This year's Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival on July 13 and 14, 2018, will be enjoyed by more than just the Waikiki festival guests. According to Monte McComber, Cultural Director for the Royal Hawaiian Center, Friday and Saturday evening programs will be live-streamed via Facebook Live. Arrangements are also being made to live-broadcast the festival via Internet radio station Hawaiian Music Live.
This marks the first year that the Waikiki festival will be broadcast live over the internet. The only other festival to share that distinction is the Maui Steel Guitar Festival which was broadcast live in previous years by Internet radio station steelradio.com. Live-streaming and live-broadcasting will allow steel guitar fans worldwide to enjoy the sounds of the Hawaiian steel guitar originating from Waikiki, just as the Hawai'i Calls broadcasts did many years ago.
The Ninth Annual Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival is incorporated into a week-long celebration of the Hawaiian steel guitar presented by the Royal Hawaiian Center. "Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikiki Steel Guitar Week" features nightly steel guitar entertainment Monday through Thursday at the Royal Grove stage, and culminates on Friday and Saturday with the Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival, also at the Royal Grove stage.
Alan Akaka and The Islanders perform at the 2017 Waikiki Steel Guitar Week. Photo by Don Touchi.
This year's Monday through Thursday entertainment will feature Next Generation steel guitarists and musicians ranging in age from 10-14, Scott Furushima, Greg Sardinha, and Alan Akaka and The Islanders. The emcee of the nightly one-hour concerts will be Harry B. Soria, Jr.
The Friday and Saturday evening ho'olaule'a programs will feature five different steel guitarists each night. Friday's lineup includes the Next Generation Steel Guitarists and Musicians, Scott Furushima, Grifford "Kamakav Tom, Ed Punua from Kaua'i, and the Abrigo Ohana. The program begins at 5:30 PM and runs through 9:00 PM.
Saturday's program will feature Alexis Tolentino, Steve Cheney, Alan Akaka and The Islanders, Geromino "Geri" Valdriz from Maui, and Greg Sardinha. Both Friday's and Saturday's programs will also be hosted by Harry B. Soria, Jr.
A festival guest tries out the steel guitar under the watchful eye of Daniel Tremblay.
A vintage and contemporary steel guitar exhibit will be presented in the center's Helumoa Hale meeting room. Also situated in the room will be a steel guitar live demonstration table, where festival guests can learn more about the steel guitar and participate in hand-on experiences under the guidance of a knowledgeable steel guitar clinician.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk W. Caldwell is expected to issue a proclamation declaring the week of July 8-14, 2018, as "Waikiki Steel Guitar Week."
The annual Waikiki Steel Guitar Week is presented by the Royal Hawaiian Center in association with HIMELE, the Hawaiian Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences. As with Waikiki steel guitar festivals in previous years, the event precedes the annual Ukulele Festival Hawai'i, providing expanded musical opportunities for guests of either festival.
February 16, 2019 - Ka Makana Ali'i Shopping Center, Kapolei
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 15-20, 2019
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 Kine
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.