Solomon Islands’ participation at regional festivals such as the Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) and Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFest) is vital for the country’s tourism industry.

This was highlighted by the Director of the Culture Division in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Dennis Marita last week prior to the departure of the Solomon Islands delegation to the 13th FestPAC in Hawaii this month.

Hosted on the theme “Regenerating Oceania”, the festival runs from 6-16 June and is expected to attract around 2000 artists and cultural practitioners from across the Pacific with an estimated 100,000 visitors from all over the world.

Marita said the festival is not only a platform for cultural preservation and exchanges between Pacific Islanders but more importantly it is an avenue to promote Solomon Islands to the outside world.

“The country’s participation in previous festivals have connected our country to the outside world and that has attracted visitors to our country to learn more about us and our way of life,” Marita said.

He added that some of our unique arts and cultures are valuable products that are vital to our tourism sector and it is important that our government maintain its recognition and support to our arts and culture industry.

Solomon Islands participated in the festival since its inception in 1972 and has gain recognition as one of the active participants that constantly created high impact results that attracted many festival visitors.

“Our cultural diversity is our strength, which continuously bring new talents and cultural dimensions at different festivals,” Marita said.

The Government is sending a total of 85 participants including officials to represent Solomon Islands at the Hawaii FestPAC next week.

The Solomon Islands delegation comprised of performing and visual artists, contemporary and modern musicians, carvers, weavers, dancers, culinary artists, a film maker and officials.

Some members of the delegation began departing for Hawaii over the weekend while the rest in coming days.

The festival is the world’s largest celebration of indigenous Pacific Islanders showcasing their unique and dynamic arts and culture since 1972 with the intention to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchanges.

It is a vibrant and culturally enriching event celebrating the unique traditions, artistry, and diverse cultures of the Pacific region. FestPAC serves as a platform for Pacific Island nations to showcase their rich heritage and artistic talents.

The roots of FestPAC traced back to the 1970s when Pacific Island nations commenced discussion on the need to preserve and promote their unique cultural identities. The hope was to create a space where Pacific Islanders could convene to share their traditional arts, crafts, music, dance, and oral traditions with the world.

This initiative was driven by the desire to strengthen cultural bonds among Pacific Island communities and to foster a greater understanding of their cultures.

The inaugural Festival of Pacific Art and Culture took place in 1972 in Suva, Fiji. Over the years, FestPAC has evolved and grown in stature, becoming a highly anticipated event for both Pacific Islanders and visitors from around the world.

The festival has not only preserved traditional arts and culture but has also served as a platform for contemporary Pacific Island artists to express their creativity and address contemporary issues.

One of the festival’s most important objectives is to promote cultural exchange and understanding among the participating nations. It provides an opportunity for artists and cultural practitioners to learn from each other, share stories, and forge lasting connections. FestPAC serves as a reminder of the common heritage that binds Pacific Island nations and highlights the importance of preserving and celebrating their heritage.

Since its inception, FestPAC has been hosted by different Pacific Island nations on a rotational basis. Each host country takes on the responsibility of organizing and hosting the festival, providing a unique opportunity to showcase their own culture and hospitality. Host nations have all played a pivotal role in the festival’s success.

Solomon Islands hosted the 11th FestPAC in 2012 on the theme “Culture in Harmony with Nature”. It was rated as one of the biggest and successful FestPAC ever hosted attracting more than 3000 participants from 24 nations.

Previous hosts:
New Zealand – 1976
Tahiti – 1984
Australia – 1988
Cook Islands – 1992
Samoa – 1996
New Caledonia – 2000
Palau – 2004
American Samoa – 2008
Solomon Islands – 2012
Guam – 2016
Hawaii (USA) – 2024


Source: Press Release, Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet