Do You Remember… Crater Festivals

Mar 22, 2012

A few MLCers asked me about Diamond head crater festivals, also known as Sunshine Festivals.



Actually, I’ve never been to a crater festival.ย  But that doesn’t stop me from starting a blog post about the event and having all of you share your memories of attending the Crater Festivals.


To jog your memories and “put you there”, here’s a few pictures:






Do you remember attending the crater festivals?ย  Maybe you attended them, but just don’t remember being there?ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Share you memories with us.



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77 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Doug Rivera
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    I did the sound for the second stage at the festivals. Worked for Easy Music at the time and we did sound at several events in Honolulu. Had a great time with lots of help from friends. We all did it for free and the music was worth it as I had lots of local bands on my stage. Lots of memories too!

  2. ankleBYTERS
    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:21 am #

    I remember going to one…..that’s all I’m going to say about that….

  3. jaydee
    March 22nd, 2012 at 5:29 am #

    1971 with Buddy Miles and Santana. I don’t remember much….it’s kind of a “Purple Haze” now. lol

    I wish I still had that album though.

  4. M
    March 22nd, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    Guud morning MLCers!
    I have that poster….
    Been there but don’t remember……

  5. hemajang
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:05 am #

    As usual I have vague memories of the 60’s-70’s concerts. I don’t remember how many Crater Festivals I went to. Its a blur, somehow I recall Country Joe and the Fish but didn’t think I liked them much. Somehow the hot outdoor setting, inside Diamond Head is sorta barren, and the buzz in the air was more conducive to just hanging out and enjoying the scenery, which I did. Hey M, you get the original Tom Sellers poster? Collectors item for sure, keep it flat and protected. Tom Sellers was a hot illustrator/designer in those days, had a harbor building studio by Aloha Tower.

  6. M
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    @hemajang, not sure if it’s a Tom Sellers poster, I have to take a look. It’s framed and hanging on the wall.

  7. eddyo
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:15 am #


    I went to the one advertised on the poster! My brother, his friends & me (the tag along) got there before dawn–and it was DAMNED COLD. We went to concession stand, where they were making some hot chocolate but since it wasn’t ready, we had coffee black & steaming.
    In the morning the rain made it cold & by noon the sun made it blistering, but we had a great time. For some strange reason, one of the headline acts was David Carradine & Barbara Seagull (Hershey). I remember a young Pauline Wilson singing with either Ox or Seawind, can’t remember. A lot of military folk, probably future Vietnam vets, guys smoking doobies & a few topless girls (My teenage jaw dropped).

  8. sally
    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    As we lived in walking distance, my friends came over and parked on my street and we walked over to DH Crater. Times were groovy, we were young and naive (still in high school).

    Even back then I thought it was quite funny how Hawaii wannabes acted as though they were at Woodstock LOL.

  9. sally
    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    I can’t remember much or the entertainment. The friends I was with were not into the music as I was so I kinda meandered around with them, with the music in the background.

    Looking back, I should have just ventured on my own and enjoyed the music… something I would totally do today. After all, I only had to walk home when it was all pau. hahaha

    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    I heard about Crater Festivals but never went to one.

    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Good morning MLCers โ— Happy Thursday โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great day everyone โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

  12. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Doug Rivera
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:04 am #

    I did the sound for the second stage at the festivals. Worked for Easy Music at the time and we did sound at several events in Honolulu. Had a great time with lots of help from friends. We all did it for free and the music was worth it as I had lots of local bands on my stage. Lots of memories too!

    Doug Rivera from Glass Candle! Welcome to the MLC blog and thank you for sharing your crater memories with us. I’m bummed that I missed your guys last gig in December (was in Vegas). Next one for sure! Please say there will be a next one!

  13. volleymom2
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I was so into the Crater Festivals… my friends and I caught the 6 o clock bus and by the time we got there it was around 8. I was always the one up front by the stage clapping my hands in the air and rocking out (which I still do today). I remember all the drinking, face painting, and the smell of doobies in the air, too. Did a lot of walking around and checking out who we would see from school and other places. Caught the bus home around 10 o clock and met my dad who picked us up at the Umi St. terminal, remember that? Not there now. When we left, it was usually the last group playing. Those were the days, loved it, would re-live it!!

