The Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival has been expanded. This year’s week-long event, Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikiki Steel Guitar Week, will feature steel guitar entertainment for the entire week of July 10-15, 2017, leading up to the weekend hoʻolauleʻa on Friday and Saturday.
Honolulu City and County Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to issue a proclamation declaring the week of July 9-15, 2017, as Honolulu Steel Guitar Appreciation Week throughout the City and County of Honolulu in appreciation of the art of Hawaiian steel guitar playing and in recognition of the many talented artists who are continuing Hawaiʻi’s heritage through the perpetuation of Hawaiian steel guitar traditions.
Hour-long steel guitar entertainment will be presented at 6-7 PM Monday through Thursday on the Royal Grove stage. Ke Kula Mele Next Generation steel guitarists Joey Misailidis, Pono Fernandez, Mālie Lyman, and Alexis Tolentino, will be presented on Monday, accompanied by Alan Akaka and Addison Ching. Greg Sardinha and Poʻokela will perform on Tuesday, and The Casey Olsen Trio will grace the stage on Wednesday. Alan Akaka and The Islanders will perform Thursday night. The nightly programs will be hosted by Harry B. Soria of Territorial Airwaves.
Friday and Saturday evening hoʻolauleʻa pageants will begin at 5:30 PM each evening and feature five different steel guitarists and groups each night. Friday’s program will showcase Hawaiian steel guitarists Alexis Tolentino, Steve Cheney, Wayne Shishido, Geronimo Valdriz, and Bobby Ingano. Saturday’s program will feature steelers Alan Akaka, Paul Kim, Eddie Palama, Bobby Ingano, and Greg Sardinha and Poʻokela. Both evening festival programs will be hosted by Harry B. Soria and Kimo Kahoano.
A vintage steel guitar exhibit will be presented Friday and Saturday evenings in Helumoa Hale, a meeting room located near the Royal Grove stage. Steel guitarists will be on hand to talk about the instruments and answer any questions exhibit guests might have.
Waikiki Steel Guitar Week is presented by the Royal Hawaiian Center and produced by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences. The event is free to the public and precedes the annual ‘Ukulele Festival Hawaii at Kapiʻolani Park on Sunday, July 16.