HIMELE's steel guitar festivals now feature live steel guitar demonstrations for festival guests. These demonstrations help enhance the steel guitar experience through demonstrations conducted by experienced steel guitar players. Festival guests can find out more about the instrument, hear how the instrument sounds, and participate in a "hands-on" playing experience complete with steel guitar, amplifier, picks and bars. These are similar to demonstrations that are presented to public school students at some of the festivals where students are given an opportunity to learn about the instrument and experience hands-on playing opportunities under the guidance of a Next Generation steel guitarist.
Don Touchi, HIMELE director and Official event photographer, observed "…that it gives people a hands-on experience as to how the instrument plays and sounds." Don's documentation of the many people taking advantage of the demonstrations can been seen on the photo galleries of the festivals that included the demonstrations.
Demonstrations were first offered at the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Ka Makana Ali'i in March and proved to be very popular. Demonstrations were also presented at both locations of the Maui Steel Guitar Festival in April, and again at the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall in June.
"The demo table at our festivals was designed so adults and children could learn more about the steel guitar," said HIMELE chairman of the board Alan Akaka. "One after another sat down asking questions and [were] given the opportunity to give the instrument a try. I loved watching the excitement and fascination on their faces as they slid the bar up and down the neck emulating what the masters were doing on stage and even trying to pick a melody."
Demonstrations will again be available at Waikiki Steel Guitar Week during the Friday and Saturday Ho'olaule'a programs on July 13 and 14, 2018. The hands-on experience will be located in Helumoa Hale, the Royal Hawaiian Center's meeting room where the steel guitar exhibit will be presented.
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 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 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.