Passes and tickets for The Hukilau 2020 are selling briskly after last week’s announcement of the full entertainment lineup for the 19th annual Tiki weekender June 3-7 at the B Ocean Resort and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.
Our previous report hinted at many of the headliners and new participants while offering up key details on the East Coast’s largest and longest-running gathering of Polynesian Pop culture enthusiasts. Now, with the launching of The Hukilau’s updated website, we can run down the full list of bands, symposium presenters, guest pop-up bars and more.
The biggest news was the reveal of the musical headliners. Returning for their second appearance at The Hukilau are The Surfrajettes from Toronto, Canada. Rising stars on the instrumental surf circuit, these four women have lived up to the hype after exploding onto the scene in 2015. Viral videos propelled their popularity, but their subsequent live performances and signing with Hi-Tide Recordings have proved that this band is more than just an Internet sensation. We were treated to their blend of classic surf, unique covers, and their own originals at The Hukilau 2018, followed by a special appearance at The Mai-Kai last March. Appearances last year at such high-profile events as Nashville Boogie, the Surf Guitar 101 Convention, and Tiki Oasis solidified their place as an event headliner. Look for a new single on Hi-Tide in April.
Perhaps the best known and most popular band to ever play The Hukilau is Los Straitjackets, who graced the festival in 2009 and 2018. While the masked marvels of instrumental rock won’t be returning in 2020, two of its key members will jam out this June in Fort Lauderdale. Guitarist Eddie Angel, who co-founded Los Straitjackets in 1988, also played The Hukilau with two other bands, The Martian Denny Orchestra and The Neanderthals. The Nashville-based guitarist has also had a longtime career as a sideman and solo artist, appearing on dozens of albums by some of the retro rock scene’s greats, dating back to 1978. At The Hukilau 2020, he’ll perform a solo set at Friday’s High Tide Party, backed the The Hi-Risers. On Saturday at The Mai-Kai, he’ll sit in as a fourth member of the roots rock band from Rochester, N.Y., for a few songs.
The Hi-Risers were formed by guitarist Greg Townson, a member of Los Straitjackets since 2010, and bassist/vocalist Todd Bradley back in 1998. The three-piece band will join forces with Los Straitjackets guitarist Eddie Angel for their first appearance at The Hukilau. For 20 years, the band has been constantly touring, recording and releasing rock ‘n’ roll records with a retro spin. Hi-Tide dropped a new single, Christmas with The Hi-Risers, in December and plans another record before June.
Another Hi-Tide band, Argentina’s Los Freneticos, is making its first appearance at The Hukilau. Founded in 2008, this foursome went against the grain of what was popular in their home country to establish a worldwide following with their mash-up of instrumental rock, surf, spaghetti western, and even a bit of punk. A 2012 debut album, El Playa, was followed by another album and global touring. Hi-Tide put out a third record, Teletransportación, in 2019, propelling the band through a full summer of U.S. festival dates. Another recording is due this spring.
Also new for 2020 is a recently formed “surfxotica” combo, The Manakooras from Charlotte, N.C. Featuring members of surf stalwarts The Aqualads, The Intoxicators, The Penetrators and Satan’s Pilgrims, the band combines their love of exotica, surf, and Hawaiian music by employing distinctive instrumentation including lap steel guitar. The band is joining forces with Hi-Tide to release a record by the time The Hukilau rolls around.
Previously announced bands who will be performing at the B Ocean and The Mai-Kai during the rocking five days of festivities are The Intoxicators, The Disasternauts, Gold Dust Lounge, and Skinny Jimmy Stingray. Once again, King Kukulele will emcee the festivities while DJs spinning eclectic tunes will include Brother Cleve, Vincent Minervino and Magdalena O’Connell from Hi-Tide, Spike Marble of The Hula Girls, and Hukilau favorite James Brown’s Sweat from South Florida.
The bands and DJs can be found at the B Ocean on Thursday through Saturday during daily Rum Island pool parties and Friday’s High Tide Party in the hotel’s distinctive Point Room. The Mai-Kai hosts performances during Wednesday’s pre-party, Saturday’s main event, and Sunday’s finale. Performance times will be announced Feb. 15.
