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, multi-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 workshops.
The Maui Steel Guitar Festival has been presented each year through 2019 by non-profit Arts Education for Children Group and produced by HIMELE™ - The Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences. Festivals for 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in 2022, the Festival will be produced and presented exclusively by HIMELE.
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. Through 2019, funding has been provided by Hawai‘i Tourism through the Community Enrichment Program.
Please see the "Support Us" section of this website for others who help make this festival possible.
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, NextGen steel guitarists, 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.
Open Stage sessions are an integral part of the festival and provide opportunities for steel guitarists to perform in front of a live audience, develop their stage persona and performing experience, and share their talents with festival guests. Open stage sessions are planned for the afternoon of Friday, October 16, 2020. 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. Your performance should include a Hawaiian steel guitar but incidental use of other instruments is permissible. Your performance may include vocals and hula.
Click here to read about the history of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar.