Leonard: KWXX Hoʻolauleʻa cancelled

The 28th KWXX Ho‘olaule‘a, scheduled for January in downtown Hilo, has been cancelled, according to Chris Leonard, president and general manager of New West Broadcasting Corp.

In an “open letter to our Hawaii Island community” posted Wednesday on Facebook, Leonard wrote that he was making the announcement “with tremendous disappointment and sadness,” and that the reason for the cancellation was “due to the denial of our road closure permits” by the Hawaii Police Department.


“The police department requested we move the event citing manpower concerns; however the suggested alternative venues are not suitable for an event of our size, do not significantly reduce the manpower needs and are inconsistent with the intent, history and legacy of the event that has been built over the past 30 years,” he wrote.

The KWXX Ho‘olaule‘a — founded by Leonard’s father, John Leonard, in 1993 — has become one of Hilo’s biggest annual events, drawing thousands of attendees from across the island and elsewhere for a night of live music performed by some of Hawaii’s most prominent and popular musicians.

“The economic impact to our community is undeniable with full hotels and food and beverage sales up at restaurants all over town,” Leonard noted in his letter. “We have 40+ food and craft vendors on site generating substantial revenue at a time when most businesses are closed. Musicians, contractors, special duty, private security, staff etc. are also working. …

“I understand staffing issues are a challenge everywhere, however attempts to mitigate those concerns this year were met with disapproval leaving us with insufficient time to make the event work” he wrote.”It is unfortunate that we are unable to find a suitable path forward this year for an event that has meant so much to so many people. We are hopeful to be able to move forward in the future.”

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