HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Refunds are being issued for 2020 Merrie Monarch ticket holders — but not all are taking back the cash.
The coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to make the difficult decision to cancel the world’s largest hula festival this year — a first in its 57-year history.
In a statement released online, Aunty Luana Kawelu, president of the Merrie Monarch Festival, said organizers appreciated the patience shown while they formulated a fair refund process during these unprecedented times.
Some have decided to donate the money spent on the tickets to the festival.
“To those of you who already contacted our office to let us know that you would like to donate your ticket money to the Festival, mahalo for this generous offer,” Aunty Luana said. "We have decided to pass on this gesture of aloha and donate these monies to the twenty-two hālau that were invited to participate this year."
She added, “They will undoubtedly appreciate the kōkua to offset the expenses that were incurred in preparing for this year’s competition. We will be doing the same for anyone else who would like to kākoʻo the hālau in this manner.”
For more details on refunds or donations, click here to be directed to the Merrie Monarch website.
On the website are steps to request refunds. Requests must be submitted no later than June 30, 2020. Ticket holders will need to mail back their original tickets, both for refunds and donations.
Aunty Luana previously said the event needed to be canceled rather than postponed because of the significant amount of planning time it takes to put on the festival. Pushing it back this year would impact plans for next year.
When the news of the cancellation broke earlier this month, the hula world reeled — but also praised the decision in the interest of public health.
Those with additional questions can call the Merrie Monarch office at 808-935-9168 to leave a message. The office is closed for the time being, but volunteers are checking messages periodically.