Paia is apparently not too worried about its getting kicked to the curb on the Friday Town parties. Instead of Fourth Friday, on this weekend HawaiiOnTV and Jazz Alley TV will kick off the first annual Paia North Shore ‘Ukulele Festival. The great ‘ukulele music doesn’t stop at the borders of Paia either, with venues in Kahului and Pukalani also spreading the music love far and wide. The entire event is free, and there will be plenty of great headliners to check out.
“Living up the road from Paia, I just wanted to have a free and real Hawaiian entertainment and cultural event for the North Shore and Paia Town families,” says Kenneth Martinez Burgmaier, a Maui filmmaker and founder of the festival. “Since there’s no longer a Fourth Friday, many of us local business owners and families all got together and made it happen.”
Complimentary performances by legendary local artists include Grammy Award winners Richard Ho’opi’i, Paula Fuga, Na Hoku Hanohano nominee CJ “Boom” Helekahi, Benny Uyetaki, Na Hoku Hanohano winners Hula Honeys, ‘ukulele master Wilson Kanaka’ole, Deason Kaehelo of Lahaina Grown, Robbie Ray Lopaka, the Kalama School Ukulele Band and the Zenshin Taiko Drummers. Uyetaki, who is also the Kalama School Musical Director, will be offering a free ‘ukulele workshop, so attendees are welcome to bring their own ‘ukuleles.
“Being the first annual ‘Ukulele festival has its challenges,” says Martinez Burgmaier. “But it’s also a thrill to share this wonderful style of Hawaiian music along with our Hawaiian culture. And to make it all free! We understand the importance of the arts, Hawaiian culture and are privileged to be able to assist with the bringing the first annual Paia Ukulele Festival to the island.”
The main stage for the event is the makai side of Johnny B’s. There, musicians will play 30-minute sets from noon to 5pm. ‘Ukulele performances will also be held at the Turnbull Art Gallery, Paia Inn and Charley’s. The Zenshin Taiko Drummers will also be making an appearance at the festival.
“Paia has a rich history of being an old plantation town with a huge Japanese influence and many of our local kids play with the Zenshin Taiko Drummers,” says Martinez Burgmaier. “So we thought we would honor this wonderful traditional style that has been here in Hawaii for well over 100-plus years.
Martinez Burgmaier says all food and crafts at the event will be locally sourced, with Calisto Palos and his son Makoa from Haiku selling their handcrafted Hawaiian paddles, poi pounders, bracelets, wa’a (canoes), wine holders, lazy susans and much more. The Maui Coffee Association will hold free tastings and coffee displays in honor of two centuries of coffee production in Hawaii and there will be amazing Big Island beef burgers, fresh island fish, shakes and a variety of ono food from Johnny B’s, Tortilla Burrito Company, Island Froyo and Tobi Shave Ice.
There will also be free Segway test drives, a Bounty Music ‘ukulele display, Maui Dawn Patrol stand up paddle demonstrations along with beach and ocean fun. Giveaways will include some cool Maui items from Hawaii Tech and HawaiiOnTV.com networks. Johnny B’s will give out shake samples and Island Froyo will have samples of Maui Mase yogurt.
The businesses that made it all happen include Mana Foods, Paia Inn, Turnbull Art Gallery, Tortilla Burrito Company, Simply 808, Whole Foods Kahului, Charley’s, Mana Food, KONI 104.7FM & Joe Hawkins Maui Sunrise Show, Manao Radio, Komoda Bakery, Maui 102.9 FM, MauiTime, Kula Hardware & Nursery, Kai Kanani Sailing, Pukalani Superette, H Hawaii Media, Maui Graphics, Piiholo Zipline, Ah Fooks, Hawaiian Moons, Paia Bistro, Acura of Maui, BMW MAUI, Serpico’s, Lanai Ferry Expeditions, Bounty Music, Stopwatch, the Grand Wailea, Maui Jazz & Blues festival, Maui Dawn Patrol, High Tech Maui, Baron & Leeds, Island Honda, The Maui News, Fatburger, Hula Cookies & Ice cream, Bad Ass Coffee, Bounty Music, Maui Toyota, Rainbow Rentals, Koa Wood Creations, Maui Coffee Association, Hawaiian Canoe Club, Hawaiian Nation, Cain & Herren, Jazz Alley TV and PaiaONTV.
“This is our way to give back to Paia and the community,” says Martinez Burgmaier. “We all grew up with the ‘ukulele, it has always signified Hawaii and our culture and anyone can play it. I have produced over 34 festivals here in Hawaii over the last 20 years. I have formed many friendships with the musicians and they all see the vision we are creating for our Maui nui families to experience this quality entertainment for free. We thought what better way to say Happy Holidays, Mele Kalikimaka to all our Maui locals, local businesses and our visiting guests.”
The schedule of events include:
* Friday, Nov. 23, 5-7:30pm: Live ‘ukulele music with Wilson Kanaka’ole at Fatburger in Pukalani.
* Friday, Nov. 23, 11:30am -1:30pm: ‘Ukulele lunch with Benny Uyetake at Whole Foods in Kahului.
* Saturday, Nov. 24, Noon-5pm. Enjoy ‘ukulele music on this beautiful oceanfront venue with special performances by Richard Ho`opi`i, Paula Fuga, CJ “Boom” Helekahi, Hula Honeys, Deason Kaohelo, Robbie Ray, Lopaka, Zenshin Taiko Drummers, Wilson Kanaka’ole, and Benny Uyetake & Kalama School Ukulele Band oceanfront by Johnny B’s.
* Saturday, Nov. 24, 2-4pm: Live ‘ukulele music from Robbie Ray Lopaka at Turnbull Art Gallery & Paia Bistro.
* Saturday, Nov. 24, 6-8pm: Enjoy ‘ukulele music and wine with Wilson Kanaka’ole at the Paia Inn.
* Saturday, Nov. 24, 6-8pm: Live ‘ukulele music with CJ Boom Helekahi during dinner at Charley’s.
No outside coolers allowed, and please bring a low-back beach chair. To make a room reservation at the Paia Inn call 808-579-6000 or go to Paiainn.com. For more info on the event, check out Paiaukulelefestival.com.