A Blue Note at Fleetwood’s on Front Street
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Fleetwood’s on Front Street wasn’t only playing the blues on Saturday, April 2. It was becoming blue for the night.
“This building just turned 100 years old in Lahaina; it’s a major monument. What we wanted do is light it up blue,” explains Eric Waddell, general manager at Fleetwood’s, which joined more than 11,000 landmarks, buildings and homes around the globe to mark World Autism Awareness Day with a “Light It Up Blue” campaign on April 2.
It wasn’t just the outside of the building. There were blue lights in the dining room and on the rooftop patio. There was a special blue menu with blue cocktails and a blueberry dessert. The staff was wearing blue, and many customers did the same.
“As far as I know, we’re the only building in Maui that’s lit up blue,” says Waddell, who arranged the event to benefit the local Easter Seals and support autism awareness here and around the world. “There are so many children out there affected by this and so many families, and it’s difficult; it puts a lot of strain on a family. People like Easter Seals Maui, they’re the ones giving those families the support that they need.”
Easter Seals Hawai‘i will also receive 100% of the net proceeds from April sales of custom blue t-shirts, thanks to Fleetwood’s local community campaign, #MickGivesBack, which helps raise funds for a different Maui charity or cause each month.
The staff of more than 100 people competed to raise the most donations, and Fleetwood’s kept them motivated to keep collecting.
“We told the staff, ‘Whoever gets the most donations from all their customers, Fleetwood’s on Front Street will match the total number of donations,’ so if they get $1,000 in donations, we’ll match that $1,000 in donations,” Waddell explains.
Kona Storm provided the blues music up on the rooftop, but Waddell tells me Fleetwood’s is unveiling a special, underground venue for musicians. Called Club Keller, it honors a musical memory from owner Mick Fleetwood’s childhood.
“Mick, when he was nine years old, he used to invite his friends down from school,” says Waddell, “he used to charge his friends a nickel to come down and he’d actually play on his drums for all his buddies, and it was kinda like their little club.”
With a tight budget and just nine days to renovate, staff transformed the basement space, which housed the former Paradise Blues, into Club Keller, a new, comfortable home for live music.
“We want this to be the West side location for very small, intimate music venues,” Waddell explains. “This is what Lahaina was: a great place for entertainment, a great place for dining, and that’s what we’re trying to help bring back and revive.”
Club Keller will welcome Willie K and others on Tuesday, April 12. The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band is currently touring in Australia and New Zealand; it will take to the new stage on Tuesday, April 19 and Thursday, April 21. See more details here on the lineup here.
Along with notable musicians, Waddell says fans are sure to enjoy the new, intimate setting for shows.
“I think Lahaina’s going to really appreciate it, and the West side, and I hope all of Maui,” says Waddell. “Because that’s what we want to do, is give Maui another place where that music can really live on.”
Whether it’s the live music, top-quality food or ongoing community spirit that draws you to Fleetwood’s, Waddell says he hopes the positive vibe among employees radiates out to embrace customers as well.
“We’re an ‘ohana, and we’ve got to really do everything we can to make sure that these customers feel the way we do when we’re in this building,” says Waddell. ”That is, have a ton of memories, and want to come back and enjoy us.”