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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Solomon delegation travel to Fiji today for 3rd Melanesian Arts Festival in Suva

The Solomon Islands delegation to the Melanesian Festival of Arts in Suva, Fiji will leave Honiara today. It is understood forty six people are in the delegation for the festival whick kick off on monday next week.

Dancers and carvers from Central, Ysabel, Malaita, Rennell Bellona and Western provinces will represent the country at the Festival. Provincial reports from Central Province stated that the 12 women dancers from the province have never travelled out of the Solomon Islands thus, this trip to Fiji will be their first overseas tour which would be treasured for a very long time.

Meanwhile, Fiji officials are leaving no stones unturned as they gear up for the 2006 Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival which will coincide with Fiji Day on October 10th, the 36th Anniversary of Fiji's independence in 1970. From October 2nd to October 11th, cultural groups from the Melanesian Spearhead countries - Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea - will converge in Suva. This will be the third Melanesian Arts Festival (the previous two were in Honiara in 1998 and Port Vila in 2002).

The theme of this year's festival is "Living Cultures, Living Traditions". Sukuna Park in downtown Suva will be the venue for the handicraft and cooking demonstrations, plus lunchtime entertainment. The Suva Civic Center across the street from the park will host the arts and crafts exhibition. Admission to the festival village and exhibitions will be free to the public.

The Melanesian Arts Festival's combined evening performances will be held at the Suva Foreshore just a few minutes walk from the Sukuna Park. However, the most spectacular singing and dancing will be during the opening and closing ceremonies at the Post Fiji National Stadium, just beside the University of the South Pacific campus at Laucala Bay. In addition, there will be symposiums, forums, and seminars on Melanesian arts and culture at the Civic Center, Festival Village, and university campus throughout the week.

The VIP guests and delegations are expected to be accomodated at the Holiday Inn and Tanoa Plaza Hotels whilst the dancers and artists will stay in various schools around the Suva City vicinity. The Solomon delegation might stay in the Vatuwaqa Primary School which is also beside the University of the South Pacific. Other cultural groups that have shown interest to become part of this festival include the Aborigines, Thursday Island, and Torres Strait Islands.

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