Uke Events: December 2018, January, February, and March 2019

Compiled by Audrey Coleman

Submission Information

To be included, email event name, date(s), and contact information to Listings are free for ukulele events, though we may not have space to include every submission. Deadlines for the next four issues are:

  • Spring 2019       November 5, 2018
  • Summer 2019   February 4, 2019
  • Fall 2019             May 6, 2019
  • Winter 2019      August 5, 2019


December 2, 2018 | Prospect, Adelaide, South Australia
What better way for ukers to celebrate the arrival of summer—in Australia—than with a picnic? This picnic, however, has an ulterior motive, an altruistic one. In the course of this glorious day of strumming, ukulele groups will generate needed support for St. John Ambulance of South Australia (SA). Donations will help bring public access defibrillators into SA communities. Picnic News Item: The event’s top brass has decided to rename it UKELAIDE. Following its official introduction in December, the new name should enter common usage in time at the 2019 picnic. For more information, search “Great Adelaide Ukulele Picnic.”

December 9, 2018 | Santa Monica, California
McCabe’s will celebrate the ukulele with a 12-hour marathon event, starting with a children’s show in the morning, offering workshops all day, and ending with an all-star concert featuring: Del Rey, Daniel Ward, Abe Lagrimas Jr., Jason Arimoto, King Kukulele, Heidi Swedberg, Miss Pickles and The Pants, and the HUG Ukulele group, which was featured in Spring issue.

December 14, 2018 | Point Richmond, California
Join the Ukulele team as we celebrate the holiday season with a strum along! Meet with us at Kaleidoscope Coffee in the quaint neighborhood of Point Richmond, also home to Ukulele headquarters, to sing, play, and ring in the season. Bring yourself, a friend, and a uke (or two!). 

January 18–20, 2019 | Leppävirta, Finland
Surrounded by the Nordic scenery of eastern Finland in January, visitors might wonder at the use of the word tropical for this event held when it’s perhaps -20 degree C outside. Clearly, the organizers had in mind the steamy spa waters hovering around 30 degrees C (80 degrees F) at the festival venue, the Spa Hotel Vesileppis. Performances on the hotel’s six stages will feature popular Finnish soloists and bands as well as musicians from afar, among them the Italian group Ukes in Fabula, the Changsoo Kim & Bambell Quartet from South Korea, G.J. Lee from Taiwan, the UK’s League of Ukulele Gentleman, and Canadian Cynthia Kinnunen. For workshop specifics and other updates, consult the website, which succinctly sums up the event as “concerts, workshops, and happy strumming under one roof.” It also offers travel guidance: Fly to Helsinki, take a connecting flight to Kuopio, and then contact festival volunteers who will “help you to travel from Kuopio to Leppävirta.” 

January 25–27, 2019 | Nashville, Indiana
This feisty fest offers jams, open mics, concerts, and workshops, plus exhibits courtesy of sponsor Mainland Ukes. The 2019 roster of performers, instructors, and instructor-performers shows a variety of talented musicians. Narciso “Seeso” Lobo will serve up spicy pop, R&B, and hip-hop rhythms accompanied by Tim Clark, Heidi Kline, Greg Golden, and Chris DeGirolamo. Narciso also will join the Brown County Family Band for several numbers. Instructor-performer Stuart Fuchs, also on the concert program, will teach reggae and calypso for ukulele. Bandleader-guitarist-uker Devin Scott will teach two-finger picking. Ukester Brown (aka David Remiger) will interpret ukulele classics in the concert and during a post-workshop break. Bermudian Mike Hind will entertain the concert audience with his irreverent humor and multi-genre selection of songs. Petey Mack aka Pete McCarty, known for bedazzling novice players, will lead a beginner workshop/sing-along. For a refreshing change of instrument, ukers can attend a percussion workshop with Lee Kram of the Fleabitten Dawgs band. For R and R, Heidi Kline will lead morning yoga. The Brown County Inn is the official venue, and although the hotel is booked and has a waiting list, nearby hotels are available.


