HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Mailani Makainai can hardly wait for this year's Na Hoku O Hawaii Music Festival. She's won a Na Hoku award once before and is up for four more -- but this year it is not the prospect of winning that's exciting her most.
"I'm just very excited for these workshops and the fact that we have an opening party, a pre party, an after party also Kaz Haley, who's from America's Got Talent, his reggae music, I really really enjoy, he's going to be playing here," Makaina said.
And there are many other firsts happening at this year's festivities.
"This is the first time it's expanded into a festival, which is a three day event," Ruben Carrilo said.
"We've got some great things planned, we've got a couple of international artists, Kenny Loggins is going to perform with Hapa, and we've got Mick Fleetwood is gonna play with Henry Kapono."
Thursday through Sunday both musicians and those who love Hawaiian music will find unique opportunities to listen and learn in one spot. Right now, you could hear a pin drop, but later this week it's going to be a much different story as hundreds converge upon the Hawaii Convention Center.
"We're gonna see a lot of excitement, we're gonna have a lot of people chasing our artists around, because they've got their groupies so I think it's just going to be a good energy," David Uchiyama said.
Energy of artists like Jake Shimabukuro and Cyril Pahinui -- both are leading work shops on their respective instruments. Up and coming musicians and those who work behind the scenes in Hawaii's music can also pick up everything from legal advice from Hawaii's top music attorneys, song-writing, using social media, how to make a CD, haku mele, and publishing songs.
Also new this year --- concerts just for Hawaiian music fans.
"We have live free music every night, Friday and Saturday, it'll be across stages throughout Waikiki and Chai's we also have a concert at Pipeline, and something at Aloha Tower Marketplace."
We'll also feature Hawaii's top local artists all week on Sunrise. It all culminates Sunday -- with a first ever red carpet event -- broadcast live on KFVE. Just a few of the days events leading up to the Hawaiian Airlines Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Na Hoku Hanohano Awards Sunday night.
"This type of event really differentiates us from any other destination around the world, the culture it's what people want to experience coming to the islands, we're looking to eventually grow this into May as Hawaiian music month."
"Hawaiian music touches everyone, people can connect to it no matter where they're from because it's really really from the heart."
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