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Honolulu City Council bill proposes increasing Royal Hawaiian Band's private event fees

Royal Hawaiian Band
The Royal Hawaiian Band performs at many events, including the 2019 Prince Kūhiō Day Parade in Waikīkī.

A Honolulu City Council proposal would increase the Royal Hawaiian Band’s performance fees for private functions.

The band's performance fees for private events have not changed since 1990, said longtime bandmaster Clarke Bright.

Right now, the band charges private events $1,200 for the first hour and $150 for every 15 minutes after that.

Bill 45 would change that to $2,500 for the first hour and $250 for every 15 minutes thereafter.

The measure would also increase fees for vessel departures and arrivals, and for TV, movie and other recordings.

Bright said the proposal is to make their fees more fair and equitable. He said many private functions, including conventions, pay much more, sometimes at least double what the band currently charges for similar performances.

Private functions make up a small number of the band’s performances, he said. Most of their more than 300 concerts every year are free to the public. He said the proposal would not impact those public performances.

Established in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, the Royal Hawaiian Band is considered the only full-time municipal band in the country. Members perform at public concerts, parades, community centers and schools.

Bill 45 is up for first reading at the City Council’s meeting on Wednesday.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at
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