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Steel guitar festival plans return to Kaua‘i with Ed Punua and Kilipaki Vaughn

WAIPOULI — As the COVID-19 pandemic conditions loosen up, the Hawai‘i Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences (HIMELE), in association with Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i School of Hawaiian Music, announced this year’s live steel-guitar festival at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Coconut Beach Resort is from Thursday to Sunday, March 31 to April 2.

“We are very excited to be back live, and look forward to having as many local residents as possible participate in this event,” said Daniel Tremblay of HIMELE.

Kaua‘i steel-guitar masters Ed Punua and Kilipaki Vaughn will be among the featured steel-guitar masters presented at the festival that precedes the annual Aloha Music Camp.

The 6th Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival, free and for the public, is an extension of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar experience that is offered at the camp, where some of the Hawaiian steel-guitar masters will lead the program.

Based on the current COVID-19 rules and mandates, all guests are required to wear face coverings while on the hotel property, either indoors or outdoors and while walking through the property. Face coverings are not required while eating or drinking.

As the festival draws nearer, people planning on attending or participating can check with kauaisteelguitarfestival.com for updates.

Other Hawaiian steel-guitar greats like Alan Akaka, Bobby Ingano, Dave “DK” Kolars, Kapono Lopes, Patti Maxine, Greg Sardinha and Geri Valdez are expected to join the Kaua‘i masters when the festival opens with the Kickoff Kanikapila in the resort’s courtyard.

NextGen Steel Guitarists like Chosa Lyuman, Tai Mis Ailipis, Pono Fernandez, Joey Mis Ailipis and Malie Lyman will be part of the evening activities that include workshops on Friday and the Saturday main Ho‘olaule‘a starting at noon. A vintage-steel-guitar exhibit will be viewable throughout the festival.

Public kanikapila jam sessions will follow each day’s main activities. These jam sessions are open to anyone, and may include steel-guitar masters and other musicians.

Education is a key component of the steel-guitar festival, where the main programs on April 2 will be livestreamed as a Hawaiian Steel Guitar Showcase event.

Funding for the Kaua‘i Steel Guitar Festival is provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority through the Kokulu Ola Program administered by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, and supported in part by the Hawai‘i State Foundation on Culture and the Arts through appropriations from the state Legislature, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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