The Prince Lot Hula Festival is moving from its longtime home at Moanalua Gardens to Iolani Palace next month. The Moanalua Gardens Foundation, organizer of the festival, had used the 22-acre, privately owned park for 39 years without charge.
Foundation managing director Pauline Worsham said park owner Kaimana Ventures Ltd. wanted more than $47,000 for use of the venue for this year’s festival, July 15 and 16. Alika Jamile, foundation executive director and president, said in an email the nonprofit could not afford to pay the fee, prompting the move. He noted the hula festival has always been free and open to the public, in the “spirit of aloha,” and said the foundation is “committed to keeping it free and open to all, now and into the future.”
Worsham called the palace “a grand setting” for the festival, the largest noncompetitive hula event in the state.
The foundation board will evaluate how the festival goes this year before determining where future ones will be held, she said. Last year, the two-day festival drew an estimated 10,000 attendees.
The Prince Lot Hula Festival will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 15 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 16. Visit moanaluagardensfoundation.org for details.