By Léo Azambuja
A one-of-a-kind annual songwriting event offers local talent an opportunity to fine-tune their craft and be heard and discovered by local and Mainland producers.
“We’re now in our 12th year and going strong,” said Kaua‘i Music Festival President Jerry Brocklehurst, adding what makes the festival so unique is that it’s a more intimate event than the big songwriter conferences on the Mainland where you’d be one of perhaps thousands.
The event goes from July 30 to Aug. 2 at the Courtyard by Marriott Kaua’i in Waipouli. Participants may get a valuable chance of improving their skills, but the general public also benefits from the event — there will be live music every night.
During the four-day event, musicians learn songwriting or refine their skills through interaction with professional songwriters from Hawai’i and from the Mainland.
“We get a pretty big turnout from the local high schools,” Brocklerhurst said.
On the event’s last two evenings, two concerts will feature winners of a songwriting competition and winners of Grammy, Na Hoku Hanohano, and Emmy awards from Hawai’i and the Mainland.
Additionally, during the event, there will be an open mic until midnight every evening at the hotel’s Makai Lounge.
Brocklerhurst highlighted some former attendees who are now following a promising music career, such as Cameron Williamson of Paradox Lockdown, Madison, who is about to release her second album, and Violet Asuncion.
Over the years, he said, festival organizers have developed a reputation for bringing the better of two worlds together.
“Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i residents have access to Grammy and Na Hoku award-winning artists and songwriters — many of whom they could never reach outside of this event,” Brocklerhurst said. “And, for those who travel here from around the world, they can bathe in the incredible well-spring of creativity found on Kaua‘i, and focus on their craft.”
Originally started by Rich McSheehy, the festival has been steadily growing year after year, according to Brocklehurst, who was an attendee at the first two festivals. He joined the festival’s board during the third and fourth years, and ran it ever since then.
The concerts at the Courtyard by Marriott are Aug. 1, featuring Mainland instructors, and Aug. 2, featuring local instructors. Both concerts are from 7 to 10 p.m., and tickets for each night are $25.
Since the first week of June, the Makai Lounge at the Marriott has been featuring the KMF Songwriter Showcase, with a free concert every Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. The last concert of this series will be July 26.
The open mics at Makai Lounge are from 6 p.m. to midnight on July 30 and 31, and from 10 p.m. to midnight on Aug. 1 and 2.
Visit www.Kauaimusicfestival.com for more information.