  14. volleymom2
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    @ankleBYTERS- how come you dont remember- is it old age or something else?? LOL!!

  15. Mark'75
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    I’ve been to a couple, but the one with Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles stands out.

  16. volleymom2
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I remember when C & K were first starting out and playing at the Crater. I heard them and said… wow, they are really good- history made!!

  17. Kage
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Good Morning.

    I was not old enough to go to these. I hoped that they would have continued until I was, but it did not.

  18. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:10 am #

    Crater Festival history from


    The 1970 festival took place in June and the line-up included:

    Cecilio & Kapono
    Big Brother and the Holding Company


    The 1971 Diamond Head Crater Festival was held December 5th and 6th. The line-up included:

    Buddy Miles
    Carlos Santana


    The 1972 festival line-up included:

    Little Feat


    The 1973 festival was held June 10, 1973. The line-up included:

    Cecilio & Kapono
    Hui Ohana
    Stevie “Guitar” Sparks and Matthew Akiona
    Sunday Manoa


    The 1975 festival was held on New Year’s Day and the line-up included:



    The 2-day Festival of Life (New Years Eve, Dec. 31,1975 to New Years Day Jan.1, 1976) was a celebration of America’s bicentennial. Promoters Polynesian Enterprises (Bob Kent and Steve Eastwood) in association with Calgary’s Fire Productions (Chris Dobbin, Anthony Gregory and Joel Margolis)chartered a DC8, painted it Red,White & Blue w/stars, of course, and flew the entire entourage {Sly Stone missed the flight and flew over later – Stevie Wonder had to cancel at the last minute) to Hawaii in what had to be one of the most infamous drunken, drug hazed flights since Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.

    Note: Seals & Crofts abstained from such shenanigans as they were members of the Baha’i faith, good thing they weren’t seated next to Cheech & Chong’s entourage who lit up before the plane was aloft. All the major news stations were at the airport to shoot the arrival as local fans disbelieved that such a prestigious group of performers could be assembled for one festival.

    Bachman Turner Overdrive
    Seals & Crofts
    Jesse Colin Young (Youngbloods)
    Country Joe & The Fish
    Cheech & Chong
    Cobra (Featuring Members Of Santana, Sly’s Family Stone And Sultry Vocalist Georgia Elliot)
    Sly Stone
    Billy Preston
    Tower Of Power
    Herbie Hancock
    Shawn Phillips
    The Stampeders
    Melissa Manchester
    Wendy Waldman
    Steve Ferguson
    Makaha Sons Of Niihau
    Ox (Seawind)


    The 1977 festival was held July 3-4, and the line-up included:

    Elvin Bishop
    Mackie Feary Band
    Flash Cadillac
    The Bright Eye Band: Chuck DeFrancis (lead guitar & vocals), Martin Samuel (drums), Jim Kesilika (bass guitar & vocals), Chris Bovard (lead guitar & vocals).


    The final Diamondhead Crater Festival was held Labor Day, Sept. 4, 1978, and promoted by Bob Kent and Steve Eastwood.
    โ€œLEAHI โ€˜78โ€

    Talent Line โ€“ up

    Cecilio & Kapono
    Little River Band
    Mackey Feary Band
    Eddie Kamae & The Sons of Hawaii

  19. Mike in Waipio
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Never made it to any of the Crater Festivals. But reading late entries to the “first concert” topic made me want to submit this. My first concerts were at the Waikiki Shell where Peter, Paul, and Mary performed a few consecutive summers. Great sitting on gozas on the grass. Some of you mentioned the Young Rascals, which reminded me of this. In the summer of 1966, the “Teen Fair” was held at the HIC exhibition hall with many booths of things supposedly of interest to teens. My dad was in a Lions Club and he asked my friends and me (to be continued)

  20. Mike in Waipio
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    to man a booth giving out info on Lions Club and also T-shirts. About 30′ from our booth was a stage. At this time. the Young Rascals had been on the charts (“I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore”) but weren’t that big yet. They played three or four consecutive nights and we were close to the stage. Became a fan. I think they gained a lot of Hawaii fans that week.

  21. snow
    March 22nd, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    i was a little young for the crater festivals when they first started, probably still a little young when they ended! never went to one but i probably wouldn’t have liked it because i don’t like when it’s hot! lol.

    @volleymom2 – i think ankles remembers stuff that he’d rather have forgotten! lol.

