HILO — Organizers and sponsors are working together on options for holding the Merrie Monarch Festival in 2021, but it is clear that there will be no live audience.
“Having to cancel last year’s event was a very hard decision, but one we knew was necessary for the health and safety of our beloved dancers, kumu, judges and hula community overall,” said Merrie Monarch Festival President Luana Kawelu.
While Kawelu and her staff are moving forward with planning for a 2021 event, she added, “Health and safety is still our No. 1 concern and, therefore, we have made the decision that if the festival is held, there will be no live audience.”
As a result, no tickets will be available for sale for 2021. Many who have requested tickets over the last 50+ years know that ticket-request forms are usually accepted starting on Dec. 1.
Kathy Kawelu, Luana’s daughter and kako‘o, asked for everyone’s kokua, saying, “We need to get the word out to everyone who might be gearing up to send in requests. We will not be accepting ticket requests for Merrie Monarch 2021. Please do not send ticket requests and payment as you might normally do.”
The Merrie Monarch organizing committee is diligently working to develop a 2021 event that will allow for a celebration of hula that aligns with recommended COVID-19 protocols and guidelines.
Luana Kawelu said, “So many have expressed how much they would like to see the festival be held, as would we. Nonetheless, while the perpetuation of hula and Hawaiian culture is our mission, our priority during these unprecedented times is keeping our ‘ohana and community safe and healthy.”
Visit merriemonarch.com for future updates and further information as it becomes available.