Manoa DNA on the Honolulu Festival’s impact on local artists

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With the premiere of “Honolulu Festival: Pacific Harmony Through Cultural Exchange” set for March 13, 2021 at 7 p.m. on K5, HI Now host Kainoa Carlson caught up with local band Manoa DNA. The group has performed at the festival many times and says the event has been a major platform for a number of local artists.

“The Honolulu Festival has always been an amazing event, whether we were playing music or not,” says Lloyd Kawakami. “It allowed a lot of residents and visitors to see the many different traditions that are all throughout Japan and it’s amazing history. It’s been great to see it grow every year.”

The festival has grown to be one of Hawaii’s most anticipated events, each year bringing together thousands from around the world.

“We’ve been able to make connections over the years at the Honolulu Festival that has allowed us to expand our presence in Japan,” he adds. “We were also able to perform at the Nagaoka Winter Festival a few years ago and see the famed Nagaoka Fireworks that were displayed at a few previous Honolulu Festivals.”

Other than a few live streaming performances, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled all of the band’s tours and performances planned for 2020 and most likely 2021.

“We’ve made up for it by trying different new things, but it definitely didn’t make up for the lost performances,” Kawakami says.

Right now, Manoa DNA is scheduled to perform at Blue Note in April with Henry Kapono’s Artist 2 Artist concert series.

Be sure to watch “Honolulu Festival: Pacific Harmony Through Cultural Exchange” premiering on March 13 at 7 p.m. on K5 and streaming at the same time on You can also watch encore airings on March 14 at 8 p.m. on KHNL and March 19 at 7 p.m. on KGMB.

For more information:, on Facebook: @HonoluluFestival, or on Instagram and Twitter: @HonFestival

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