Hawaii has a rich cultural history dating back to many years, but in spite of that, the island state has embraced modernity gracefully while still preserving its values, and these festivals justify that statement.

The Sherp has picked 10 festivals across categories that make Hawaii truly stand out from the other states in America. Ranging from music, art and film to even an LGBT pride festival, this list is as diverse as it gets.

1. Kona Coffee Cultural Festival

This coffee festival dates all the way back to 1970, and follows the 200-year old tradition of Kona coffee. For all you caffeine addicts, this is the perfect festival for you. It happens for 10 days in the month of November, and has other stuff like live music and even a Miss Kona pageant.

2. Duke’s OceanFest

Fancy a festival with surfing competitions, volleyball and a host of other exciting water sports? Duke’s Oceanfest is for you. It’s held in honour of Olympic gold medallist and actor Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, and it goes on for 8 days in the month of August.

3. Lantern Floating Hawaii

It’s held annually on Memorial Day on the south shore of O’ahu, Lantern Floating Hawaii brings together over 40,000 people on the beach, joined by thousands around the world via live streaming and telecast for an evening of honoring loved ones and generating collective hope toward the future. It’s a one-day affair  that happens by the end of May.

4. Maui Film Festival


(Courtesy: Facebook)

The five-day affair that happens in June is often labelled as Hawaii’s answer to Sundance. It’s like any other giant film festival; indie films are showcased, there’s an elaborate red carpet, big movies are premiered and cocktails are served.

5. Ukulele Festival Hawaii

The ukulele is one of the most important musical instruments in Hawaiian culture, and since 1971, the Ukulele Festival in Hawaii has paid tribute to this instrument. the annual Ukulele Festival is now a summer tradition in Hawaii. It has grown internationally and is by far the largest ukulele festival of its kind in the world. The Ukulele Festival happens in July.

6. Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival

The year-long mobile festival travels all around Hawaii showcasing the fine talent of slack key guitarists. For those who don’t know, slack key is a form of guitar playing where you use only a single finger to play the guitar. It consists of legends and upcoming talent, and also has workshops if you’re interested in learning the art by yourself.

7. Hallowbaloo Music + Arts Festival


(Courtesy: publicbroadcasting.net)

Honululu’s massive cultural gathering showcases the best of music and art in Hawaii. Apart from all the music and art on offer, there’s also a costume contest that’s free for everyone. Other activities include a mini marathon and loads of food. Hallowbaloo happens in the month of October.

8. Wanderlust


(Courtesy: honolulupulse.com)

Wanderlust is a meditation and arts festival that happens all around the USA, and it comes to Hawaii in the month of February. It’s all about yoga, purification, meditation and wellness at Wanderlust, and people seeking peace and tranquility attend any of Wanderlust’s numerous festivals.

9. Hawaiʻi Island Pride


(Courtesy: hawaiilgbtlegacyfoundation.com)

In July for a day, the LGBT community of Hawaii comes out and parades on the street, and a festival follows after that. It has live music, a solar-powered dance tent, drag king and queen showcases, arts and crafts, island food and informational booths.


10. Pan-Pacific Festival


(Courtesy: Facebook)

The Pan-Pacific Festival is an annual international cultural celebration held in Hawaii during the month of June. The Festival features an eclectic assortment of cultural arts, crafts, and stage performances in a variety of events. At least a hundred performance groups from the Pacific showcase their talents annually at Pan-Pacific, and it happens in the month of June.

Have some more to add to the list? Let us know in the comments!