The Big Island’s Hawaiian Slack Key Festival – Keauhou-Kona style (September) pays tribute to a uniquely local way of playing the guitar – another Hawaiian music staple. Slack key is a “slacked” or loosened tuning or technique that reflects the breezy, flowing quality of both local climate and culture.

The festival features a variety of artists, guitar workshops, local food, crafts and guitar exhibits.

The history of the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festivals had its early beginnings in 1982. It was grounded in aloha and for the love of the music and man that was synonymous with the music. It was an opportunity to pay tribute to the contributions of a man who contributed so much to the music of Hawaii, and at the same time, continue his legacy and help to perpetuate and preserve a unique Hawaiian acoustic guitar art form known as “Ki-ho’alu”. Joining us in this effort have been dozens of individuals and corporate citizens in the community who have shared our vision and commitment to preserving and perpetuating a distinctive part of the Hawaiian culture.

In 1980 Charles Phillip Pahinui, also known as Gabby ‘Pops’ Pahinui, passed away. A giant in his own time and legendary to many around the world through his music, he was one of the few that led the way for what is now referred to as the “Hawaiian Renaissance” that had its roots in 1960’s. Through his music and style, Gabby was able to inspire and motivate young Hawaiians to be proud of their cultural heritage. Further, through sincerity and passion for his music, he showed that Hawaii’s traditional music, and in particular, Ki-ho’alu, was an art form that was special and unique to Hawaii and worthy of being played in front of a large audience and quality venues.

Annual festival for the last 30 plus years.

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