2015 Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival

Ash Tsuji
August 13, 2015

After college, I joined Up With People, a group of young adults who travel the world and perform community service and a musical show. It was an amazing experience, but I found myself missing familiar things from home like plate lunch and local music. Now that I’m back, I can enjoy some of the local music I missed so dearly at events such as the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the slack key sound. Its echoing melody makes me think of the people and places of Hawaii, no matter where I am in the world. The distinctive sound is said to have originated when Mexican cowboys brought guitars to Hawaii in the 19th century. Hawaiians experimented with the instrument and eventually created their own style that would evolve into the modern slack key. There are other theories of slack key’s origins, but no matter how it happened, I’m glad we can celebrate it as part of our local culture today. 

This year’s Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival will be held Sunday, August 16, 2015 from noon - 6 p.m. Located at Kapiolani Park, this free event features more than ten slack key guitar artists. 

In addition to listening to music, you can visit local crafters, food vendors and a guitar and ukulele exhibit. You can even enter to win prizes including a new Taylor Guitar!

For more information visit slackkeyfestival.com.

Mahalo to Colleen Ricci and Milton Lau for sharing photos from last year’s festival. 

 Kamuela Kimokeo of the group Hi'ikua. 

Bobby Moderow  of the group Maunalua . 

 Kawika Kahiapo. 

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