Steel Trappings

Maui Steel Guitar Festival

Maui Festival To Be Presented by HIMELE

June 13, 2019 • Addison ChingFestivals and Conventions

The Maui Steel Guitar Festival will undergo a minor "facelift" although festival guests will barely notice a change. HIMELE will now assume complete responsibility of production and presentation of the festival.

Maui nonprofit Arts Education for Children Group (AECG) created the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival eleven years ago. Originally labeled the "Henry Kaleialoha Allen Steel Guitar Festival" featuring steel guitarist Henry Kaleialoha Allen, the event continued under Henry Kaleialoha Allen's production and namesake branding until 2012. At that time, Alan Akaka was asked to take over the production responsibilities for the 2013 festival, and the result was the development of the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival in 2013. HIMELE produced the festival for AECG, who continued to be the festival's presenter.

Bryant Neal, Executive Director of AECG, has this to say about the Maui festival: "This event has been a labor of love for me with the goal of keeping it afloat until it had legs of its own. HIMELE has developed and grown to the point where I feel it will be a good steward for the program with the long term goal of perpetuating the Hawaiian Steel Guitar."

HIMELE's board of directors met and voted to accept Neal's proposal to have HIMELE take over the festival presentation responsibilities from AECG. While HIMELE has produced the festival for AECG since 2013, Maui festivals will now be both produced and presented by HIMELE beginning in 2020.

The transition should be seamless to festival guests. The festival format will remain unchanged, incorporating concert programs with steel guitarists from Maui, O‘ahu, the U.S. and abroad depending on their availability. The festival will also include school visitations, Open Stage, workshops, exhibit, and public kanikapila.

Alan Akaka and Addison Ching have worked together to produce the Maui Steel Guitar Festival since 2013. In 2015, Akaka and Ching created the nonprofit corporation HIMELE, the Hawaiian Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences, as a vehicle to preserve and promote Hawaiian culture and the Hawaiian steel guitar. HIMELE assumed the production of the Maui and Waikīkī festivals and started growing the Hawaiian steel guitar festival franchise, expanding first to Kaua‘i and the Windward Mall, and then continuing with Ka Makana Ali‘i in Kapolei and to the Kona area on Hawai‘i Island. In 2016 the Waikiki Steel Guitar festival was relocated to the Royal Hawaiian Center and expanded in 2017 to an entire week celebrating the steel guitar. A steel guitar festival featuring keiki steel guitarists will debut this August at the Kahala Mall.

Updated festival information will be posted on the festival's website and Facebook page when it becomes available.

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About HIMELE
HIMELE is a Hawai‘i non-profit corporation that supports music enrichment and education for people of all ages. Our purpose is to educate, promote, and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments.