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  APRIL 12-14, 2019

Click here to go download the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival schedule

Gary Aiko, Alan Akaka and Pomaika'i Lyma

The 11th Annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is being held Friday and Saturday April 12-13, 2019 at the Outlets of Maui in Lahaina and on Sunday April 14 at Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului. Created to preserve and perpetuate the Hawaiian steel guitar, the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii, this festival features some of the world’s best players participating in performances, workshops, and jam sessions along with presentations, exhibits and cultural activities. Admission is free.


Headliners showcased during the weekend’s events are Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, Greg Sardinha, Geronimo “Geri” Valdriz, Kapono Lopes, and Konapiliahi Lau along with Adam Asing and Kaipo Asing. Maui actress, comedienne, storyteller and radio personality Kathy Collins is the emcee for the weekend’s performances.  Friday and Saturday evening hoolaulea take place from 5-8:30pm at the Outlets of Maui and Grammy-award winning musician George Kahumoku, Jr. joins Bobby Ingano as special guest on Friday night. Kanakapila at Pi Artisan Pizzeria follow the evening concerts and all are invited to bring their instruments and join in these jam sessions.


Daytime entertainment takes place on the main stage from 2-3pm on Friday featuring a performance by Kuikawa, singers and musicians who met as students at the University of  Hawaii Maui College Institute of Hawaiian Music. On Saturday, Joel Katz takes the stage at 1:30pm followed by Ke Kula Mele Hawaii NextGen.  Hawaiian crafts, cultural activities and demonstrations are presented on both days throughout the Outlets of Maui starting at noon.


“The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar,” says Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, one of the nonprofits organizing the event. “It’s not just for entertainment but also for community outreach and education.”


Steel guitar workshops are scheduled for Saturday, April 13, at the Story of Hawaii Museum. Conducted by master players Alan Akaka and Bobby Ingano, topics include “What Tuning to Use” and “Chiming”.  In addition to public performances, master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform and to teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar.


On Sunday, April 14, the festival moves to Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului where Kathy Collins emcees performances that take place from 11am-4pm featuring all the festival’s performers including NextGen, a group of youth steel players (some as young as 11 years old).


Throughout the weekend, a collection of vintage steel guitars curated by Geri Valdriz continues to be on display at the Story of Hawaii Museum at the Outlets of Maui.


The festival is presented free to the public by Maui’s Arts Education for Children Group, the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences in association with the Ke Kula Mele Hawaii School of Hawaiian Music,  the Outlets of Maui, and Pi Artisan Pizzeria along with grants and support from the County of Maui, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Outlets of Maui, Story of Hawaii Museum, WorldWide Music Ventures, and Queen Kaahumanu Center. Funding also comes from a silent auction during the festival and from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals.


Arts Education for Children Group (AECG), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 1996,  provides opportunities for artistic and cultural enrichment. Its programs include free community concerts, music workshops, and arts enrichment camps. AECG also sponsors Jazz Maui’s annual East Meets West Festival of music and dance and the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival.


HIMELE, Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation that supports music education and enrichment. By organizing and sponsoring community-based steel guitar festivals on Maui, Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii islands, as well as conducting workshops, exhibits and other music-related opportunities for the public,  HIMELE educates, promotes and perpetuates Hawaiian music and culture.


A familiar phrase not only in the Hawaiian Islands but around the globe comes from the radio program that ran from 1935 through 1975.

Broadcast each week from Waikiki, the show featured live Hawaiian music and is credited with making many Hawaiian performers household names.

At first it reached the West coast through short wave radio and, at its height, was heard on more than 750 radio stations around the world. The popular show was discontinued due to lack of government subsidies.

The late Donald McDiarmid, Jr .(1922-2010), president emeritus of Hula Records, rescued tapes of the show from the wet basement of an Oahu hotel in the early 1980s and preserved them for all posterity.

Credited with promoting the renaissance of Hawaiian music and dance

in the 1970s, he was instrumental in getting a Hawaiian music

category at the Grammy Awards (first awarded in 2005).

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