Ki ho‘alu (loosen the key) is one of the world’s great guitar traditions. The music is sweet and soulful; it is said that slack key music is drawn from the heart and soul, filtering out through the fingers of each player.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the free festival will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center with performances from 1 to 7 p.m.
Festival-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or roll out a blanket in the Yokouchi Pavilion/A&B Amphitheater area and enjoy an all-star lineup of Hawaii’s best slack key guitar musicians.
Popular musicians and recording artists performing on stage this year include George Kahumoku Jr. and Friends, Stephen Inglis, Paul Togioka, Bobby Moderow, Ola Hou with Kevin and Ikaika Brown, Michael Ka‘awa, Brother Noland, John Cruz, LT Smooth, John Keawe, Keale, Dennis Kamakahi, Keoki Kahumoku and Makana.
This MACC signature festival also features crafters from Hawaii and ‘ono food by Maui restaurants and caterers, including Whole Foods Market, Alexander’s Famous Fish and Nacho Mama’s to name a few.
The festival is sponsored by The Maui News, with additional support provided by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, county Office of Economic Development, Ka Hoku Productions, Ki Ho‘alu Foundation, Rhythm & Roots Records, Taylor Guitars, Pacific Radio Group/KPOA, Marriott Wailea Beach Resort & Spa and SpeediShuttle.
For more information, call 242-SHOW or visit www.mauiarts.org or www.slackkeyfestival.com.
Brother Noland (left) and Makana are among the many artists performing at the 20th Ki Ho‘alu Guitar Festival. Photos by Aubrey Hord.