More below: Symposiums, classes and pop-up bars
Previous story: Passes and tickets for The Hukilau: 10 things you need to know
The Hukilau 2020 will be held June 3-7 at the B Ocean Resort and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring live music and retro-themed performances, educational symposiums, vendor marketplace, rum and Tiki cocktail classes, plus 20 top Tiki bars and bartenders from around the world.
Go to The Hukilau.com for tickets, event passes and complete info
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While the live performances keep the party rocking, there’s more to The Hukilau for attendees thirsty for “edutainment” covering everything from rum cocktails, to Tiki history, to vintage clothing. A new symposium, Alfred Shaheen: Iconic Hawaiian Textiles ($10), will offer a deep dive into the largest and most innovative mid-century aloha wear manufacturer. Pull Your Head Out of Your Glass! Secret Treasures of Tiki Bars Hiding in Plain Sight ($10) will offer a deep dive “to uncover the wild, weird and wonderful artifacts found in Tiki bars.”
Previously revealed were presentations by music and Tiki historian Brother Cleve (Exotica! The Sound of Tiki, $10), rising New York City bartender Garret Richard (New Traditionalist – Can Cutting-Edge Science Revive Tiki’s Forgotten Cocktails?, $59), and The Atomic Grog’s Hurricane Hayward (How The Mai-Kai Perfected the Modern Tiki Cocktail, $59).
For the fourth straight year, The Hukilau will offer hands-on cocktail classes as part of its Okole Maluna Cocktail Academy. Students will be treated to an all-new slate of courses, such as Where’s the Proof? with bartender and Tiki ambassador Oriol Elias of Spain. Death or Glory owner Ayme Harrison will join forces with Tiki TNT owner Todd Thrasher for Punch Up Your Party – Less Work, More Fun. The most ambitious new class is My Zombie Is Killer!, a “cage match” featuring four bars competing to see who has the best Zombie cocktail. Expanding beyond rum is a new class titled Waiter! What is This Tequila/Whiskey/Gin Doing in My Tiki Cocktail? Tickets for all classes are $59. The symposiums by Richard and Hayward will also count as credit toward a diploma from the academy.
Additional rum and cocktail events will run the gamut. In True Tiki Bar Confessions ($10), guest bartenders will share their “guilty pleasures.” Meanwhile, global rum ambassador Ian Burrell returns for another sampling of top-of-the line spirits in his $1,000 Rum Tasting ($59). The UK RumFest founder will also present a $10 tasting titled Jamaica’s Influence on Tiki.
Craft classes give villagers a chance to learn new skills and interact with some of the scene’s top artists. New for 2020 is One-in-a-Million Tiki Mug – Make it Yourself! ($99) with John Mulder of Eekum Bookum. Crazy Al Evans will teach villagers how to paint their own black velvet masterpiece ($10), while South Florida’s Will Anders (Carve Your Own Pendant, $10) and Tom Fowner (Make Your Own Fish Float Pendant, $10) return with fun and informative classes.
For more adventurous villagers, Angie Pontani will teach another Go Go Aerobics class ($20), while Grammy-nominated guitarist Eddie Angel will instruct intermediate level and above axe-slingers ($59).
Previous story: How The Mai-Kai Perfected the Modern Tiki Cocktail
Hurricane Hayward and some very special guests will explore the passing of the torch from Don the Beachcomber to The Mai-Kai’s Bob and Jack Thornton in 1956, and the key role of master mixologist Mariano Licudine in keeping Don’s historic Tiki cocktails alive and thriving for 63 years.
Included in the price of admission is a wide assortment of cocktail pop-up bars from some of the top Tiki establishments from around the world. They include Death or Glory (Delray Beach, Fla.), Dirty Dick (Paris), Esotico (Miami), Flask & Cannon (Jacksonville, Fla.), Hidden Harbor (Pittsburgh), Laki Kane (London), Nu Lounge Bar (Bologna, Italy), Pagan Idol (San Francisco), Porco Lounge & Tiki Room (Cleveland), The S.O.S. Tiki Bar (Decatur, Ga.), Suffering Bastard (Sanford, Fla.), Three Dots and a Dash (Chicago), Tiki TNT (Washington, D.C.), Tiki Underground (Akron, Ohio), Tonga Hut (Los Angeles), Trailer Happiness (London), Ventiki (Ventura, Calif.), and Zombie Village (San Francisco). More are expected to be announced. Bars will be popping up at the Tiki Treasures Bazaar (Thursday-Saturday), High Tide Party (Friday), and Rum Island pool parties (Friday-Saturday).