  22. Steve
    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    @rodney: The last picture that you posted of the three piece band performing on stage at a crater festival is really “The Stampeders”, who are best known for their big hit “Sweet City Woman”. They performed on December 31, 1975, which was the first day of the
    “2 Day Festival Of Life” event.

    On the second day, January 1, Sly Stone joined Billy Preston during his set and the two of them put on a great performance together. America was the last act to perform and due to delays, they did not finish their set until after midnight! That was really a long day.

  23. volleymom2
    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    The one in 76 was the best! I remember that I had to leave when Billy Preston was singing Going Round in Circles… I could hear him as I was walking out of the crater.

  24. Steve
    March 22nd, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    @rodney: I was looking at the poster at the top of your blog from “The 6th Annual Sunshine Festival” on January 1, 1974. It reminded me that Journey, who were making their Hawaii debut, was the headlining act that day. Someone told me that the night before, they performed at a New Year’s Eve concert in San Francisco and right after that, they caught a flight to Hawaii so that they could perform at the crater festival on New Year’s Day. The Hawaii concert was only their second public appearance together. This was 3 years before Steve Perry became their lead singer. Actor David Carradine, who was having big success with his popular television show “Kung Fu”, and his girlfriend Barbara Hershey were also at that event.

  25. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    Wow, cool facts @Steve! Always appreciate your input. You have an awesome memory!

  26. dihudfan
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    remembah goin’… no remembah anything else… head was in the clouds those days…

  27. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Because of New Year Day traditions, I never attended a Crater Festival. Didn’t want to break tradition and chance having a bad year…

  28. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    @Mike in Waipio – I remember my dad taking me to some kind of fair at the HIC exhibition hall when I was around 8 or so. It must’ve been that same “Teen Fair” that you worked.

    All I remember was the ton of booths saying how bad drug use was. I remember one booth showing a film that said even though you might stop using drugs, once you start it’s in your system forever. Then it showed this guy randomly jump in front of a moving car for no reason all all even though he hadn’t used drugs for a couple of years – because he used them before.

    I think I was a bit too young to be there because it scared the shit out of me.

    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Good evening MLCers โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great memories โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

  30. Mark'75
    March 22nd, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    When the record album featuring Carlos Santana and Buddy Miles at the Crater Festival was released, I just had to buy it. I got the cassette tape and played it until it squealed and got tangled up in my tape player.

  31. Seawalker
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Never went to da craytah festivals.

    But I do remember all the commotion and the articles in the papers that we had to deliver back in the days. Still remember the Hawaiian Open in the 70’s. It was a perfect overcast Saturday and no wind at all. They tore up the course with unreal scores.

    K, okay, back on topic. That wahine in the bikini (above) better be pregnant. Otherwise, we’re talking major teenage beer gut. LOL

  32. Seawalker
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

    @snow – My guess is that ankles saw himself in one of the pictures above and was having an exteme bad hair day. ๐Ÿ˜†

  33. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    Interesting topic Rodney. and thanks to Steve for his great historical memory!

    Those were interesting times, doesn’t seem like it’s real, looking back. but there sure were lots of long haired hippie types in Hawaii back then.

    It’s good to put some thoughts down in writing while I still can remember, but getting difficult.

  34. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    Like Rodney said, it was new years, so was hard to deviate from tradition, but I went to one and only one of those festivals, the one with Santana and Buddy Miles. Even from far away Buddy Miles looked huge on his drum set. The wind blew the music throughout the crater – it was unreal.

  35. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    I only remember one other band that played, local guys with brass, electric guitars, li’dat. One of the band guys was related to the family who owns Leonard’s Bakery – that’s what my friend told me anyway. The band played one of the early sets.

    “loose as a goose, loose as a goose.
    drunk as a skunk, drunk as a skunk.”

    I remember those lyrics but little else. It was a pretty cool band. Don’t remember their name.

  36. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    As I recall, food was hard to come by at the festival. Not like Okinawan Festival you know.

    The worse thing was the porta potties. Nuff said.

    I remember this one long hair standing in the long grass taking a whiz and yelling at the top of his lungs. We was cracking up!

  37. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

    One last memory, we saw Don Muraco hanging out at the festival. That was a big thrill for us that day! haha. I think he might have been just starting out in 50th state wrestling, but I not sure about that. but we was sure that was him.

