No Tickets Available to the Public for the 2022 Merrie Monarch Festival
After canceling in 2020 and videotaping performances in 2021, the world-renowned hula festival is moving forward on stage, but with a much smaller audience in Hilo.
Word spread through the hula community that the Merrie Monarch Festival’s world-famous celebration of hula will return to live on-stage performances in April 2022, with a very limited audience.
Festival President Luana Kawelu revealed the decision this week on merriemonarch.com, saying safety during the ongoing pandemic remains a paramount concern. “We are pleased to be moving toward our regular presentation of the annual Merrie Monarch Festival for 2022, however, we are not completely back to business as usual,” Kawelu says.
“While we are able to welcome some audience members back to Hilo to enjoy spectacular hula live in the Edith Kanaka‘ole Multipurpose Stadium, we have only secured permission to offer a fraction of the tickets we usually sell for the competition,” she says.
In 2021, the week-long cultural festival proceeded cautiously. Many hālau had to shift to outdoor practice areas, spacing masked dancers 6-feet apart. At the event, fewer halau, with fewer dancers, had to adhered to strict COVID-19 protocols of testing and isolation. That meant most family members and friends couldn’t attend.
“As we slowly open our doors to audiences, we want to ensure that the hālau and their families are cared for first and will continue our practice of allotting participating hālau a set amount of tickets as in years past,” Kawelu wrote on merriemonarch.com. “These hālau tickets, along with a reduced number of complimentary tickets for longstanding supporters and sponsors of the Festival, will be the only tickets available.”
Organizers say that means there is no process for requesting tickets. And request envelopes will not be opened.
Kawelu noted the extraordinary support the festival receives from across the world and looks forward to the time when all are able to gather safely: “Your appreciation and love of the hula is profound, and we value your support for the perpetuation of this vital cultural practice,” she wrote on the website “We apologize that we are currently unable to welcome back more of you to experience the Merrie Monarch Festival in person.”