Melanesia Arts and Culture Festival venues secured

Venues for hosting the 6th Melanesia Arts and Culture Festival (MACFest) in Honiara in July this year have been secured.

The MACFest National Organising Committee (NOC) has been holding talks and arrangements with the Solomon Islands National University in recent weeks to provide accommodation and other facilities to host the festival.

The Melanesian Festival Village will be built at the Panatina Grounds to host the majority of festival activities, similar to the 2012 Festival of Pacific Arts.

SINU’s Kukum, Panatina, and Marine School Campus will be used for accommodation and catering for both visiting and local contingents. A major upgrade of SINU facilities will take place when the 2018 budget is passed this month.

Tentatively, the grand opening ceremony will be staged a Lawson Tama on Sunday 1st July while all other major activities including performing arts, exhibitions and musical entertainment including the closing ceremony will be staged at the Panatina Oval.

Other minor activities will be staged at other locations around Central Honiara, including the Art Gallery Crafts Center, the National Museum, the Panatina Pavilion, the Ranadi Marine School Lecture Theaters and the Multi-Purpose Hall.

Chair of the Events and Programmes Committee, Mr Dennis Marita said talks with SINU authorities and the Honiara City Council with other relevant stakeholders have been positive and the Committee will begin construction of facilities as soon as the budget is passed.

“Our team is confident to get things completed before July despite delays in the national budget,” he said.

Chair of the MACFest National Organising Committee (NOC) and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara said Sub-Committees supporting the NOC to carry out actual ground works have been formed.

“These Sub-Committees are just waiting for the budget to carry out their mandated tasks,” Mr Nihopara said.

The ten days event will run from July 1-10 on the theme “Past Recollections; Future Connections” which is programmed to coincide with the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary.

Approximately 1500 delegates from the five MSG countries (Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia) will be attending the event. Also there will be invited delegates from the West Papua region of Indonesia, Timor Leste, and Torres Strait Islands of Australia.

Solomon Islands was the first MSG country to host the Melanesian Arts Festival in 1998. After this inaugural event, the festival has been held every four years on rotational basis in the five Melanesian Countries.

The Festival was conceived in 1995 by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to promote and preserve Melanesian culture, tradition, values and contemporary arts in the region.

Festival Timeline:

1998 – Solomon Islands

2002 – Vanuatu

2006 – Fiji

2010 – New Caledonia (Kanaky)

2014 – Papua New Guinea

2018 – Solomon Islands

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