ALL member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) have finally confirmed their total number of delegates attending the Melanesian Arts and Culture Festival (MACFest) in Honiara this July.
Chair of the MACFest Programmes and Events Committee and Director of Culture, Dennis Marita have received confirmation of numbers from his counterparts in PNG, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia last week.
PNG will send a total of 150 participants, followed by New Caledonia with 147, Fiji with 80 and Vanuatu with 62.
Solomon Islands as the host nation has confirmed the highest with a total of 300 participants taking the total number of participants to 739.
Mr Marita said the total is expected to reach the 1000-mark once the other invited countries send in their participant numbers.
The invited countries include the Melanesian populations of West Papua in Indonesia, East Timor, Torres Strait Islands of Australia and the indigenous people of Taiwan.
The MACFest National Organising Committee in Honiara is currently in full swing with preparations to host the event.
The 10 days event will run from July 1-10 on the theme “Past Recollections; Future Connections” which is programmed to coincide with the country’s 40th Independence Anniversary.
Solomon Islands was the first MSG country to host the Melanesian Arts Festival in 1998.
After this inaugural event, the festival has been held every four years on rotational basis in the five Melanesian countries.
The Festival was conceived in 1995 by the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) to promote and preserve Melanesian culture, tradition, values and contemporary arts in the region.
–SIG, MSG & NOC JOINT PRESS