Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association... encouraging the study, teaching and performance of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar

30th Annual

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
took place

Thurs-Sat, Sept 22-24, 2016

Please attend our upcoming festival, September 21-23, 2017
in Fort Collins with special guest Eddie Palama!

In Fort Collins, Colorado, home of Colorado State University and gateway to the northern Rocky Mountains. For the past 29 years, HSGA has held an annual gathering where members showcase their musicianship, teach each other, jam, and listen to world class Hawaiian Steel guitar. Public invited!

Stage Performances All Day
Seminars ~ Luau & Show


   click flyer to enlarge or download the pdf


Visit our facebook page for many photos from the festival!


View more videos from George Chao on his YouTube Channel



Festival Guest of Honor... Owana Kaʻōhelelani Salazar


This year we welcomed Owana Kaʻōhelelani Salazar as our special guest artist for the 2016 HSGA Convention at Ft. Collins, Colorado. It is Owana's second appearance for the HSGA, her first was at Joliet in 1991. Born into a family immersed in music and Hawaii's royal cultural history, Owana is the seventh generation great grandniece of King Kamehameha the Great, unifier of the Hawaiian chiefdoms and founder of Hawaii's kingdom under one rule. Through her royal birthright, she is Princess Owana Kaʻōhelelani Kahekili Mahealani-Rose Laʻanui Salazar.

Princess Owana has a wealth of knowledge of Hawaii's history, culture, and traditions, more specifically regarding the Hawaiian Monarchy and the Hawaiian Kingdom Government. She is a resource and advocate for Hawaiian cultural issues, genealogy, protocol, and land and environmental rights. Owana has served in numerous capacities and is currently fulfilling a five-year term as a member of the Maui County Cultural Resources Commission. She also a licensed real estate agent in Hawaii with Green Realty Group, with successful closings for both buyers and sellers throughout the Hawaiian Islands.

Highlighted awards and nominations during her lifetime career and love of music, include two Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for her recordings: "Wahine Slack n' Steel" 2003 Contemporary Hawaiian Album of the Year; "Hula Jazz" 2005 Jazz Album of the Year; and a total of ten Nā Hōkū Hanohano Nominations for all of her recordings which also include "Owana & Kaʻipo IN KONA" 1985 and "Owana" in 1986. Without a doubt, two major highlights include the Grammy winning CDs, featuring Owana Salazar along with other well known Slack Key masters: "Treasures of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" 2008 Hawaiian Music Grammy and "Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar" 2010 Hawaiian Music Grammy.

Throughout her childhood and preteen years, Owana sang at an early age for the sheer love of music, which eventually led her to become a soprano and soloist for the Kamehameha Schools Concert Glee Club. She then furthered her music studies at the University of Hawaii in Mānoa, where she was introduced to playing the guitar, specializing in Kīhōʻalu, an exclusively Hawaiian style of playing the guitar with loosened (hōʻalu) keys (kī), known worldwide as, Hawaiian Slack Key or Kīhōʻalu. In 1992 she graduated Jerry Byrd's Steel Guitar Course under the personal guidance and tutelage of "the master of touch and tone" for two years, during which she received a partial scholarship from HSGA. Owana's music
career has taken her extensively throughout Japan, Okinawa, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and Canada. She was a soloist with the Royal Hawaiian Band, was three times a featured artist on A Prairie Home Companion, and was the first Hawaiian artist to perform at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Owana has had the privilege of performing with notable greats such as Don Ho, Ed Kenney, Ohta San, Jerry Byrd, Moe Keale, Bla Pahinui, Cyril Pahinui, Gabilou of Tahiti, George Kahumoku, Keoki Kahumoku, Daniel Ho, Ledward Kaapana, Dennis Kamakahi, Cindy Combs, Brittni Paiva, Jeff Peterson, and more.

Last year, Princess Owana was a special guest artist for the opening of the 2015 exclusive exhibit of rare Hawaiian royal feather works "Nā Hulu Alii" at the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. Performing with her were her brothers Prince
Kalani and Prince Laʻanui. Owana is also a regular invited artist to the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festivals and can sometimes be found on Maui performing in "The Slack Key Show" hosted by George Kahumoku. Those performances and others
are available for viewing on YouTube.

