Your Guide to the 2017 Hawaiʻi Zouk Festival
Get your zouk, salsa and bachata on at the beach while celebrating the unity between music and dancers.
Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Zouk Festival
The first-ever Hawaiʻi Zouk Festival features workshops, parties and performances—primarily featuring zouk, salsa and bachata. The festival also has opportunities for canoeing, surfing, stand-up paddle-boarding, sightseeing and learning about healing arts. Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about the five-day fete.
What It Is
Zouk is a style of dance music that originated in Guadeloupe and Martinique. It features Caribbean rhythms over a disco beat, using electric guitars and synthesizers. The Zouk Festival is meant to be a celebration of this dance style, as well as salsa and bachata. The entire event is jam-packed with a variety of activities.
Day 1: Thursday, Nov. 16
The Dukes Day Excursion, from 2 to 7 p.m., seems to be geared more toward visitors, but locals might want to join in to show off their watersports skills. Guests will have fun in the sun canoeing, surfing and SUP-ing their way through Waikīkī Beach. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., the party moves to Nextdoor in downtown Chinatown. (This excursion is not included with the main festival event ticket and must be purchased separately.)
Days 2 through 4: Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19
Hawaiʻi Zouk Festival takes over the ballrooms of the Sheraton Waikīkī with workshops, performances and parties from 10 a.m. to 1:50 a.m. the following day. Festivalgoers can choose from zouk, salsa and bachata workshops. A cash bar will also be open from 8 p.m. to 1:50 a.m.
A separate option, the “Arts Temple” of the Hawaiʻi Zouk Festival, celebrates the connection between the world of creative movement, expressive arts, and healing and spiritual discovery. Passes to this aspect of the festival include workshops covering everything from vedic mantras and inner fire kundalini to mystic gong yoga and kirtan chanting. Workshops begin at 9:30 a.m. and run through 4 p.m. on Friday, and 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
There will also be four-hour hula courses on Saturday and Sunday. A local kumu will teach attendees the history of hula before prepping them for a beachside performance on Sunday, which will be filmed and used in the festival’s 2018 promotional video. A portion of proceeds from the hula courses will benefit a local educational organization of the kumu’s choice.
Day 5: Monday, Nov. 20
The North Shore tour, which must be purchased separately, runs from noon to 10:30 p.m. and includes visits to the Pali lookout, Koʻolau mountain range, Waimea Bay, Pipeline beach and Haleʻiwa town.
How Much It Costs
Though the regular rate for a full pass is $249.99, the 30 percent kamaʻāina discount brings the price down to $160. This ticket includes three days of workshops, performances and parties. There are also other options, including a one-day pass ($80), one-night party pass ($45), performance pass ($10), reserved seating performance pass ($25), healing arts temple one-day pass ($60) and hula performance choreography course pass ($79). Get your tickets here.
Self-parking is available at the Sheraton Waikīkī. Fee is $10 with validation from Hawaiʻi Zouk Festival.
Where and When
The main parts of the festival will take place at the Sheraton Waikīkī, 2255 Kalākaua Ave. from Friday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 19.
What To Know Before You Go
There is a lot going on at this five-day event, so make sure you check and double-check which ticket(s) you are purchasing before hitting “buy.” Also, an Eventbrite fee is added to every ticket, and prices are subject to change at the door—so it’s best to get them online ahead of time.
No food or drinks are included with any of the ticket purchases, so plan accordingly to get your meals from nearby restaurants or pack a lunch to bring with you.
The workshops cover dancing, yoga, etc. so be prepared to get physical! Dress appropriately and bring water, a towel and a yoga mat if necessary.