Monday | October 24, 2016
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Puna rocks

<p>Courtesy photo</p><p>John Cruz is slated to perform at the Puna Music Festival.</p><p>Courtesy photo</p><p>Kuana Torres Kahele will perform at the Puna Music Festival.</p>

The Puna Music Festival opens on Sunday.

In its third year, the festival will feature more than 100 local performers throughout the week. Headliners include John Cruz, Kaumakaiwa Kanakaʻole, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Sean Robbins, and Kuana Torres Kahele, who won five Na Hoku Hanohano awards last year, including Male Vocalist of the Year, for his album “Kaunaloa.”

The opening event is the Pohoiki Open Concert, a free concert on Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at Isaac Hale Beach Park.

Headliners for this year’s Pohoiki concert are Torres Kahele, and Kaumakaiwa Kanaka‘ole, who will be joined by his mother, Kekuhi Kanahele for this special appearance.

“I have very few opportunities to headline here at home on Hawaii Island as an artist independent from halau,” Kanaka‘ole said. “This performance is a means to the healing of my family’s past losses, errors and land struggles in Puna.”

Also featured this year is the Kanikapila in Pahoa, which will feature music in the windows, balconies, and storefronts throughout old Pahoa town. Attendees will be treated to a wide range of musical styles during this event, from 5-8 p.m. on May 10. More than 20 businesses from the Mainstreet Pahoa Association. Hawaii Island Homes will host the Grand Central stage and information zone, where visitors can pick up event maps and programs.

Following the Kanikapila is “An Intimate Evening with John Cruz,” featuring the singer-songwriter known for the iconic hit “Island Style,” at the historic Akebono Theater. Admission is $20 general, $35 VIP and tickets are available online at

The closing concert will feature Nahko and Medicine for the People. The band recently toured Indonesia, and is planning an extensive tour of the US mainland. Much of their early support has come from East Hawaii.

“I’m in my final stages of preparing to release a new record so many good things in the works. I’m so grateful to be able to do this performance at home,” Nahko said.

Tickets are $20 general and $60 VIP, which includes a reception, an intimate unplugged performance by Nahko and dinner at The Lanai at Kalani, and are available online.

Other featured events during the festival include a storytelling performance with Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah and a huge celebration of the extraordinary Kalapana Night Market on Wednesday, featuring talented musicians from Kalapana and Kaimu.

A series of innovative workshops throughout the week round out the festival’s offerings. Ikaika Marzo will teach slack-key guitar; a local legend, Uncle Alofa, will teach the traditional Hawaiian art of drum-making; and Sean Phelan will teach harmonica basics.

To reserve tickets or to learn more about the festival, visit For information, or to request an auxiliary aid or modification, please call Aleisha at 965-7828 by today.


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