The steel guitar gala formerly popularized as the Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival is now a week-long event known as Waikiki Steel Guitar Week. This event is presented each year by the Royal Hawaiian Center in collaboration with HIMELE (Hawaii Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences). The week-long celebration of the Hawaiian steel guitar brings together legendary steel guitarists and keiki steel guitar students in nightly presentations at the Royal Grove Stage and culminates in a two-day festival ho'olaule'a pageant. This annual event is presented to heighten awareness of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar and its importance in Hawaiian music and culture.
Alan Akaka, renowned Hawaiian steel guitarist, music teacher and President and Chairman of HIMELE, says, "It's an honor and joy for all of us in the steel guitar community to participate in the Festival and we hope that both visitors and kama'aina will join us."
Now located at the Royal Grove entertainment venue in the heart of the Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki Steel Guitar Week honors what was once the playground of Hawaiian royalty by offering a program of Hawaiian music and dance that is easily accessed by Waikiki pedestrian traffic and center visitors.
All Waikiki Steel Guitar Week events are free and open to the public. These include nightly hour-long programs from Monday through Thursday, and 3½ hour programs on Friday and Saturday evenings featuring multiple steel guitar masters. Vintage steel guitars are exhibited in Helumoa Hale, with steel guitar experts on hand to answer questions. Parking is available at the Royal Hawaiian Center parking garage. Standard parking rates apply. Validated parking is available with $10 purchase from any center merchant.
Waikiki Steel Guitar Week is made possible through a partnership with the Royal Hawaiian Center and supplemented by volunteer resources. 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 visit HIMELE's website to see how you can help support this and other HIMELE steel guitar festivals.
The 2018 Waikiki Steel Guitar Week will once again feature nightly one-hour performances on Monday through Thursday beginning at 6 P.M. Each night will feature performances by a different steel guitar master or steel guitar ensemble. Keiki steel guitarists will also be featured.
The Friday and Saturday evening ho'olaule'a programs will feature five different steel guitarists each night in programs of traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music and dance.
The 2018 program is still being developed. Program artists will be posted when the event program is finalized.