The Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival is presented by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE) and the Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music. The festival brings together legendary steel guitarists for a celebration of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. This is an annual event immediately preceding Keola Beamer's Aloha Music Camp. Scheduling the festival to precede the Aloha Music Camp gives camp attendees an extra opportunity to rediscover the Hawaiian steel guitar and enjoy the nahenahe sounds of master steel guitarists from Hawai‘i, while providing others a chance to enjoy the sounds of the Hawaiian steel guitar and learn more about the Aloha Music Camp.
The Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival is one of a series of Hawaiian Steel Guitar festivals produced and presented by the Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE) and the Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music. The Kaua‘i festival is made possible in collaboration with the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort. The Maui Steel Guitar Festival is held in the spring on Maui, and the Hawai‘i Island Steel Guitar Festival is presented in December on Hawai‘i Island. The Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week and Festival is held in mid-July at the Royal Grove performance venue (Helumoa) and presented by the Royal Hawaiian Center. HIMELE also produces the community-focused Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festivals at various O‘ahu shopping centers throughout the year.
All festivals are free and open to the public and are presented to increase awareness and foster interest in the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, an instrument important to Hawaiian music and culture.
These festivals are made possible through grants and contributions from corporate sponsors and private individuals, supplemented by in-kind contributions and volunteer resources. Please visit our Support Us page to see how you can help support the festival.
Open Stage sessions will be presented on Friday. These sessions will feature steel guitar players in half-hour playing sessions. If you are a Hawaiian Steel Guitar player or a band with a Hawaiian Steel Guitar and would like to reserve an open stage session, please submit your request by filling out the form on the Contact Page. Due to the nature of the festival, your performance should be on the Hawaiian steel guitar but incidental use of other Hawaiian instruments is permissible.
A vintage steel guitar exhibit will be presented throughout the festival.
Evening activities include Friday workshops and Saturday's main Ho‘olaule‘a program beginning at noon. The lineup of featured performers will be posted here and on the festival's Facebook page as soon as it is finalized.
Public kanikapila jam sessions will follow each day's main activities. Jam sessions are open to anyone and may include steel guitar masters and other musicians. Anyone is invited to participate and play along with the featured players and festival guest musicians. Musicians are advised to bring their own instruments, amplifiers and music stands if required.
Education is a key component of the steel guitar festivals. School visitations by master steel guitarists and youth steel guitar players will be scheduled with local area schools. These visitations will include an introduction to the Hawaiian steel guitar and its importance in Hawaiian music and culture. A musical demonstration will be given by the visitation team. Local area schools will be contacted about scheduling a visitation time on Thursday and/or Friday.
Festival T-shirts, artists' CDs and the festival poster will be available for purchase at the festival information booth.
Festival activities will be presented at indoors to avoid potential problems that might arise due to inclement weather.