The Maui Steel Guitar Festival has been developed to promote appreciation and interest in the Hawaiian Steel Guitar as a uniquely Hawaiian music genre. This free, 3-day festival includes a series of performances, presentations, instructional workshops, jam sessions and public and private school visitations that are focused on the Hawaiian Steel Guitar and its importance in the Hawaiian music genre. The Hawaiian Steel Guitar is the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaii.
The festival promotes participation by local residents, particularly young people, through community outreach programs utilizing teams of performers and music educators that will visit several Maui schools. These teams will discuss with students the history of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar, demonstrate playing techniques and the importance of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar in the Hawaiian music genre and perform Hawaiian music to encourage interest and participation at the festival's hotel workshops.
The Maui Steel Guitar Festival is presented each year by non-profit Arts Education for Children Group and the Ka'anapali Beach Hotel and produced by HIMELE - The Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences. The festival is presented for public awareness, education and entertainment. Funding for the festival, free and open to the public, comes from grants, donations and other underwriting and in-kind contributions. This program is supported in part by 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. Please see the "Support Us" section of this website for others who help make this festival possible.
This year's festival will again be preceded by the 2018 Maui Steel Guitar Camp. This 2-day, tuition-based workshop is an intensive experience with the Hawaiian steel guitar and provides an opportunity to explore the instrument in-depth and learn how to play it. No prior experience is required. If you are interested, please see the Camp Website for more information and to register.
This year's festival will be held in two locations. The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel is the festival site for Friday and Saturday, April 13-14, 2018, and Kahului's Queen Ka'ahamanu Center will be the festival site on Sunday, April 15, 2018, weather permitting. The Queen Ka'ahamanu Center program will be expanded to the entire day and include the vintage steel guitar exhibit. All programs will feature steel guitarists from Hawai'i, the mainland US, and Japan.
School visitations are a very important part of the Festival not commonly seen by the general public. Presentations are made by festival teams comprising some master players, students, and other musicians. These teams, upon invitation, travel to various Maui schools at all levels from elementary to high school and present an educational and musical program that introduces attendees to the Hawaiian Steel Guitar. At the end of the presentation, attendees are invited to ask questions and try out the steel guitar if they desire.
If you or your Maui public or private school would like a visitation and presentation on April 14, 2018, please see the Contact Page and fill out the form indicating your request.
The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel festival will include a Vintage steel guitar exhibit courtesy of Geri Valdriz, Open Stage sessions, Friday and Saturday ho'olaule'a pageants, Friday and Saturday public kanikapila jam sessions, and Saturday workshops.
Open Stage sessions will be presented on Friday from approximately 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. These sessions will feature steel guitar players from the United States and abroad 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 instruments is permissible. Your performance may include vocals and hula.
The Friday and Saturday ho'olaule'a pageants will feature six different steel guitar presentations each night and run from approximately 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
Public "kanikapila" jam sessions will be held Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 9:30 PM and hosted by the master steel guitar players. Everyone 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.
Saturday Workshops will be given on the Hawaiian steel guitar and topics related to the instrument. Information about the workshops will be posted when it becomes available.
Festival T-shirts and artists' CDs will be available for purchase at the festival store.
The Queen Ka'ahamanu Center festival will include a Vintage steel guitar exhibit and a ho'olaule'a pageant featuring nine different steel guitar presentations beginning at 11:30 AM. Festival T-shirts and artists' CDs will be available for purchase at the festival store.
Click here to read about the history of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar.