Hawaiian steel guitar music flowed throughout the Courtyard Kaua'i at the 2018 Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival. Festival guests were greeted with two days of steel guitar music and workshops without regard to the severe weather that plagued Kaua'i during the festival weekend. This year, festival planners scheduled all festival activities to be held indoors to provide festival guests with a comfortable, air-conditioned environment to enjoy the entertainment
A pre-festival kickoff jam session called "Kika Pila" was hosted by Keoki's Paradise in Poipu Beach. Restaurant guests were treated to performances by festival entertainers including Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, Dave "DK" Kolars, Alexis Tolentino, Next Generation steel guitarists M?lie Lyman and Joey Misailidis with her sister Tai on the U-bass, and backup musicians Larry Holu on U-bass and Addison Ching on guitar. Various festival guests also joined in and performed, including Gale Warshawsky, U'i Bandmann, Mark Gaponoff on violin, Ed Punua, Vanessa Punua, and Pomaika'i Lyman.
Friday afternoon Open Sessions in the hotel's Chart Room showcased performances by Kaua'i entertainer and steel guitarist Jess Montgomery with Dennis Chun on guitar, Nui Loa from Japan, Mark Alan Mendes with Jeff Cook and Tom Lunnenberg (California), Jack Aldrich (Washington), and Aaron Benolkin (Alaska). Ke Kula Mele School of Hawaiian Music musicians followed with a variety of steel guitar and vocal selections, many featuring Next Generation steel guitarists and musicians. Evening workshops included an introductory steel guitar presentation by Alan Akaka, and a session on chiming with Bobby Ingano.
The Saturday ho'olaule'a program played to a standing-room only audience in the hotel's Paddle Room. The program featured ten different performance segments by various steel guitarists from Kaua'i, Maui, and O'ahu. Next Generation steel guitarist Joey Misailidis performed with the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School 'Ukulele Band in one segment, and Malie Lyman performed with the Kapa'a Middle School 'Ukulele Band in another. Also perfoming their own programs were Kaua'i steel guitarists Kilipaki Vaughan and Ed Punua, Alexis Tolentino, Dave "DK" Kolars from DeKalb, Illinois, Maui's Geronimo "Geri" Valdriz, and Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, and Greg Sardinha from O'ahu. A finale jam session featuring the majority of the evening?s steel guitarists followed.
Friday and Saturday evening kanikapila in the hotel's Makai Lounge were full of eager participants singing and playing Hawaiian songs on a variety of instruments.
Lenny Rapozo, Kaua'i Director of Parks and Recreation, and Kaleo Carvalho, Executive Protocol Officer from the office of Kaua'i County Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr., presented a Mayoral proclamation to the festival, designating February 2-3, 2018, as Kaua'i Steel Guitar Appreciation Days. Kaleo also sang "Ka Makani Ka?ili Aloha."
The date for the 2019 Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival will be announced later. A hotel renovation project may require the 2019 Aloha Music Camp and festival dates to be moved in order to avoid conflicting with the renovation.
The Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival is the first of a series of Hawaiian steel guitar festivals that will be presented statewide during 2018 by HIMELE. The Kaua'i festival is supported in part by the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawaii and by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by the Courtyard Kaua'i and Hawaiian Airlines.KSGF
Kaua'i Steel Guitar Festival
March 1-2, 2019 - Sheraton Hotel, Kapa'a, Kaua'i (formerly Courtyard Kaua'i at Coconut Beach)
Maui Steel Guitar Camp
TBD - Maui site
Maui Steel Guitar Festival
TBD - Maui site
TBD - Queen Ka'ahumanu Center, Kahului, Maui
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
June 8, 2019 (tentative) - Windward Mall, Kaneohe
Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikiki Steel Guitar Week
July 8-13, 2019 (tentative)
Monday-Thursday - Nightly Evening Performances
Friday-Saturday - Festival Ho'olaule'a Performances
Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Kahala Mall - Keiki Style
August 17, 2019 - Kahala Mall, Honolulu
Hawai'i Island Steel Guitar Festival
December 6-8, 2019 - Mauna Lani, Auberge Resorts Collection, Kohala Coast, Hawai'i (formerly Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows)
HIMELE is a Hawai'i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.