ENTERTAINMENT

Hibiscus Festival Committee Mulls Over Event’s Timing And Venue

“We would like to have the festival happen in Suva City because the festival belongs to the city of Suva.”
05 Jul 2019 11:34
Hibiscus Festival Committee Mulls Over Event’s Timing And Venue
From left: Vodafone Fiji Hibiscus fourth runner-up Rayshal Nath, Nasinu Town Council special administrator Mosese Kama, first runner-up Nikhat Nilufa Khan, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Vodafone Fiji chief operating officer Ronald Prasad, Vodafone Fiji Hibiscus queen Jessica Fong, second runner-up Simran Nand and third runner-up Lice Yacadra during the crowning at the Valelevu Ground in Nasinu on August 18, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The organising committee for the Hibiscus Festival has two major issues to deal with.

One is the venue for the annual event and the other is whether there will be a festival this year.

This was revealed by Festival executive committee chair Vinay Kumar, who says the festival needs to happen in the city.

He said once the organising committee was set up its first task would be to look for a venue.

“Once the committee is set up, we will look at the logistics of having the Hibiscus, either this year or next year, or where and what are the possibilities,” Mr Kumar said.

“As you know getting a venue is an issue in Suva City and that’s what we are looking at.

“We would like to have the festival happen in Suva City because the festival belongs to the city of Suva.”

Albert Park was the traditional home of the Hibiscus Festival, but this was prior to the venue getting a $16 million makeover.

When Albert Park used to be the venue of the Hibiscus Festival rehabilitation of the park would cost the Suva City Council up $20,000 and sometimes more.

SCC has refused to let Albert Park be used for anything other than sports. And people using the ground are not allowed use studded boots.

The Suva Foreshore was used, but the amount of rubbish being thrown into the sea became an issue.

The Fiji Sports Council provided the venue until last year, but construction work at the Vodafone Arena has stopped this.

Then in 2018, the Hibiscus Festival was held in Nasinu, an idea which the Suva Retailers Association and Suva City Council did not agree on. Mr Kumar is also the president of SRA.

He said retailers and stall owners approached him wanting the festival to be held in Suva because it would boost the local economy.

“So, we need to work with the stakeholders, especially with the Ministry of Local Government. The honourable Minister has shown a lot of interest and her input would be very important on when and how we will set up the next Hibiscus,” Mr Kumar said.

“Suva benefits from the Hibiscus Festival. If this is done hastily, we will again face the same issues we have had previously.”

In the special meeting that was held on Tuesday night, audit reports of 2013 and 2014 were presented and are expected to be discussed over time.

Mr Kumar said the committee planned to present the audited reports for the years up to 2018.

But for now, the Hibiscus Festival is not happening in August and a question mark hangs if it will happen this year.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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