The 2017 Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival will be expanded this year to a two-day program, and the entire event will be publicized as “The Royal Hawaiian Center presents The Waikiki Steel Guitar Week,“ according to Monte McComber, Cultural Director at the Royal Hawaiian Center. This year’s festival will be held on July 14-15, 2017, with steel-guitar performances at the center occurring every night leading up to the festival. The main festival performances will be held between 5:30 and 9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday.
This year’s program will again include ten steel guitar masters, but the program will be spread over two nights to broaden the festival’s reach to Waikiki visitors and local residents. This year’s festival may also include afternoon workshops at the Royal Grove that will be offered to local school students free of charge. These workshops are designed to acquaint students with the instrument and stimulate interest for further training and development of the next generation of steel guitar players.
The very-popular vintage steel guitar exhibit will again be staged on both festival days in Helumoa Hale, an air-conditioned exhibit hall. Festival guests are invited to see some of these vintage steel guitars up close and learn more about the instruments from the exhibit docents.
The festival planners are also considering incorporating a Saturday music lecture/workshop into the festival events. Several music educators well-versed in the Hawaiian steel guitar and Hawaiian music are being considered.