  38. tankobu
    March 22nd, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Okay, the real reason we went was for check out the babes in halter tops, and had plenty! We was young and foolish – those were good times!

  39. volleymom2
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    @tankobu- yeah, I remember food was hard to get, can’t even remember what I ate. Whatever food you bought, it was expensive. Also remember the days being so hot and humid- always came home sunburned. Sunscreen- what was that?.. back in the day…

  40. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:42 pm #

    @Tankobu – Was it this song:

  41. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    @volleymom2 – so the year you went to the crater festival, I must’ve not seen you at halmuni’s house, eh? LOL

  42. CMO
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I’m from the Big Island but remember visiting Oahu and my super cousin Cheryl and her boyfriend taking me to a Crater Festival. It was overwhelming for me but I remember waking up to America and I think I caught Sly Stone also. It’s a blur!
    Thanks for jogging so many musical memories through the years…

  43. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Someone jogged my memory on FB. Remember back then – the weed of choice was “elephant”.

  44. Rodney
    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

    March 22nd, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    Itโ€™s a blur!
    Thanks for jogging so many musical memories through the yearsโ€ฆ


  45. sally
    March 22nd, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    “Elephant” WOW, Haven’t heard that since another lifetime ago.

  46. Rodney
    March 23rd, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    Yeah, I know! I had to repeat it a few times and use it in a phrase.

  47. jaydee
    March 23rd, 2012 at 3:34 am #

    My second was in 1972; Leon Russell at the HIC with a girl named Terry. Don’t remember much about that concert but Terry I will never forget. :)

  48. ankleBYTERS
    March 23rd, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Here’s a recent article on the event on SA:

    $125 for a ticket โ— ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I think back when it first started it was like $5 and you could walk in.

    volleymom2: I don’t remember ๐Ÿ˜† It was like a mini-Woodstock..

    snow: I only remember when there’s that distinct odor in the air… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    seawalker: Wrong brand of bea in the hand…otherwise, that be me….

  49. M
    March 23rd, 2012 at 6:31 am #

    Guud morning MLCers!

  50. Mark'75
    March 23rd, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    @ankleBYTERS: Admission charge. Probably explains why we climbed over the side of Diamond Head to get in. LOL

  51. M
    March 23rd, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    There was Thai sticks too….

  52. volleymom2
    March 23rd, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    @Mark75- Wasn’t $2 or $3 to get in?? I dont remember paying that much. The food and drink were costly.

    March 23rd, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Good morning MLCers โ— Happy Aloha Friday โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great memories for many of you โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great day everyone โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

  54. Mark'75
    March 23rd, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    @volleymom2: Maybe was…but it was $2 or $3 we didn’t have. So like a dummy, I just followed along.

  55. tankobu
    March 23rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Hey Rodney, thanks for that link, and that IS the song! How did you know that? you DA MAN!

  56. losthawaiian
    March 23rd, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I went to a couple of festivals. The one that stood out most to me was the 77 concert with Journey and Detective. My friends and I went hoping to see Jimmy Page play with Detective as he played on their album. Nope! He didn’t show. Journey was great as they played with their original lineup(Space rock) vs. the Steve Perry lineup(Pop ballads). I remember sneaking in a couple of those miniture bottles of 151 to mix with a coke. Great times!!!!!

  57. dihudfan
    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    what about maui woowie and kauai electric… in nam it was vung tao… my memories up in smoke……..

  58. Rodney
    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    March 23rd, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

    Hey Rodney, thanks for that link, and that IS the song! How did you know that? you DA MAN!

    I just googled the lyrics you listed. Google is DA MAN! lol

  59. Rodney
    March 23rd, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    @duhudfan – Puna butta and kona gold.

  60. Steve
    March 23rd, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    @rodney: There was also a 2 day summer crater festival on July 4 and 5, 1975 that was very good. The first day featured Lydia Pense And Cold Blood and Canned Heat. The second day was headlined by Fleetwood Mac, who had recently added new members Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham. As you know, that version of Fleetwood Mac went on to become hugely successful. On the second day, there was also a brush fire on the slopes of the crater that raged on for about 45 minutes until the fire department arrived to put it out!

