More than 20,000 people packed Suva's Post Fiji Stadium last night for the launch of the Third Melanesian Arts and Cultural Festival.
A 500-voice choir, Solomon Islands pan pipers, log drummers, the Fijian
military brass band, fireworks and even spontaneous break-dancing were all part
of the entertainment as the crowd enjoyed a preview of the 10-day festival.
Delegations from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Torres Strait Islands paraded in the stadium before the Fijian Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase, and other dignitaries.
The idea of a festival every four years to preserve, protect and promote Melanesian cultures and traditions, was adopted at a 1997 meeting of the Melanesian Spearhead Group.
The first festival was held in Solomon Islands in 1998, then Vanuatu in 2002.