The Prince Lot Hula Festival is moving to ʻIolani Palace for its 40th anniversary.
The non-competitive festival honors Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, who reigned as Kamehameha V from 1863 to 1872 and helped reprise hula after it had been banned.
“We are pleased to welcome this signature cultural event to the Palace,” says ʻIolani Palace Executive Director Kippen de Alba Chu. “Hula has always been an integral part of the Palace and the festival will celebrate this time-honored legacy.”
Moanalua Gardens Foundation will continue to run the festival that it hosted for the past 39 years. “It is the perfect time to bring the festival into town – making it easier to attend for the entire community,” says MGF Executive Director Alike Jamile.
Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine, an honoree of the 40th event, and fellow kumu Michael Pili Pang and Māpuana De Silva expressed enthusiasm for the new venue. The three have been with the festival from its infancy, before Moanalua Gardens had a hula mound. During the festival’s early years, hula was performed on a decorated flat-bed truck.
“Now we are excited to bring the celebration to a new home, a place that was the home of royals and later the official palace of the royals,” says Pauline Warsham, the festival’s executive director.
Hula presentations from hālau on Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, Hawai‘i Island and Japan will follow opening ceremonies that include the Royal Order of Kamehameha and an awards ceremony. Hawaiian chanter Cy Bridges will receive the inaugural Namakahelo Oli Award and Sen. Daniel K. Akaka and Charles M. Cook and Takamine will each receive the Kukui o Lota Award, the Festival’s highest honor.
Exhibitors, crafters, designers and artisans will fill one side of the Palace lawn throughout the festival. Between performances, the audience can shop, watch cultural demonstrations, buy food from local vendors and enjoy concerts by the Kamehameha Alumni Glee Club and Royal Hawaiian Band.