Steel Trappings

Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week

Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week Returns with a Roar

July 19, 2022 • Addison ChingFestivals and Conventions

The recently-concluded 2022 Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week featured six days of Hawaiian steel guitar entertainment culminating with a ho‘olaule‘a featuring nine different steel guitar players and several guest players.

Visiting steel guitarists included Paul Agar from New South Wales, Australia, and Kiyoshi "Lion" Kobayashi from Tokyo, Japan.

The Monday through Thursday one-hour evening concerts featured a variety of steel guitarists including the Ke Kula Mele School of Hawaiian Music's NextGen steel guitarists, Paul Agar from Australia, Greg Sardinha and Po‘okela (Zachary Castro and Kata Maduli) and Alan Akaka and The Islanders (Helene Woodward and Kaipo Asing). Kimo Kahoano was the nightly emcee.

Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble
Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble: Haruko Ozeki, Lion Kobayashi, Masako Wakamatsu, and Sakae Machida. PC-Don Touchi

As a part of the weeklong event, the first annual Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival was held on Friday from 4 PM to 6:30 PM and featured four steel guitarists and steel guitar ensembles from Japan including Masami "Matt" Kobayashi, Noriko and Shuji Tomita, the Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble (Masako Wakamatsu, Sakae Machida, and Haruko Ozeki) and Kiyoshi "Lion" Kobayashi. The festival was hosted by Hawaii-Japanese radio KZOO personality Maggie Jackson, and the festival was livestreamed.

Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Participants
Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Participants
Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival Participants
Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival Participants

Saturday's Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival featured nine Hawaiian steel guitarists in two separate performance segments. The first segment from 11 AM to 2:30 PM featured Greg Sardinha and Po‘okela, Kapono Lopes, Geronimo "Geri" Valdriz from Maui, Steve Cheney, and Jeff Au Hoy. The second segment resumed at 4 PM and featured Paul Agar, Bobby Ingano, Kiyoshi "Lion" Kobayashi with the Lion Ladies Steel Guitar Ensemble, and Alan Akaka and The Islanders.

Emcee for both segments of Saturday's festival was Kimo Kahoano who treated festival guests to a hula. The entire program was livestreamed.

Emcee Maggie Jackson
Emcee Maggie Jackson
Emcee Kimo Kahoano
Emcee Kimo Kahoano

Alan Akaka invited steel guitarists Nic Neufeld from Kansas City, Missouri, Al Greene Jr. from Kailua-Kona, and Ethan Goore to perform during his segment. Ethan, originally from Hawai'i Island, is now an engineering major at Rice University in Texas and home during a break.

Photographers Don Touchi and Don Rostow photo-documented the entire event, Pictures will be available for viewing at the event's website gallery.

The weeklong event marked the return of a full Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week event that was paused during the Coronavirus pandemic. The last full weeklong event was held in 2019 but a limited one-day Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival was held last November as one of the first in-person steel guitar events to resume after the pandemic.

The full weeklong event will return in 2023 as the 5th annual Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week and will include the 2nd annual Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival and the 13th annual Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival.

This year's Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival was dedicated to the honor and memory of Tadashi Arakawa, one of the event's Japanese planners, who passed away earlier this year. During the event's planning, Tadashi was so looking forward to the first presentation of the festival but unfortunately was not able to see his planning come to fruition.

The annual event is sponsored by the Royal Hawaiian Center and HIMELE.

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HIMELE Events

2024 Festivals and Workshops
Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Ka Makana Ali‘i
February 17, 2024 – 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM HST
Ka Makana Ali‘i Shopping Center, Kapolei

Kona Steel Guitar Festival
April 4-6, 2024
Outrigger Kona Resort and Spa, Keauhou, Hawai‘i

Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival
May 11, 2024 – 12:00 Noon - 4:00 PM HST
Kukui Grove Center, Lihue, Hawai‘i

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival at Windward Mall
June 8, 2024 – 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM HST
Windward Mall, Kāne‘ohe (O‘ahu), Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Week (July 10-15, 2023)
July 8-13, 2024 – 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM HST
Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī (O‘ahu), Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
July 12, 2024 – 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM HST
Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī (O‘ahu), Hawai‘i

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
July 13, 2024 – 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM HST
Royal Grove Stage, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikīkī (O‘ahu), Hawai‘i

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival Keiki Kine at Kahala Mall
August 17, 2024 – 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM HST (tentative)
Kahala Mall, Honolulu, Hawai‘i

Maui Steel Guitar Festival
October 19, 2024 – 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM HST
The Shops at Wailea, Wailea, Hawai‘i

2024 Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Livestream Broadcasts

Facebook LiveYouTube
All broadcasts originate from the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase Facebook Page and YouTube Channel.


Kona Steel Guitar Festival
April 6, 2024 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 12:00 Noon - 3 PM and 5 PM - 8 PM HST

Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Japan-Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
July 12, 2024 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM HST


Royal Hawaiian Center Presents Waikīkī Steel Guitar Festival
July 13, 2024 Ho‘olaule‘a concert – 11:00 AM - 2:30 PM and 4:00 PM - 6:30 PM HST


Other Events
2024 AISGC Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival *
July 25-27, 2024 – Towne Square Community Center, Winchester, IN
* Registration Fee Required

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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.