KING contestant applicants for this year's Hibiscus Festival were in Suva to audition for a spot in the festival's 2014 competition yesterday.
According to judge and former contestant Fenton Lutunatabua, the talented young men was a positive indication of the festival's growth and the healthy competition to expect at the festival.
"Auditions this year are going really well, we're really excited about the quality of the people coming in for auditions," he said.
"With this year's theme being around climate change, most of them know exactly what climate change is and they basically want to do more things to advocate and raise more awareness around issues relating to climate change.
"A lot of them are not as nervous as the ones last year, so a lot more people are getting more comfortable about speaking in public."
Mr Lutunatabua also observed that contestants were more confident this year.
"This year, definitely a lot more confident men are coming out, which is good and that's an indication as well to the growth of the festival.
"More and more young people are viewing it as the platform that it is, to advocate on particular issues they feel strongly about and they're trying to take advantage of that."
Echoing Mr Lutunatabua's sentiments was Hibiscus Events Group chairman Hirdesh Prasad said he was pleased with the knowledge the young men brought with them given the importance of climate change in the Pacific.
The festival runs from August 15 to 23 this year.