Manafest in Pāhoa returns after COVID pandemic

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In the heart of Pāhoa’s lush green landscape, hundreds of people — artists, musicians, coaches, facilitators alike — gathered to sing, dance and celebrate at Manafest, a three-day music, dance and education festival that returned from Jan. 17-21 this year after COVID-19 pandemic.

“The amount of support and love that showed up at this event was remarkable,” said Amber Toney, co-producer of the event. “The level of healing that occurred is beyond words. People came from all over the island. Women came from all walks of life to share their songs, gifts and wisdom with Manafest. We danced, we sang, we cried, we unified. We remembered who we truly are.”

The event, which took place at the Kalani Oceanside Retreat Center, brought the “‘ohana back together,” said event co-producer Hope Medford. There was a myriad of activities offered to festival-goers, from a marketplace to an art gallery to workshops, a tea palace, live painting, a keiki zone and more.

The mission of Manafest?

To create balance and harmony while immersed in the sacred feminine, and for powerful women’s voices to be heard and honored, according to the event’s website.

When Amma Sophia Rose, founder and creator of Sonic Love Alchemy, got the call to facilitate a workshop, she knew she had to join.


Rose, who is passionate about using her gifts to help others (through music, sound and frequency) led the workshop ‘Dove Codex Vocal Alchemy’ to help women connect with their voice, their heart and their ancestry.

“We’re connecting to the voice of creation,” Rose said. “When we connect to our own voice, and we witness that we are creating our life through what we speak and sing, we can become more aware of the world we create. That’s what I am here today to do. To help women use their voice and activate that frequency.”

Amma Sophia Rose founder and creator of Sonic Love Alchemy facilitated a workshop at Manafest 2024. (Photo credit: Megan Hadley)

Rose, who identifies as First Nation tribes Apache, Tewa and Mexican lineages, first began singing and discovered the power of her voice when she was 34 years old.

For Rose, the early years of her life were turbulent as she left her small town home in New Mexico and moved to Las Vegas after having a child at 17.

“There was a lot of trauma, and I hadn’t quite found my voice yet,” she recalled.


It wasn’t until Rose moved to Arizona, where she met all kinds of leaders, healers and indigenous folks, that she started to find her way.

“I remember I was on top of a mountain in Sedona, Ariz., when the Goddess appeared to me,” she recalled. “She came in dove form and she gave me my voice back. I started singing for the first time and it was such a powerful experience.”

Now, Rose travels the world helping other women find their voice and using her gifts of song, dance and sound to heal them.

“I see their hearts and sing it back to them,” she explained. “The love. I help them go into painful memories and alchemize that — whether it’s an illness or fear or trauma — and sing it into the light and help them make peace with themselves.”

Annie, a festival-goer who asked only to be identified by her first name, said the three-day event was a chance to be with loved ones.


“It has been so lovely and healing to witness all the sisters here,” she said. “I love this community so much. It feels like a big family.”

Her favorite moment was one when everyone could be felt singing together.

“There was a beautiful moment Friday night where everyone was singing, like a chorus, or choir, and I remember closing my eyes and feeling the power of everyone’s voices together and that was so special,” Annie said.

Deanna Kubler, another festival goer, agreed.

“I am feeling so grateful for this space dedicated for women to do this higher work together. I feel so happy.”

Megan Hadley
Megan Hadley is a freelance journalist and life coach who helps people uncover their true joy and bliss. Her work has been featured in the Associated Press, the New York Post, The US Sun, the Cincinnati Enquirer and West Hawaii Today. She lives on the Big Island.

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