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Best Festivals in Hawaii to Break Your Instagram Account

When festival season rolls around, Instagram suddenly goes wild with endless snaps of teepees in the sun, beautiful young people with who wish they were called Moon Unit, but are actually called John and Shelly and sunsets that look like they were invented by Acid Mother’s temple.

We all love to Instagram. It’s a platform where, even if you are terrible at taking photos, you can slap on a perfect filter, hashtag it up and make the world envious of your awesome life. Even if it’s not that awesome, one close up of a cocktail or snapshot of bare feet on grass and you suddenly look like you have never had a 9-5 job, or microwaved your dinner or spent an entire week in pajamas glued to Netflix.

Instead, you are the kind of person who frolics to festivals near and far, living la vida loca and talking about how Janis Joplin is actually your spirit animal.

No one wants to utter that most festivals are actually boho fashion shows with music in the background (we are looking at you, Coachella), or rain infested, mud sodden, drinking too much and weeping in a tent events.

Well, this was before you had been to a festival in Hawaii. The sun soaked Aloha State knows how to throw down, when it comes to the land of festivities. Point of fact- the sky is always blue, there are real palm trees, the Mai Tai’s are magic and those sunsets are real. Get practicing your #blessed and #livingauthentic, right now, because these Hawaiian festivals are sure to break your Instagram account…

Ukulele Festival Hawaii

Ukelele Festival In Hawaii
Photo by Ukelele Festival Hawaii

Okay, we know you were expecting festivals along the lines of Burning Man, where everyone takes hallucinogenic substances and makes weird sculptures in the desert. The Ukulele Festival may not have any rock gods, but its good, old-fashioned fun.

Love or hate the twangy sound of the uke, there’s no denying that it is an essential part of Hawaiian island heritage. This festival has been around since the 1970’s and the vibe hasn’t changed that much.

Every summer, each island will hold their own ukulele festival, where you can expect virtuosos to come along and serenade a crowd of tourists in aloha shirts. Still, it is kind of lovely and you can upload a bunch of shots of you holding the ukulele, chowing down on kalua pork from the numerous food stands and standing beside beautiful hula dancers.

Aloha Festivals

The Aloha Festival is exactly what it says on the poster – a chance to dress up, watch a brightly colored parade, go wild on luau food and invoke the spirit of Hawaii.

Over in Waikiki, you can expect mega-sized block parties, where the locals rush the streets to drape leis over your shoulders and to force feed spoonful’s of poi down your throat. This is all a lot less threatening than it sounds.

Afterwards, you can watch the procession adorned with feathers and garlands, learn all about Hawaiian heart and heritage and have a hand in making a bunch of arts and crafts that capture the charm of Hawaii. You won’t even need to turn on the filters on your Instagram, the blooming reds and canary yellows of the costumes will be bright enough to get those likes flowing. And, we all know that the real joy of life comes in the shape of a virtual thumbs up.

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Food and Wine Festival
Photo by KHON2

Food glorious food, Instagram loves it! This won’t be a festival pulling out the same old pork and purple poi. This is a get together of eighty of Hawaii’s most incredible chefs, who flock to this festival in Oahu to cook up a storm, headed by culinary celebs like Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi.

Throw yourself headfirst into a fabulous foray of this Hawaiian food festival and wander from stall to stall, soaking up the freebies. You can expect the festival to be chock full of farmers and fishermen, along with gourmand artists and swish sommeliers.

Watch people light things in a pan on fire, get tipsy on the free spirit samples that are handed out, ooh and ah over many tantalizing dishes and take scores of pictures of some of the prettiest plates the Aloha State knows.

Waikiki Spam Jam

Sure, all of your friends may be living it up at Austin’s South by Southwest or going crazy out in California. But, can that really compare to a festival that’s dedicated to the love of SPAM?

I mean, think about all the weird and wonderful hashtags you can get out of this event; #SPAMtastic, #curedmeatsfeelsomuchbetter, #spammingupyourfeed…the list goes on and it doesn’t get any greater than this. Plus, celebrating SPAM is literally one of the things to do in Hawaii, to prove that you can adjust to island life.

At this prestigious event, you have the chance to see grown adults dressed in SPAM costumes, people trying their best to make SPAM seem like a sophisticated dish, lashings of live music and no less than 25 thousand people living it large, as they celebrate the existence of SPAM. Who knew that SPAM had so many dedicated fans? We have, of course, penned many a post on the sublime wonders of Hawaiian food…

Kona Coffee Festival

Kona Coffee Festival
Photo By Kona Coffee and Tea Company

Forget drink and drugs at a festival.  If you really want to get messed up, then why not head for the ultimate caffeine high, at the Kona Coffee Festival.

Drink your weight in coffee beans and get ready to bounce off the walls at the annual festival celebrating Hawaii’s special coffee culture. Sample some of the best cups on the island, before using that plethora of energy to throw down shapes on the dance floor.

This is anything but a low key event.  There is even a Miss Kona pageant.  We aren’t sure what their special skills are – but we would definitely vote for the lady who is able to grind coffee beans with her armpit. On a side note about beauty pageants, for those of you who don’t think they are weird, we implore you to check out the Miss Lovely Eyes competition…



  • Brian K

    Brian K has been a writer and publisher for 10+ years and has worked for LiveYourAloha as a freelance author and content manager for several of them. There's not much about Hawaii he can't tell you about!