Hawaiian music fans visiting Waikiki can enjoy free, monthly concerts, featuring some of the Aloha State’s top talent, beginning July 31 at the Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa.
The new series of shows, scheduled on the last Friday of each month, is titled “Mele at the Moana,” and according to the property’s general manager, Larry Hanson, the events are an effort to reconnect with the hotel’s rich musical past and, in particular, the extraordinarily popular live radio program “Hawaii Calls” that was broadcast around the world from the Moana’s famous Banyan Courtyard for 40 years.
“Hawaii Calls started in 1935, [and] what was so good about it was that, at a time when Hawaii was not as well known, it brought a lot of the culture and music and feeling of Hawaii out to the world,” Hanson explained. “ It was at one time published in 750 stations around the world, so this was a way to show what Hawaii was all about from a musical and cultural perspective, and it’s something that had a direct impact on bringing visitors to Hawaii.”
Running from about 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the last Friday of each month, the Mele at the Moana schedule will feature Grammy-nominated Raiatea Helm on July 31 followed by John Cruz in August, Natalie Ai Kamauu in September and the Maunalua trio in October.
The Mele at the Moana concert series will feature Raiatea Helm on July 31.
“What we’re trying to do is get a good cross range of performers that are kind of up and coming along with some more established artists,” Hanson said. “I think Raiatea is one of the better performers out there in terms of live shows, so we thought she would be someone great to kick off this whole thing.”
Hanson expects to draw around 400 to 500 people for the performances, based on similar shows the Moana has run in the past, but he noted that folks interested in reserving premium, front-of-the-venue seats ahead of time can do so by booking a special package for $20 per person at tables for a minimum of four that include a generous appetizer platter.
Of course, Oahu visitors don’t need to wait for the monthly shows to enjoy a night under the more than 100-year-old Banyan tree at Waikiki’s oldest hotel. The property’s outdoor, beachfront courtyard typically offers live music nightly and provides a magical setting to share a drink and pupus (appetizers) while admiring the stunning view out toward the Pacific.
Those interested in reserving seats should contact the Moana Surfrider’s Mason Waugh at (808) 923-2811 or [email protected].