Looking for some entertainment this weekend? One of my favorite outings is the annual Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival. I love to listen to great music in a fantastic setting at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Growing up in Chicago, we had outstanding festivals that drew large crowds in Grant Park. Here we have talented performers in a more intimate setting as the sun sets on the Pacific Ocean. In Chicago, you needed to use public transportation to deal with the mass of humanity. At the Big Island Jazz & Blues Festival, we have valet parking. Imagine that!
Any music festival worth its salt will have great food and drink to enjoy as well. The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel does not disappoint. Ono grinds and libations are available to keep you fueled if you like to dance. Yes, you may feel the urge to dance, especially when the Cajun Zydeco music starts with Michael Doucet and Jo-el Sonnier. Perhaps your groove is more tuned to Filmore Slim, the godfather of hip hop. Fareed Haque on guitar and Javon Jackson on saxophone will absolutely blow you away. Local talent will include Na Hoku winner Benny Uyetake and North Kohala’s own Grammy and Na Hoku winner John Keawe. Gary Washburn and the Honoka’a Select Jazz Band will be there along with some surprise guests.
Manta rays often drop in after dark just a few yards away from the music venue
The Festival starts May 31st at Redwater Cafe in Waimea. Friday, June 1st is a meet and greet with live music at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. Saturday, June 2nd is the big event at the oceanfront luau grounds at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. The weekend winds up Sunday with a Jazz Brunch at the hotel. Check out the website for details. If you don’t have tickets, find someone who does!