Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture Sets New Dates

July 1, 2020, 2:42 PM HST (Updated July 1, 2020, 2:42 PM)
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The 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) will still be held in Hawai‘i, but not until 2024.

New festival dates announced Wednesday are June 6 to June 16, 2024. The announcement by The Pacific Community (SPC), as the custodian of FestPAC, follows a decision by the SPC’s Council of Pacific Arts and Culture (CPAC) that was based on Pacific-wide health, economic, and security concerns stemming from the ongoing 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 Hawaiʻi and throughout the Pacific,” said Senator J. Kalani English, FestPAC Hawaiʻi Commission Chairman. “Commissioners are now discussing how to best reaffirm our plans to highlight our indigenous cultures once the pandemic subsides, and how Hawaiʻi will serve as an outstanding host to delegates, participants, and visitors. We have ample time to prepare.”

The FestPAC Hawaiʻi Commission, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Hawaiʻi Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), continues to meet regularly. Its proposal to postpone the 13th Festival to 2024 was considered by the CPAC on May 20, 2020. A working group was established to determine how best to adapt the festival to ensure that we continue to meet the changes in the region and keep the essential role of arts and culture at the forefront of Pacific development.

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“The postponement to 2024 acknowledges the value of FestPAC while taking into account the realities faced by our Pacific nations as a result of the impacts of COVID-19,” said Leituala Kuiniselani Toelupe Tago-Elisara, the director of SPC’s Social Development Program from the Pacific Community. “We continue to work with Hawaiʻi as the host, in collaboration with Pacific countries and territories, to determine the best options as we move forward.”

FestPAC was originally scheduled to take place from June 10 to June 21, 2020. It was the first major festival in Hawaiʻi 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 Hawaiʻi residents, as well as visiting delegations. This new date maintains the four-year cycle of festivals while maximizing the opportunity for delegations to participate as their own Pacific island nations recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

In preparation for the festival, FestPAC Hawaiʻi Commission meetings continue to be held virtually and are streamed live on the DBEDT Facebook page. Agendas are posted on the DBEDT website one week prior to meetings. Information will also be posted on @festpachawaii social media channels on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

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