APEC causes financial scramble for Hula Festival

Published: Nov. 1, 2011 at 11:14 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 1, 2011 at 11:23 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The World International Hula Festival was supposed to celebrate its 20th Anniversary at the Waikiki Shell this month, but the upcoming APEC conference has forced the festival to relocate.

The World International Hula Festival invites thousands of people and halaus from around the world to celebrate and help educate the public. The festival has called the Shell home for the past 19 years, but APEC security restrictions have left the festival's board of directors with no choice but to relocate to the Blaisdell Concert Hall. The two events are currently scheduled to coincide.

The Waikiki Shell has a capacity of about 6,000 people and provides the festival with an outdoor space that includes plenty of room for vendors. The Blaisdell Concert Hall, which has a capacity of around 2,000 people, is slightly more expensive, and organizers are concerned that the new venue will not allow vendors and event entertainment to be visible with one another.

At last year's festival, for example, attendees were able to get lomi lomi massages while listening to hula chanting on stage.

Because of the security restrictions, the sudden change in venue has caused the festival to lose $15,000 in sponsorship money. The festival has reached out to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Governor Neil Abercrombie and President Barack Obama, but has not yet received a response.

The festival still needs about $18,000 to help cover printing costs, equipment, tenting, security, food and venue rental fees.

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