COMPILED BY AUDREY COLEMAN
Listings are free for ukulele events, though we may not have space to include every submission. Deadlines for the next four issues are:
- Fall 2018 issue May 14, 2018
- Winter 2018 August 1, 2018
- Spring 2019 October 1, 2018
- Summer 2019 February 1, 2019
To be included, email event name, date(s), and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 1–3, 2018 | Centreville, Maryland
Multi-instrumentalists will have a field day choosing from workshops at this event on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. In addition to ukulele instruction, the program includes classes in banjo, minstrel banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and mountain dulcimer. Ukulele instructor Jared Denhard, a faculty member at Stevenson University and founder-director of the Baltimore Ukulele Symphonette, will lead sessions on strumming techniques, fingerpicking patterns, interpreting classic ukulele pieces, and performing in various musical environments. He plans to incorporate topics of special interest to participants. Instrumentalists will be able to jam together and play in level-friendly ensembles. The Retreat focuses on providing a supportive learning environment that helps players achieve their goals. The organizers consider this priority incompatible with formal concerts, which therefore are not on the program. At the event site, Riverview Retreat Center, attendees can enjoy hotel-style accommodations, chef-prepared meals, and outdoor spaces conducive to quiet breaks.
June 6–10, 2018 | Napa, California
In the winery-studded Napa Valley, alongside Lake Berryessa, camp participants will attend daily ukulele workshops taught by “Ukulele Ambassadors of Fun” Rhan Wilson and Rick Zeek, Dave Egan, a super-popular performer-instructor at uke events, and festival organizer extraordinaire Elaine de Man. For recreation, the program includes naturalist-led hikes, crafts, skits, water follies, and a chili cook-off. Attendees stay in on-site tent-cabins, unless they have brought motor homes. Consult the website for updated information.
June 15–17, 2018 | Forest of Dean/Coleford, UK
With its rolling hills, mill ponds, and orchards, the Forest of Dean is the setting for this ukulele idyll. A three-hour drive northwest from London, the popular vacation area is dotted with hotels and bed-and-breakfasts from which attendees will select their accommodations in advance. The tutors (UK lingo) include master of vintage blues, hokum, old-time, and jugband music Phil Doleman; Samantha Muir, creator of fantastic arrangements of classical and campanella-style pieces for ukulele; Peter Moss, master of ukulele, banjolele, and vocals; and Steven Sproat, a singer-songwriter, uker, and guitarist. The rotating workshop format will allow attendees to work with each tutor on a different aspect of ukulele playing. In the concert scheduled for the final evening, students perform pieces they learned in the workshops. Crave an English touch? The event site boasts several tearooms.
June 30–July 2, 2018 | Bend, Oregon
This ukulele-learning banquet will serve up 50 workshops organized into sequential strands to address many skill levels and interests. A Ukes for Youth component will offer classes tailored for participants ages 8–15. Classes in hula and harmonica will give students a break from uke. Illustrious performer-instructors Andy Andrews, Craig Chee, Neal Chin, Cathy Fink, Arden Fujiwara, Lil’ Rev, Casey MacGill, Sarah Maisel, Marcie Marxer, Andrew Molina, Gerald Ross, and Victoria Vox not only guide the uker learning experience but will also display their talents in evening and lunch-time concerts. Additional musical stimulation will come from the open-mic sessions held each afternoon. A full list of workshop titles should be available on the website by press time.
July 15, 2018 | Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
For the 48th time, ukulele luminaries will bedazzle the crowd gathered in front of the band stand at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. Superstar Jake Shimabukuro, the legendary Ohta San, Nick Acosta, acclaimed vocalist Raiatea Helm, and popular Beatles tribute band Beat-lele are on the concert program. Visitors inspired to try playing ukulele can sign up for a free lesson at a booth on the park grounds. Those in town on the Wednesday before the big concert should take in “The Wildest Show in Town” at the Honolulu Zoo, just across the street from Kapiolani Park. This evening concert will feature several of the groups scheduled to play on the bandstand the following Sunday.
July 19–22, 2018 | Geraldine, New Zealand
Located on New Zealand’s South Island, Geraldine boasts several locations used for filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its prequel, The Hobbit. The four-day event offers 16 workshops. Aaron Keim will lead sessions in fingerstyle, clawhammer and strumming. Nicole Keim will teach singing and old-style folk songs. Additional classes include the art of busking, song-writing, arranging ukulele pieces for groups, slide ukulele, and how to play the spoons. The Opening Night Invitational presents eight ukulele acts handpicked from around the country. The Big Concert will spotlight Aaron and Nicole performing ballads, gospel duets, banjo breakdowns, and other gems of the modern folk. Their opening act will feature one-man uke band Shane McAlister and the feisty all-woman trio The Flukes. Also scheduled are the Gospel Jam at the local pub, the Big Strum, and open-mic sessions. Before or after the festival, attendees might want to visit South Island wonder Earnslaw Burn, a glacier where cascading waterfalls tumble down a huge rock face. This is where Hobbit characters Bilbo and his companions continued their quest after departing Rivendell.
