The evolving genre of Hawaiian music is the soundtrack to life in Hawaiʻi. From the delicate strumming of the ʻukulele to the vibrant, uplifting melodies, Hawaiian music continues to grow in popularity as its styles and practitioners change with the times. And while we may all have our favorite groups and performers, there’s nothing like the soothing sounds of classic Hawaiian music performed live to bring visitors and residents together. PC: Colleen Ricci.
For those visiting Oʻahu in the summertime, you’re in luck, because the island plays host to a variety of outdoor concerts in beautiful, tropical settings. From the verdant North Shore to the “wild” Honolulu Zoo, you’re bound to come across live performances by some of Hawaiʻi’s most beloved artists.
Here are four summer concert series you don’t want to miss on the island of Oʻahu:
Hoʻi Hou Mai i Waimea – Waimea Valley
Waimea Valley brings unforgettable music to Oʻahu’s North Shore during Hoʻi Hou Mai i Waimea, or “Return to the Valley.” Celebrating the best of authentic Hawaiian music and dance, Waimea Valley’s 6th Annual Summer Concert Series fills the pristine, verdant landscape with the soothing sounds of live music. You don’t want to miss the festive concert lineup below:
July 28 – Ekolu / Amy Hānaialiʻi Gilliom / Keauhou / Kumu Hula Hiwa Vaughan and Halau Kalehua Tuahine
August 25 – Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole / Hoʻaikāne / Lim ʻOhana / Halau Manaola
Single concert tickets are $15/adults and $12/children (4-12 years) and seniors pre-sale, and $19/adults and $16/children and seniors at the gate. Gates open at 2:30 p.m., with concerts from 3-6:30 p.m. Small coolers and low beach chairs are allowed, but high beach chairs, umbrellas and outside alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
Ke Kani O Ke Kai – Waikīkī Aquarium
Waikīkī Aquarium is more than just another state aquarium; it’s also home to one of the largest concert series in Hawaiʻi. Every summer, visitors and residents alike flock to the Waikīkī landmark for Ke Kani O Ke Kai, an enthralling evening of live music by some of Hawaiʻi’s most beloved performers. The five-night concert series delights with some of Hawaiʻi’s top performers, from Grammy Winner Kalani Peʻa to the crowd favorite Streetlight Cadence. PC: Waikīkī Aquarium. Upcoming concerts include:
July 12 – Josh Tatofi / Napua Greig / Kapena / Hālau Nā Lei Kaumaka O Uka
July 26 – Kimié Miner / John Cruz / Hapa / Streetlight Cadence
August 9 – Kalani Peʻa / Natalie Ai Kamauʻu / Keauhou
Tickets are $50/adult, $20/child (5-12 years) and free for children four and under. Waikīkī Aquarium will also host on-site food and beverage vendors like Haili’s Hawaiian Foods, Keamo’s Catering and Laverne’s; no outside food or beverage allowed. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with concerts starting at 7 p.m.
Twilight Summer Concert Series – Foster Botanical Garden
Live music in a beautiful Hawaiian garden—what better way to celebrate the summer season? Every Thursday, Foster Botanical Garden hosts performances in a variety of genres including Hawaiian, Celtic pipes, Taiko drums, bluegrass and more. Enjoy an afternoon stroll through the lush botanical garden before the start of the concert. Full performance lineup below:
July 5 – Echoes “of Pink Floyd”
July 12 – Sam and the Sumo Ninjaz (bluegrass)
July 19 – US Air Force Hana Hou Band
July 26 – Oahu Songwriter’s Group (oldies and original compositions)
From 4:30-7 p.m., take advantage of free admission to Foster Botanical Garden before the start of the concert at 5:45 p.m.
Wildest Show in Town – Honolulu Zoo
Are you ready to get “wild?” Home to elephants, giraffes, lions—and live music—Honolulu Zoo transforms into a concert bonanza every Wednesday evening for Wildest Show in Town, featuring the musical stylings of Josh Tatofi, Keauhou, Makaha Sons, Iron Mango and more. In addition to weekly concerts, Honolulu Zoo-goers will also enjoy pre-show family activities including animal-themed coloring contests, animal trivia and a conservation station. Come early and enter a drawing to win an ʻukulele prize! PC: Colleen Ricci.
July 11 – Beat Lele
July 18 – Special Guest
July 25 – Makaha Sons
August 1 – Johnny Helm and Friends
August 8 – Noel Okimoto and his Jazz All Stars (A Tribute to Legendary Jazz Vocalist Jimmy Borges)
August 15 – Jon Yamasato / Iron Mango
Concerts are 6-7 p.m., but come as early as 4:35 p.m. to enjoy activities with the whole family! Concerts are $5 per person (ages two and over). All concert proceeds will benefit the Keiki Zoo Water Wheel Renewable Energy Project.
Hawaiʻi is truly a music lover’s paradise, with concerts, performances and shows taking place year-long and across the islands. Visit our Events page for more summer happenings on Maui, the Big Island and Kauaʻi.