Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival
Thurs-Sat, Sept 21-23, 2017
Featuring Alan Akaka
In Fort Collins, Colorado, home of Colorado State University and gateway to the northern Rocky Mountains. For the past 30 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!
Videos of the festival performances
are now online!
Next HSGA Festival Sept 27–29, 2018
click flyer picture to enlarge or download the pdf
2017 Festival Guest of Honor Alan Akaka
Alan Akaka (steel guitar) - Alan Akaka is from a family whose roots are deep in Hawaiian music. His father Senator Daniel K. Akaka, former director of the famous Kawaiaha‘o Church Choir, played an important role in Akakaʻs music beginnings and encouraged him through his development. His family gatherings, which included lots of music making, and music education at Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai‘i further expanded his base in music. Alan established and directed the Kamehameha Middle School Nā 'Ōpio Singers and Hawaiian Ensemble. He was the director of the Performing Arts Academy at Kamehameha for 16 years. In 2009, he established Ke Kula Mele - School of Hawaiian music to provide a special environment where anyone (children through adults) who want to learn to play ‘ukulele, steel guitar, upright Hawaiian bass, and guitar are most welcome to pursue their dreams of playing an instrument and learning to sing Hawaiian songs.
As for the steel guitar, Akaka created his own sound and style, incorporating ideas and styles from the masters of steel - David Rogers, Benny Rogers, Jules Ah See, Billy Hew Len, David Keliʻi, Jake Keliʻikoa, and his teacher Jerry Byrd. He recorded with a number of artists including Genoa Keawe, Benny Kalama, Sonny Kamahele, Raiatea Helm, Kuana Torres Kahele, Randy Hongo, Owana, Nohelani Cypriano, Nina Kealiʻiwahamana, and Karen Keawehawai’i as well as with Sweden’s Simons and a number of Japan artists and groups. “How Dʻya Do” featuring the Islanders was a finalist at the 1987 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards and his solo album “Simply Steel” was a finalist at the 2010 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards.
Akaka led “The Islanders” featured at the Halekūlani's House Without A Key for over twenty years while concurrently performing with Genoa Keawe and the Keawe ʻOhana at the Waikīkī Beach Marriott Resort. He travels throughout the world as an artist and conducts Hawaiian music and steel guitar workshops through his “AkakaClub”. In 2012, Akaka was inducted in the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame along with fellow members of the Hawaiian language music group “Ka Leo Hawaiʻi”. In 2014, he was invited as a guest soloist at the International Steel Guitar Convention in St. Louis. In 2015, he traveled to Kolkata, India and was presented with an award at the India International Guitar Festival.
In 2015, Akaka established HIMELE – Hawai‘i Institute for Music Enrichment and Learning Experiences that supports music education and enrichment for people of all ages. Its purpose is to educate, promote and perpetuate Hawaiian music, Hawaiian culture and Hawaiian musical instruments by organizing and sponsoring annual Hawaiian steel guitar festivals on Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui and Hawaiʻi.
Akaka performs weekly at Duke‘s Waikīkī.
Hilton Fort Collins Hotel, 425 W Prospect Rd, Fort Collins, CO 80526
This event took place September 21-23, 2017. Stay tuned for 2018 details!
9am - Opening ceremony
Saturday Only! Workshops by HSGA members and invited experts... included with your ticket! Attendees may bring their instruments and attend as many as they wish!
|Saturday Night||Luau in the Main Ballroom $50 per person
6pm Cocktail/social hour with cash bar
7pm Delicious Polynesian style dinner! Kalua Pig, Huli Huli Chicken and traditional Hawaiian sides.
8pm Luau Show featuring Festival Guest of Honor Alan Akaka
Steel Guitars on Stage
Musicians sign up to play a 25 minute set of steel guitar. It's kind of like an open stage - but pre-planned with assigned playing slots each day. HSGA members get priority on all showcase stages.
All styles are welcome, but you will hear a lot of Hawaiian music. We want you to share your music. This is typically not a pedal steel showcase. The art of Hawaiian style steel playing on electric lap steels, resonator guitars, and acoustic instruments is the main focus of our event and organization.
If you wish to play on stage, you must register in advance. If you want to do a set on stage during the weekend, please sign up as you purchase your ticket online. For those registering by mail, paper registration forms will be included with the HSGA member newsletter .
Playing slots are assigned on a first-come-first-served basis. We'll try and take your preferences into account. All stage playing slots are planned and scheduled by the festival committee. All players will have 25 minutes to perform, and must bring at least two sets of charts for the backup musicians. You will need to round up your own backup folks from volunteers at the festival. Don't worry - there will be many folks willing to play guitar, or uke or bass for you. Or you can bring your own backup folks. AND, all performers MUST purchase either a day or weekend pass.
NOTICE FOR PLAYERS: All playing sessions are being professionally video recorded and uploaded as public to YouTube for use on the HSGA website and social media accounts. Unless artists decline, these videos will be used in the future to document our organization's events for learning and sharing. Please see Tony Fourcroy or Chris Kennison before the end of the festival if you wish to decline sharing your video with HSGA.
Saturday Night Luau with Guest Artist Alan Akaka
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 at 8:00pm. Note: There is a separate $50 charge for the luau. Luau admission is not included with your festival registration. 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.
Call the Hilton Fort Collins at (970) 482-2626 - Block Room rates available.
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.