The Area

View of Kauna’Oa Bay from the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel

The Island of Hawaiʻi was formed as lava flows from five volcanoes overlapped one another, creating a diverse landmass that includes 11 of the earth’s climates. The still active Kīlauea sits at the heart of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, while Mauna Kea, Mauna Loa, Kohala and Hualālai Mountains gently slope behind the festival’s venues along the Kohala Coast and in the town of Waimea.

The town of Waimea, also known as Kamuela, sits in the saddle between the dry leeward and green windward sides of the island. Nestled against the picturesque Kohala Mountains, Waimea is known for its paniolo (cowboy) culture as well as the rainbows that grace the countryside, reflecting the ever-shifting weather patterns between rain, mist and sun.

The Kohala Coast is rich in both Hawaiian history and sea life, and is home to some of the most stunning resorts in the world. Black lava fields turn into white sand beaches and turquoise water. The shallow ocean water is home to many marine animals not found anywhere else in the world, including Hawaiian Hawksbill turtles, octopus, eel, tropical fish and smaller reef sharks. Spinner dolphins rest in the bays, while the songs and sights of humpback whale add to the excitement.