February 1–4, 2019 | Lauder, Omakau,  Central Otego,  New Zealand
Back for the fifth time, this four-day ukulele whirlwind promises rousing pub-based jams and open mics, numerous workshops, and concerts that last as long as Wagnerian operas. Workshops are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday mornings and (roughly) five-hour concerts for both afternoons. After Saturday’s dinner comes the Big Sing. Open-mic sessions will take place at the Lauder Pub Beer Garden on Saturday and Sunday nights. Back at the Beer Garden Monday morning, attendees will gather for the traditional Recovery Jam, featuring (optional) Bloody Marys. For information on instructors and performers, check the festival website.

February 8–10, 2019 | Katoomba, New South Wales, Australia
Happening annually since 2010, the Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival is Australia’s oldest and largest ukulele festival. According to its founder, the Blue Mountains Ukulele Group (Blue Mugs), it’s also the largest in the world (something difficult to fact-check). As ever, activities are free to the public. Workshops take place at the Blue Mountains Cultural Center, open mic sessions happen at the Paragon Café and performances go on at the Carrington Hotel. Over 30 soloists and groups will strut their strumming and picking. Many of their stage names bear repeating, but here are just a few: Gerry with a Pacemaker, Foggy Foggy Duo, Loud in the Library, Nell’s Belles, and the Mother Pluckers. For updated information, consult the event’s Facebook page or

February 14–23, 2019| Round-trip from Port Canaveral, Florida
Stu Fuchs and Lil’ Rev take to the seas again, this time on Captain Sandy’s trusty Carnival Sunshine. The vessel will dock at Aruba, Curaçao, and Grand Turk, offering colorful tour opportunities. On board the Sunshine, ukers will hone their playing skills in six workshops. Lil’ Rev, acclaimed American roots music master, will lead sessions titled “Finger-Picking Basics,” “Intros, Endings, Turnarounds & Vamps,” and “the Muted Ukulele.” Stu, a multi-genre performer, will offer workshops on ukulele Zen and on playing reggae/calypso and Chuck Berry on the uke. Poolside jam sessions and performances by the two instructor-virtuosos will add magic to this smooth sail.

March 20–30, 2019 | Round-trip from San Francisco
Once again Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel go cruisin’ with ukers. The agenda is ten days of touring, learning, and glorious lazing. Sailing from San Francisco, the Grand Princess will hug the coastline, anchoring in Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. Craig and Sarah not only are acclaimed ukulele players but also popular instructors known for teaching well-structured, engaging workshops. Two guest musicians on the cruise will complement their talents. Milo Fultz has explored a host of genres, among them jazz, funk, and soul. He intends to focus on the ukulele bass and inspire ukers to join him in exuberant jamming sessions. Kalei Gamiao has four popular albums to his credit and performs throughout Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, and Asia. No doubt, participants will visit fascinating ports of call and immerse themselves in ukulele instruction. But hopefully they won’t forget to immerse themselves in the ship’s tantalizing pool or experience sheer tranquility in a no-children-permitted haven known as The Sanctuary.


March 22–24, 2019 | Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nestled between mountains and sea, this jewel of a city hosts it’s tenth ukulele festival, thanks to founder and artistic director Daphne Roubini. Her store and school, Ruby’s Ukes, was the starting point for an event that offers a more ambitious program every year. Faculty members confirmed to date are roots-music master Lil’ Rev, sparkling old-timey tunes interpreter Del Rey, cultural bridge-builder Daniel Ho, swinging virtuoso Casey MacGill, ukulele Zen teacher Stuart Fuchs, singer-songwriter-uker Victoria Vox, “El Ukulele” Daniel Ward, and multi-talented champion of the uke Heidi Swedberg. These luminaries will perform at the festival’s Friday evening opening concert. Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. are devoted to workshops. At registration, participants select eight from a total of 36 offered. On the lighter side, the schedule has room for lunchtime open mics, raucous jams, and mass sing-alongs.

March 25–29, 2019 | Corbett, Oregon
The goal of this retreat is to help ukulele players expand their technical proficiency and general musicianship through the experience of playing in a band. Workshops taught at beginner, advanced-beginner, intermediate, and intermediate/advanced levels, and deal with topics such as singing, improvising, claw-hammer technique, and accordion. On the 2019 faculty: Two-time Grammy winning vocalists-multi-instrumentalists Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, interpreters of Americana Aaron Keim and Nicole Keim, double-bass master Matt Weiner,  guitarist-songwriter Tracy Kim, and multi-genre accordionist-composer Nova Devonie. The program for the four nights and three days is designed to balance intense learning with equally intense musical merrymaking.