Diplomatic Missions in Solomon Islands have been briefed on current preparations to host the 6th Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFest) in Honiara in July this year.
The briefing at Mendana Hotel was conducted by the MACFest National Organizing Committee on Thursday.
A statement from the committee said, this was to update the diplomatic community of preparations and possible areas that they could assist the Solomon Islands with.
Significant reductions to the 2018 budget across many Ministries has affected festival preparations and the National Organizing Committee is taking other approaches to seek support from other sources including the donor community and the private sector.
National Organizing Committee Chair and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Andrew Nihopara said,the Committee wishes to provide an opportunity for our friends to partner with the Government in hosting the festival.
A similar briefing has been planned for the Private Sector in coming weeks.
“We are confident to host the festival in July despite significant cuts to our budget. We will seek partnership with other groups to assist us where ever possible,” Mr Nihopara said.
The Government has approved a total of SB$10 million to host the festival, with SB$7 million coming from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the remaining SB$3 million collected from other Ministries under a cost-sharing arrangement.
Cuts in the budget has resulted in the scaling down of festival activities and the number of overseas participants from Melanesia.
Actual preparations on the festival venues will begin as soon as parliament passed the 2018 budget.
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.
1998 – Solomon Islands
2002 – Vanuatu
2006 – Fiji
2010 – New Caledonia (Kanaky)
2014 – Papua New Guinea
2018 – Solomon Islands