Mark your calendar!
The 2018 Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival (MACFest) will take place July 1-14, 2018 in the Solomon Islands and will coincide with country’s 40th Anniversary. The theme for next year’s event will be “Past Recollection for Future Connections.”
MACFest was one of the outcome resolutions of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) Ministers meeting in Honiara earlier this month. During the week’s MSG Ministers summit the group also agreed upon which MSG countries will provide assistance to support the host country.
The festival was confirmed by MACFest’s chairperson and Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Andrew Nihopora. Mr. Nihopora said that his committee will be working on a 6-7 months time-frame to ensure that preparations would be done before the actual festival time. “The main cultural venue is the National Art Gallery. Work is progressing now. We are working to ensure that all work will be done a month before the event.”
Director of Culture, Dennis Marita, who is also a member of the MACFest organizing committee, commented about updating the main preparation of work and believes that they have learnt a lot from the Festival of Pacific Arts that took place in 2012. “In terms of facilities, we are looking at building more permanent facilities within the Art Gallery area that can be used later,” he said. “Construction work is currently underway.” He explained there won’t be any provincial satellite venues due to budgetary constraints. A cultural village will be constructed outside of the main festival venue which is the Art Gallery.
Approximately 2000 delegates from the five MSG countries (Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia) will be attending the event. The Solomon Islands will have 300 delegates. Also there will be invited delegates from West Papua, Timor Leste, and Torres Strait Island of Australia. West Papua has been granted an observer status at the MSG meeting.
The Solomon Islands was the first MSG country to host the Melanesian Arts Festival in 1998. After this initial event, the festival has been held every four years.