Maui Arts & Entertainment

9th Annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival

March 5, 2017, 8:01 AM HST
* Updated March 7, 11:30 AM
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The Ninth Annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival will be held April 28-30, 2017 at two venues: the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel and the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center. This free event features master Hawaiian steel guitar players from around the world performing and teaching the only instrument thought to be indigenous to Hawaiʻi.

Headliners include Alan Akaka, Jeff Au Hoy, Bobby Ingano, Japan’s Kiyoshi “Lion” Kobayashi, Tadashi Arakawa, Yoshiyuki Endo and Tetsuya Ishiyama, Patti Maxine from California, Greg Sardinha, Duke Ching and Maui steel guitarists, Joel Katz and Geri Valdriz.

“The purpose of the festival is to promote awareness and appreciation of the Hawaiian steel guitar and to preserve and perpetuate it,” says Bryant Neal, executive director of Arts Education for Children Group, one of the nonprofit organizations presenting the event.

Kanikapila (jam sessions) follow evening performances, and the public is welcome to participate (bring your own instruments). Open stage performances take place during both days with music performed by Hawaiian steel guitar bands from Hawaiʻi, the US mainland and Japan. Saturday workshop topics will include Beginning Hawaiian Steel Guitar, Steel Guitar Tips, Steel Guitar Styles, Hawaiian Style Singing and Hula.

On Sunday, Hawaiian steel guitarists will entertain from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel’s award-winning Champagne Brunch, the only event during the festival that has a fee. New for 2017 is a series of performances featuring select steel guitarists from Hawaiʻi and Japan at the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center in Kahului from noon to 5 p.m.


Preceding the festival, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 26-27,  two of Hawaiʻi’s great steel guitar masters, Alan Akaka and Greg Sardinha, are conducting the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Camp. Tuition for the two-day camp – an intensive learning experience with the Hawaiian Steel Guitar – is $200. For more information and to register, visit


The festival also includes a community outreach in which participating master players visit Maui public and private schools to perform, and to teach students about the Hawaiian steel guitar. Additionally, an exhibit curated by steel guitarist Geri Valdriz will feature vintage lap steel guitars circa mid-1930’s that will be on display at KBH and the Queen Kaʻahumanu Center.

Presented by Arts Education for Children Group and produced by the Hawaiʻi Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences, the festival is supported by Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, the County of Maui, and Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. Funding also comes from donations and in-kind contributions from businesses, civic organizations and individuals.

For more information and a complete schedule for the Ninth Annual Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival on April 28-30 at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel, visit


Co-emcees Kimo Kahoano and Kathy Collins will be on hand at both Friday and Saturday evening hoʻolauleʻa programs. Each program will feature a different line-up of players in concert. Kimo and Leilani Kahoano will broadcast their Aloha Friday Morning show live from the festival on Hawaiʻi radio AM940.

Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival graphic.

Maui steel guitarist Joel Katz with Danny Kapoi, Jr., Kalena Foster, and Kaniloa Kamaunu. Photo by Don Touchi.

Members of the Yokohama Hawaiian Music Band. From left: Hiroko Tanaka (bass), Tetsuro Kanai, Yoshiko Seo (steel guitar), Yuko Sogabe, Osamu Makimoto, Setsuko Kawano (guitar), and Tadashi Arakawa (group leader). Photo by Addison Ching.

Emcees Kathy Collins and Kimo Kahoano. Photo by Addison Ching.

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