Other special events during The Hukilau went on sale last week, including the always popular swimshows featuring Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid in the hotel’s main pool, with reserved seats in The Wreck Bar. Seating is limited, and these shows have traditionally sold out even when The Hukilau was headquartered at Pier Sixty-Six a mile away. With most villagers staying in the B Ocean, expect these tickets to be snapped up quickly.
Marina is putting together another slate of special performances exclusively for The Hukilau, including Wednesday night’s mermaid burlesque show and Thursday night’s underwater male burlesque show featuring The Aquamen ($35 each). Two more traditional mermaid shows featuring Marina and her Aquaticats are scheduled for Thursday and Friday afternoons ($30 each).
New for 2020 is a special beachside luau on Thursday night. Those with South Seas passes get free admission, drinks and food, while all other passholders must book this event separately. The luau and dinner is $119, with a separate cocktail pass priced at $59. Also on Thursday night, burlesque queen Angie Pontani will once again team up with DJ Brother Cleve for the Tiki A Go-Go party ($25).
The Tiki Treasures Bazaar, a large vendor marketplace, is also open to all passholders Thursday through Saturday. Participating artists will include Tiki Diablo, Eekum Bookum, Kymm Bang, Robert Jimenez, and many more. The full list of vendors will be released in late February.
Here’s the breakdown of available passes. Note that one- or two-day passes may be offered later, but there’s no guarantee of that happening if certain nights sell out in advance. Check The Hukilau website for full details.
* Beachcomber Pass (3 days, $219): Admission Friday through Sunday, including the Tiki Treasures Bazaar, pool parties, and High Tide Party.
* Aloha Pass (4 days, $249): Admission Thursday through Sunday, including the Tiki Treasures Bazaar, pool parties, and High Tide Party. Option to buy pass to Wednesday’s pre-party (space permitting).
* South Seas pass (5 days, $499): Admission from Wednesday’s pre-party through Sunday’s finale at The Mai-Kai. Also includes Thursday’s luau and Tiki A Go-Go party, Friday’s High Tide Party (including cocktails), and two “special escapes” featuring food and drinks and a chance to meet participating distillers, bartenders, and presenters. Passholders also receive a custom Tiki made by Tiki Tony.
The Hukilau official links
Click here for the breakdown of all the passes and tickets. The symposiums, tastings, classes, and events are listed here. If you’re a newbie or need guidance on what to buy, this page goes through all the steps in scheduling your special experiences. Prices listed above do not include additional online fees.
* See the daily schedule
As previously announced, The Hukilau’s block of rooms at the B Ocean Resort sold extremely fast after going on sale in December at a special preferred rate. Expect more rooms to be added, but it’s possible those will sell out as well. You can also find rooms through other means, including discount sites and directly through the hotel, though those prices may vary widely. If you have any questions or want to inquire about a waiting list, email Aloha@TheHukilau.com. In addition, the neighboring Best Western, which features rooms overlooking the B Ocean’s main pool, is always an option. Regardless of your accommodations, you can still purchase event passes and tickets at any time while supplies last.
Last but not least, the historic Mai-Kai is gearing up for its 18th year of hosting multiple days and nights of Hukilau revelers, including the Saturday night main event. This is the night almost everyone attending the event gathers for a marathon of multiple happy hours, live music in The Molokai lounge and Tahiti dining room, plus several performances of the Polynesian Islander Revue, the longest-running authentic South Seas stage show in the United States, including Hawaii. These shows always sell out, so villagers are urged to make reservations through the special link on TheHukilau.com.
The exclusive Wednesday pre-party in The Molokai is included in the price of South Seas passes and may be made available for $30 to Aloha passholders. The Sunday finale is included in all multi-day passes. Details on those events will be announced soon. Stay tuned for more updates.
Photos: 10 highlights from The Hukilau 2019 in Fort Lauderdale
Take a look back at last year’s festivities with dozens of photos and 10 memorable moments from the five days of fun.
The Hukilau past coverage
* 2019: Photos and video from social media
* 2018 social media recap | More highlights
* 2017 daily recaps, news, photos and video | More highlights
* More recaps: 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2002-2008