Their assistance and ongoing support are critically important because even with this postponement, the festival will come sooner than we think.”

FESTPAC is a traveling festival hosted every four years by a different nation in the Pacific. It was started by the Pacific Community as a means to stem the erosion of traditional cultural practices by sharing and exchanging culture at each festival.

The first South Pacific Arts Festival was held in Fiji in 1972, and the name and participating nations have evolved into the Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture known today. Only one festival has been postponed since its inception — the 1984 festival slated for New Caledonia was postponed one year and relocated to French Polynesia due to political unrest.

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