Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kokua Festival 2010

This past weekend was the annual Kokua Festival, a music festival founded in 2004 by Jack Johnson and his wife to raise money for the Kokua Hawaii Foundation which supports environmental education in Hawaii's schools. I went with the Housemate and also two first cousins of mine (great girls, age 15 and 18) who were visiting from the mainland.

The concert was at the Waikiki Shell, a big outdoor stage in Waikiki. Outside the audience area there were lots of tents, some with various eco-businesses or eco-non-profits giving out information or freebies (though the festival wasn't cheap, so it's not like the handouts were really free) and some with vendors selling nature-related merchandise. Plus there was the standard festival merchandise and expensive food. I had a good time with my cousins (the Housemate came late) checking out the displays and activities that some of the tents had, and I also walked by the Kashi tent a few times to get a small stash of chewy granola bars.

Of course, the concert was the highlight of the afternoon/evening (music went from 4:30 to 10). The lineup this year was (in order of performance)

Anuhea (an acoustic soul/R&B/reggae/jazz female artist from Maui, who I'd heard once before on the night of my "first date" with the Housemate)
Jake Shimabukuro (amazing ukulele player whom I adore... He came up in one of my Intro to Hawaii posts last August)
Taj Mahal
Ziggy Marley
Jack Johnson

They were all really great. I particularly liked that Jack Johnson, who went last, did duets with all the other artists. My favorite was his "Breakdown" duet with Jake Shimabukuro. I've never been a screaming fangirl for any particular artist or movie star, but I have to say I was squealing enough during that performance for the Housemate to be a little jealous.

We were sitting at almost the very back of the lawn seating, which was too bad, though at least they had a screen set up so we could see a bit of detail on stage. Still, the performers were all pretty distant. Fortunately, when my cousins and I had first arrived, we unknowingly walked into a pre-concert "keiki show" (kid show--which of course isn't closed to adults) on a small stage where Jack Johnson was performing songs mostly from the Curious George soundtrack. We had nice close-up seats for that! Some pictures (taken by my cousin):

Jack Johnson playing a song with a cute little kid on the ukulele

Me and Jack

The weather was clear (we did see a rainbow up in the valley for a while) and not too hot. It was perfect. I think it was an especially nice concert because all the performers seemed very happy to be there. Sometimes you go to concerts where it's just another gig, another paycheck to the performer. But the artists seemed to care about the cause they were supporting, and half of them were from Hawaii and were happy to be performing for a home crowd. A very nice day.


floreta said...

this sounds like a lot of fun! i miss going to concerts. and i love how jack johnson just looks like a regular guy.

Hezabelle said...

Jack!!! I love him!!! So jealous.

Eleni said...

He was down-to-Earth and cool, and very cute with that little kid. And I definitely respect him for starting the festival.

Andhari said...

The concert looks intimate too, based on the distance between the stage and the audience. VEry nice!

Eleni said...

The kid's show was intimate. The concert was on a much bigger stage with a lot more people, and a lot more space between us and the performers. So I was glad we got to see the kid's show, too.

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It sounds a bit like the festivals in the Faroe Islands, where 30-50% of the entire nation's population gets together on a single strip of sand. The love and camaraderie in the air is quite palpable :)

Eleni said...

It's not that high of a percentage (probably the order of 0.1%), with lots of tourists in there, but yeah, it was a nice group.