Your Guide to the 2017 Hawaiian Slack Key Festival

Jam out on the West side on Sunday, Oct. 22 to more than a dozen local musicians.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival Manunalua
Photos: courtesy of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival


Kī hōʻalu, literally translates to “loosen the key,” and is the Hawaiian term for the acoustic guitar style best known as slack key. This Sunday, the ʻEwa by Gentry Community Association presents the sixth annual Hawaiian Slack Key Festival—an afternoon meant to preserve and perpetuate an important part of Hawaiian culture.


What better reason to get friends or the ʻohana together, head to ʻEwa Beach, and jam on!


What it Is

The Hawaiian Slack Key Festivals originally began as a tribute to the late Gabby “Pops” Pahinui, who is known as one of the most influential slack key guitar players in the world. Each year, there are multiple festivals on Oʻahu, as well as on the Neighbor Islands. There was a festival at Ka Makana Aliʻi in Kapolei in May, the Maui festival was in June, which was followed by a festival at Turtle Bay Resort on Oʻahu in July and the Waikīkī festival in August. In addition to the “Westside Style” event happening this weekend, there will be two more festivals in 2017. The next will be at Kauaʻi Marriott Resort in Līhuʻe on Nov. 19, with the final festival of the year Windward Mall in Kāneʻohe on Dec. 10.


The ʻEwa Beach event offers the community an opportunity to honor Pahinui and celebrate the art of slack key with free performances by 17 local musicians, including some Nā Hōkū Hanohano award winners and nominees.


How Much it Costs

The festival is free and open to the public. There will also be food and crafts available for purchase from festival booths.



These local musicians are scheduled to delight the crowd with their slack key skills:

  • Brother Noland

  • Hoʻokena

  • Maunalua

  • Kamuela Kahoano

  • Stephen Inglis

  • George Kuo

  • Donald Kaulia

  • Dwight Kanae

  • Paul Togioka

  • Blayne Asing

  • Patrick Landeza

  • KaMoku

  • Aja Gample

  • Danny Carvalho

  • Ian O’Sullivan

  • Jonah Domingo

  • Noe Hussey

  Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival Hookenaa


What to Know Before You Go

Attendees can support the event by visiting the festival merchandise booth and buying artists’ CDs, festival T-shirts, hats and other assorted goodies. Fans are also welcome to take photos with their favorite artists and get their autographs.


There will be multiple door prizes awarded throughout the day, but the big giveaway—for a brand-new Taylor guitar—will happen around 5 p.m.


The event venue, Hoalauna Community Park, is a big space complete with a workout station, jungle gym for the little ones, and a gated dog park—making it a great place to spend a day with the whole family. Festival goers will also have access to the park’s restroom facilities.


Where and When

The one-day festival will be held Sunday, Oct. 22 from noon to 5:30 p.m. at Hoalauna Community Park on Keaunui Drive in ʻEwa Beach.




There is ample free parking in the lot at Hoalauna Community Park.