On a more personal note, Owana wishes to extend her "aloha nui a me mahalo nui" to all the members and families of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association. She is very much looking forward to being a part of this upcoming very special HSGA
convention and embracing friends both old and new.

Hilton Fort Collins Hotel, 425 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526


This event has already taken place. See you next year?.


Daily Schedule

stage schedule




9am - Opening ceremony
Steel Guitars on Stage feat. HSGA members - 9am to 4pm
After the dinner hour: "Talk Story" with our Guest of Honor Owana Salazar
Evening jam sessions

9am - General Membership Meeting
Steel Guitars on Stage feat. HSGA members - 9am to 4:30pm
No evening program planned... enjoy an evening in Fort Collins

Steel Guitars on Stage featuring HSGA members - 9am to 3pm

Saturday Only! Workshops by HSGA members and guest speakers included with your ticket!

9-10am Slack Key Guitar
Join Mark Kahalekulu for an introduction to the history and art of Slack Key Guitar. If you enjoy playing acoustic guitar and have never tried open tunings, Slack Key is a great place to start! Mark is a master. Bring your instrument.

10:30-11:30am Steel Guitar
Learn C6 tuning steel techniques with Denver steel guitarist Chuck Lettes. He will focus on some methods for arranging songs. The study song will be “Blue Hawaii.” Bring your steel / amplified headphones if you wish, or just enjoy listening. (Download the TAB for Blue Hawaii then play along with Chuck!)

11:30am-12:30pm Hawaiian Language Philip Swain will present a session on the Hawaiian Olelo (language).  If you ever wanted to know the meaning of a word, song lyric, or title, or just learn more about Hawaii this seminar is for you. Philip is from Hawaii and is an excellent entertainer.

1:30-2:30pm Ukulele... Beginners and Beyond!
Keoni Lagunero
loves sharing his Polynesian-Hawaiian culture through teaching his very own unique style of picking, strumming, and his motto, "If you can hear it, see it, then you can play it!" Keoni has had the privilege of playing with some of the masters of Hawaiian music such as Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Makaha Sons, Cyril Pahinui, and The Brothers Cazimero. Bring your uke. This workshop is a good fit for anyone with a uke - whether you are a beginner or advanced, please stop in! You will come away with something!

3pm-4pm Vintage Hawaiian Recordings
Chris Ruppenthal
takes you back into the Golden Age of Hawaiian Music for some antique Aloha! Join HSGA member and avid 78RPM record collector Chris Ruppenthal for a vintage record listening session. Chris will add historical context and information to original early 78 issues played on a historic 1910 Victor Monarch IV horned phonograph. Then he will move on to spin some rarities by the greats of the second generation (Sol Hoopii, King Nawahi, Sam Ku, etc) that have never been reissued on CD. Some of the most amazing music on the planet is contained in these old recordings.  

Saturday Night Luau in the Main Ballroom $50 per person - tickets available for purchase during the day
6pm Cocktail/social hour with cash bar
7pm Delicious Polynesian style dinner
8pm Duke Ching's Luau Show featuring Owana Salazar

Duke Ching's Saturday Night Luau with Guest Artist Owana Salazar - Not to be missed!
Join us at 6 for pre-luau musical entertainment, cash bar and social hour. At 7:00 enjoy a Polynesian-style dinner, then sit back and enjoy the Luau Floor Show starring the lovely Owana Salazar and the fabulous Duke Ching at 8:00pm. Note: There is a separate $50 charge for the luau. Luau admission is not included with your festival registration. Luau tickets are available for purchase in advance and during the festival. Guests are encouraged to wear their finest Aloha wear! Lots of fun - do NOT miss it. Luau is open to the public, too, as is the entire festival. Please purchase your ticket online.

Hotel Reservations
Call the Hilton Fort Collins at (970) 482-2626 - mention the HSGA Hawaiian Festival in September for special block room rates. OR reserve your room online. Book by August 26.

DIA in Denver is the fly-to location. Many options exist out of DIA for transport to Ft. Collins. There are shuttle services, and rental cars.

Green Rides Airport Shuttle
Transportation to and from the airport to the Hilton. Reserve your ride online now or call them at 970-226-5533 and mention the HSGA Steel Event.

Can I join HSGA?

Please consider becoming a member of HSGA if you are not. Membership gets you a regular quarterly newsletter and price breaks at convention hotels and events.