Your Ultimate Guide to Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i 2017
This year’s Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i event takes place between Feb. 11 and 18. Here’s your guide to all that’s happening in the Kaka‘ako neighborhood.
Video: Courtesy of POW! WOW! Hawai‘i
When artists from around the world collaborate with those in the Islands to liven up urban walls, industrial buildings and commercial warehouses, the result is a nonstop week of mural paintings, parties and more. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about the annual event taking over Kaka‘ako.
SEE ALSO: 2016 Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i Mural Painting
What’s Going On
Move over, Pokémon Go trainers! Kaka‘ako is getting a fresh, new paint job. From Feb. 11 until Feb. 18, more than 70 artists will create one-of-a-kind murals and installations all over the community.
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF POW! WOW! HAWAI‘I
The weeklong event kicks off with a block party alongside Honolulu Night Market, followed by an art exhibition at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, print shows, talks, documentary screenings, soccer tournaments, break dancing battles and a concert featuring DJ and Grammy-nominated music producer Steve Aoki.
Since 2011, Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i has gathered more than 100 international and local artists and musicians during Valentine’s week to create murals and other forms of art throughout Kaka‘ako. The name “Pow! Wow!” is inspired by the Native American term used to describe a gathering that celebrates culture, music and art. The festival has expanded to cities and countries including Long Beach, Washington, D.C., Taiwan, Israel, Singapore, Jamaica, Guam, New Zealand and Germany, among others.
Where and When
Cooke Street in Kaka‘ako is the place to be for most events throughout the week of Pow! Wow! A few other events will be held throughout Honolulu, but Kaka‘ako is the main attraction. The festival kicks off on Saturday, Feb. 11 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 18 with events happening each day. For a full schedule, click here.
Where to Park
Street parking is tight in Kaka‘ako but, if you get lucky, take it! Be aware of any construction zones and pay the parking meter.
Salt at Our Kaka‘ako has a multilevel parking structure that is free for one hour without validation. If you’re staying longer, visit one of the shops or restaurants in the complex to get validated. The second hour with validation is $1 and the third hour is $2. After three hours, or without validation, parking is $6 per hour at Salt.
All the murals are within walking distance from Salt, making it a good starting point. Find your way around with Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i’s mural map.
How Much it Costs
Every event is free, except for the concert and the break-dancing competition. Concert tickets start at $65 plus service fees and are almost sold out.
Opening Block Party
The opening block party presented in collaboration with Honolulu Night Market will feature art, shopping, food trucks, a fashion show by Rance China and music by DJ Cipha Sounds on Cooke Street from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 11. The IONA Contemporary Dance Theatre will also perform a creative “paint by number” piece where dancers become the paintbrushes as they dance over the white floor of a canvas. It’s a unique and interactive experience as audience members get the chance to paint the dancers.
The Dim Mak 20th Anniversary Tour with Steve Aoki
The concert is especially exciting for this year’s Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i. It’s an element that has been growing with each festival and this year will be a sight to behold, says Jasper Wong, co-director of Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i. Steve Aoki will headline the waterfront concert at Makers and Tasters on Saturday, Feb. 18 from 5 to 11 p.m.
Pow! Wow! Afterparty
The weeklong festival concludes with an afterparty at Addiction in The Modern Honolulu after the concert until 2 a.m.
Even with all the special events, the biggest aspect of Pow! Wow! remains watching the artists paint corners of Kaka‘ako from the late morning hours until sunset, Wong says. “That alone is mind-blowing!”
He also suggests checking out the site-specific installation artists. Last year, Slinkachu created miniature scenes on the streets of Kaka‘ako while Hottea created installations out of colorful yarn.
“This year, we have Dan Witz, who installs painted doors and windows on walls. It creates these portals to a fantastical alternate dimension,” Wong says. “We also have Glazed Paradise coming who will put up tape sculptures all over the city.”
Everything is kid-friendly, except for the Steve Aoki concert, which is 18 and older.
Restrooms are located at Salt at Our Kaka‘ako. Visit a coffee shop or restaurant to get the code for the door.
Wear shoes comfortable enough to walk a few blocks, but also cute enough to take photos in front of the new murals as you explore.
Swing by 327 Lana Lane, the Pow! Wow! Hawai‘i headquarters. There’s also a pop-up shop where you can get limited edition, exclusive Pow! Wow! gear. “Everyone hangs out there, so you’re bound to meet one of your favorite artists,” Wong says.