International Hula Festival Faces Financial Hardship

Festival Organizers Say Switch In Venues Is Costly

 UPDATED 5:32 AM HST Nov 02, 2011
HONOLULU -

For the last 19 years the World Invitational Hula Festival has taken center stage at the Waikiki Shell.

Local halau, along with dancers from countries including Japan, Canada and Guam participate.

The festivals President Paulie Jennings said a month ago, she learned the event could not use the shell's parking lot during Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, the same week the event is scheduled.

?It would have been a lot easier if we would have been informed several months ago, seeing that they have been working on this project for 22 months,? said Jennings.

The competition is downsizing to an indoor venue at the Neil Blaisdell concert hall to assure parking.

Organizers said the move cost more than $10,000 in re-printing and logistical costs and the event is also stuck finding transportation for dancers staying in a Waikiki hotel.

?We are supposed to have $5,000 for a videographer. We are supposed to come up with $5,000 tomorrow for a program book otherwise we don?t have a program book,? said competition Director John Hays.

Hays said postponing the festival would result in more financial losses.

The group says the city stepped in to help, offering the concert hall at a discounted rate.

The city is also donating the Royal Hawaiian Band, which will perform on the festival?s opening day, along with free parking for the judges.

Hays said the festival promotes Hawaii's culture, though he said its uncertain future is unfortunate.

?The 20th festival which could show the heads of state of 22 countries and their delegations something about Hawaiian culture would not come about and that are what I think is a pity,? said Hays.

The city said ticket sales for past festivals averaged under $400.

For more information on tickets sales and contacting the organization check out the World Invitational Hula Festival website.

You can also call the World Invitational Hula Festival by calling (808) 486-3185 or (808) 947-6013.

See hula photos shared on u local in the slideshow below.

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