Between bites of fine cuisine and sips of wine or beer presented by more than 40 top chefs from across the islands, revelers at the 23rd annual Taste of Hawai‘i will enjoy live music from the most popular performers on Kaua‘i.
The baker’s dozen of musical acts scheduled to perform at Taste are Billy Paul, Cruz Control, E-Z Livin, Gilleran & Evans, Iris & The Feel, Jeff Caldwell, The KCC Jazz Band, Ken Jannelli, KK Kauilani, Papa‘a Bay Boys, The Quake, Revival, and Vic & the Victimz.
Billed as “The Ultimate Sunday Brunch” and named by The Garden Island as the “best community event” on Kaua‘i, the upscale party today at Smith’s Tropical Paradise in Wailua is the primary annual fundraiser for the Kapa‘a Rotary Club.
“We really love to get people up on their feet at Taste and start them dancing,” said Victor DeAnda, a KKCR disc jockey and lead singer of Vic & the Victimz, a blues rock band that performs one Saturday a month at Trees Lounge in Waipouli.
“Great music is an important part of Taste,” said entertainment coordinator and Kapa‘a Rotary Club member Renée Hicks. “We’ll have music welcoming the guests as they come through the gates and then on four stages inside the 30-acre park.”
Here’s the entertainment schedule at Taste of Hawai‘i:
Slated for outside the main entrance from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. are traditional Hawaiian artists KK Kauilani & the Aloha Trio. Greeting people as they come through the gates from 11 a.m. to noon will be another Hawaiian band, E-Z Livin, which will pause at 11:20 a.m. for an event blessing by Kumu Sabra Kauka.
Scheduled for the Luau Pavilion stage from 1 to 2 p.m. is country singer and songwriter Billy Paul. From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. will appear the Kaua‘i Community College Jazz Band.
Performing on the Lagoon stage from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the Cruz Control quartet led by Frank Cruz will offer a contemporary mix of R&B and Hawaiian music. From 1 to 2 p.m., look for the country, Hawaiian and reggae band, Papa‘a Bay Boys. From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., the nine-member reggae band Revival will feature songs from their first indie album, “Roots Natty.”
On the Japanese Island stage from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Trees regulars Iris Downey & The Feel will offer their eclectic mix of funk, soul, jazz, rock, and R&B. From 1 to 2 p.m., singer and songwriter John Gilleran will play original songs and ballads with Rich Evans, Dave Greenberg and Marty Leonard. From 2:30 to 3:30, The Quake will erupt with rock and blues led by singer James Norman.
On the Aku Head stage from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Vic & The Victimz will feature “monster blues” guitarist Ryo Ogawa. From 1 to 2 p.m., KKCR music director Ken Janelli, last seen handling lead vocals and keyboards for Kapaia Stream, will offer Taste guests his own sampling of musical tastes that include punk, rock, bluegrass, blues and reggae. From 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., look for the acoustic, pop and rock styling of guitarist-singer Jeff Caldwell and friends.
“After 15 years of performing at Taste of Hawai‘i,” said John Gilleran, “I still love doing the event because I get to see people I don’t see all the time, plus the food is fabulous, and there’s a whole lot of beautiful music.”
The unsung heroes of Taste are the sound engineers on each stage, said Renée Hack. She especially thanked Ray Duarte from E-Z Livin, Doug Schneider from Iris & The Feel, and Allan Domingo from Kaua‘i Music and Sound in Kapa‘a. “We really could not present the entertainment without them,” she said.
According the official event website, TasteofHawaii.com, “We started Taste of Hawai‘i in 1988 as the first event of its kind in Hawai‘i, and it has grown into the premier culinary event on Kaua‘i and in Hawai‘i. The finest chefs from around the state gather to provide our guests with a tasting extravaganza second to none.”
Proceeds from ticket sales and a silent auction allow the Kapa‘a Rotary Club to support scholarships and public service projects on Kaua‘i and internationally. Local Rotary activities include vocational scholarships, youth programs, improving public facilities, and placing life-saving rescue tubes on east side beaches (an island-wide Rotary project).
Admission today will be $85 at the gate.