    March 23rd, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    Good evening everyone โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great holiday weekend โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Spring break for some kids โ—

  62. sally
    March 24th, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Thai Sticks, Kona Gold… yup and yup, but Puna Butter?

    @Steve: Great memory you have, I’m like.. “oh yah, no?”

  63. Seawalker
    March 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Yup, for that very reason, da Mary Janes, I’m hoping the Sunshine Festivals make a comeback. “I guess it’s true… cause I’m stone in love with yooouuu”. ๐Ÿ˜†

    March 24th, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Seawalker: ๐Ÿ˜†

    March 24th, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Good morning MLCers โ— Happy Saturday โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great day โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    March 25th, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Good morning MLCers โ— Happy Sunday โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    A cool, breezy, beautiful sunny day โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

    Have a great day everyone โ— ๐Ÿ˜€

  67. ankleBYTERS
    March 25th, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Here’s a few more:
    “hashish”, “buddha stick”, “super”, “Acapucco Gold”

  68. sally
    March 25th, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Whenever I see pics of people like these, I wonder what they look like now and what they’re doing. I know some that are pretty important people in our community LOL just hoping pics like these don’t get shared HAHAHA!

  69. Brian S.
    April 10th, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Wow, Oh I remember Day 2 of 76. Cheech & Chong was my favorite of the day. Wish I could find Pam & Wendy they made the day special for me. Last seen them the next summer in SFO. I was 15 and on the road to ruin. The best of times.

  70. Wayne
    June 19th, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    My first Crater Festival was actually the first one ever in 1970. I was a young marine stationed at Kaneohe MCAS. The next year I was living off base at a house we rented in Kailua. The memory of Santana playing Samba Pa Ti while the sun was going down over the crater wall was awesome. Also went to the Festivals in 72 and 73 but as a civilian long haired hippy freak!! (Now I am referred to as “Corporate Scum” by my adult children)….

    It was a great time with some great music and four finger “lids” I just remember paying a few dollars maybe 5 but that’s all to the first festivals. I can close my eyes and still see stages and bands playing with the pungent smell of grass in the air. Damn but I miss those days!!

  71. Todd Baur
    January 11th, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    We lived with a bunch of great folks on the beach at Hanauma Bay and called ourselves the Hanauma bay freaks. We dropped acid in the middle of the night and walked to the crater and snuck into the venue, sleeping on top of a truck trailer so nobody would see us. Saw Santana play and i’ll never forget it. A transcendental experience. Rock n roll nirvana!

  72. Jadd
    February 2nd, 2016 at 11:45 pm #

    The Turtles & Fleetwood Mac were 2 of the bands playing the year that we went.Maybe ’75 or ’76? Being an avid concert goer since early 60’s in CA, you can guess how excited I was to hear about The Crater. (had only lived there for 6 mos.). Of course don’t remember much, looking at guys, very hot & very stoned! Reason I remember the 2 bands- was showing friend around Waikiki-a table of guys asked if they could buy us a drink. What would you do? Anyway, hours later, many drinks under the banyon trees, they introduced themselves. (shoot, out of room, cont’d)

  73. Jadd
    February 2nd, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    Then the Canoe Club joined us. And still, we were the only girls. Yep, it was just like heaven. But, had to leave, be responsible and go to work ( Bobbie McGees, remember it?) What a bummer!! I was ‘bussing it’ then, ended up late to work (buss’s fault) & was fired right then! Last time I was responsible!!! lol. I missed out partying all night with those guys!

  74. Rodney
    February 3rd, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    Thanks for sharing your memories – or what’s left of our memories. LOL!

    @Jadd – I remember Bobbie McGee! What costume did you dress up as? lol

  75. Daniel Casey
    February 20th, 2016 at 3:24 am #

    July 4th 1974 It was called the Crater Celebration. Fleetwood Mack, Canned Heat,The Turtles.I still Have the Event Poster in my collection.
    I worked for Mad Music Store in Honolulu under my high school pal Chris who repaired music equipment.We helped the bands on each end of the crater tear down an set up for next band to play.It was a busy weekend.

  76. Neil
    March 13th, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

    I worked security at the first one in 1970. Steve Miller band was the headliner. They came in by helicopter. Linda Ronstadt had left the Stone Ponies and sang as a single. She killed it. Two stages, two bands playing all day. It was an amazing day.

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