Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Festival

2019 Festival Information

The 2019 Festival has been canceled. However, a Special Edition festival will be held to help the Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection celebrate its grand re-opening and completion of its $100+ million hotel renovation project that began in October, 2018. The date of this festival will be February 7-9, 2020.

The format of this year's festival will be similar to those of past festivals but will incorporate the resort's monthly Twilight at Kalahuipua‘a series, conducted by the resort's Kahu Hanai, Danny Akaka, Jr. as a part of Saturday evening's program. A main concert program will be held on Friday evening, with workshops and Open Stage performances presented on Saturday. Sunday brunch entertainment will be offered.

An evening Ho‘olaule‘a program is scheduled for Friday, with a public kanikapila jam session following. Steel guitar workshops will be offered Saturday morning, and Open Stage performances are also planned for Saturday. The Kalahuipua‘a moonlight program will incorporate the Hawaiian steel guitar as a part of the "talk story" program. Musical entertainment will be offered during the Sunday brunch from 9 AM to 11 AM.

The festival will also include a steel guitar exhibit and a hands-on demonstration where festival guests can experience the Hawaiian steel guitar under the guidance of steel guitar experts.

Education is a key component of the steel guitar festivals. School visitations by master steel guitarists and Next Generation steel guitar players will be scheduled with local area schools. These visitations will include an introduction to the Hawaiian steel guitar and its importance in Hawaiian music and culture. A musical demonstration will be given by the visitation team, followed by hands-on opportunities for classroom students. Local area schools will be contacted about scheduling a visitation time on Friday, and information about any workshop offered at the festival will be posted when it becomes available.

If you or your Hawaii area public or private school has not yet been contacted and would like a visitation and presentation on Friday, December 13, 2019, please see the Contact Page and fill out the form indicating your request.

Public "kanikapila" jam sessions will be held on Thursday and Friday nights. Jam sessions are open to anyone and may include steel guitar masters and other musicians. Anyone is invited to participate and play along with the featured players and festival guest musicians. Musicians are advised to bring their own instruments, amplifiers and music stands if required. Please check the event schedule for the location of the kanikapila.

Open Stage sessions will be presented on Saturday. These sessions will feature steel guitar players from the United States and worldwide in half-hour playing sessions. If you are a Hawaiian Steel Guitar player or a band with a Hawaiian Steel Guitar and would like to reserve an open stage session, please submit your request by filling out the form on the Contact Page. Deadline to sign up is November 1, 2019. Due to the nature of the festival, your performance should be on the Hawaiian steel guitar and include Hawaiian music. The Hawaiian steel guitar should be your main instrument but incidental use of other Hawaiian instruments is permissible.

Festival T-shirts and artists' CDs will be available for purchase at the festival information and sales tables inside the ballroom during most musical events.

Surveys will be administered at various times during the festival to gauge festival guest experiences. Some statistical information will be provided to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

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