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More countries sign up for Melanesian festival next year

MORE Melanesian countries and societies in the Pacific region are showing interest in participating in next year’s 6th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture in Solomon Islands.

The 6th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture will be hosted in Solomon Islands after the country won the bid during the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture hosted in PNG in 2014.

Director of Culture Division under the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mr Dennis Marita told this paper yesterday that with only a year left and countries are pouring in their pledges to participate.

He said since introduction of these countries to participate in the last Melanesian Festival in PNG, they feel like coming together as part of the Melanesian community in the Pacific region.

Mr Marita said as strong bonds of Melanesian features are shown in these countries, it is one of the reasons the Melanesian Festival was established to encourage interaction between Melanesians themselves.

He said as was experienced couple of festivals ago, only five major Melanesian countries participated.

Mr Marita said since then the number has increased which was evident in the 5th Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture in PNG.

He said Melanesian countries and societies showing interest to participate in next year’s Melanesian Festival of Arts and Culture include West Papuans under Indonesia, Torres Strait islands in Australia, East Timor, Madagascar and others.

Adding that even other non-Melanesian races in the Pacific are showing interest to be part of the show, as they can refer back to the beautiful memories during the FOPA hosted in 2012.

However, Mr Marita said selections on participants will be made by the Melanesian festival local organising committee, and that will bring the final number of participants.

He also mentioned that the Ministry expects to formulate the Melanesian Festival local organising committee by the end of next month.