July 27–29, 2018 | Kutná Hora and Únetice, Czech Republic
This year the festival is subtitled “The Women’s Edition.” Why? Although the organizers call their event “the most inclusive… festival of its kind in Europe, … presenting performers and ideas from as many parts of the world as possible and representing a wide range of age and social groups,” certain critics have demanded greater female representation. Accordingly, the program includes female performers such as the lightning-fingered Hawaiian duo Honoka and Azita, British cabaret-style strummer-singer Tricity Vogue, and British-American singer-songwriter-multi instrumentalist Nellie McKay. They will perform alongside the stylish Liverpool ukulele duo, the Mersey Belles, and the French swing-cabaret trio, Les Poupées Gonflees. Also on the program are males, including vaudeville-style uker Andy Eastwood, multi-genre master Gerald Ross, the uncommon League of Ukulele Gentleman, and multi-instrumental tough guys, the Ukulele Troublemakers. The listening, learning, and occasional laughter begins Friday with a series of concerts in the park beside the Saint Barbara Cathedral in the Kutná Hora. On Saturday and Sunday, the event moves to the village of Únetice for more concerts and workshops, ranging from classes for children and beginners to sessions in advanced techniques.
July 28, 2018 | Portland, Maine
As the organizers declare, “What could be better in July—ukuleles and cool sea breezes!” The headliners are Liz and Jim Beloff, performers of beautifully harmonized standards and Jim’s original songs. In fact, a festival highlight will be a special performance of Jim’s ukulele concerto, Uke Can’t Be Serious, accompanied by a string quartet. It’s a full day of workshops, concerts, and fellowship. More information should be available on the website at press time.
August 11–15, 2018 | Strathmore, Maryland
This intensive five-day learning experience, held at the Strathmore mansion in Bethesda, Maryland, will help players build their uke skills in eight hours of workshops. This tenth-anniversary Strathmore ukulele festival will feature artistic directors Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer and instruction with Craig Chee, Ginger Johnson, Sarah Maisel, Gerald Ross, and Frank Youngman. In addition to instruction at novice, beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, the program has scheduled genre-based ensemble work for every afternoon.
August 24–26, 2018 | Whippany and Morristown, New Jersey
Concerts are scheduled for Friday and Saturday nights and workshops will take place all day Saturday in Whippany, New Jersey, located about 25 miles northwest of New York City. On Sunday, attendees will be able to enjoy an outdoor jam in nearby Morristown. The list of instructor-performers and other key information should be available on the website by press time.
August 24–September 3, 2018 | San Francisco, California (Embark/Disembark Location)
The folks who have signed up will strum and sail their way to Alaska on a luxury cruise hosted by Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel. The couple’s combined teaching experience and performance chemistry will engage uke vacationers with workshops, jams, a mini-concert, and special events. Two guest performer-instructors will add their talents to the mix. Milo Fultz’s performance background encompasses ukulele bands, jazz and classical ensembles, and groups that play blues, rock, funk, and soul. Neal Chin has performed with ukulele giants such as jazzman Benny Chong, and teaches at the Ukulele Hale ukulele school in Honolulu. Onboard musical activities will leave ample time for gazing at Alaska’s breathtaking vistas. Although the cruise is fully booked, there’s a waiting list!
September 22, 2018 | Torrance, California
Once again, the venue is the Torrance Cultural Arts Center with its spacious, learner-friendly meeting rooms, two outdoor plazas, and lovely Pine Wind Japanese garden. The line-up of performer-instructors includes down-home folk duo Aaron and Nicole Keim, Hawaiian virtuoso Taimane Gardner, blues and jazz master Abe Lagrimas Jr., esteemed Bay Area uker Lenny “Ukulenny” San Jose, YouTube’s “The Ukulele Teacher” a.k.a. John Atkins, singer-songwriter Cynthia Lin, who teaches uke live and via YouTube, and Marlowe. Their workshops will not conflict with stage performances. In order to accommodate as many participants as possible, some workshops will be repeated. More strum-alongs are on the program this year, too. Check the website for additional information.
September 21–23 2018 | Westwind, Oregon
Upon arrival Friday afternoon, participants will dive right into this rustic musical adventure with a uke jam beside the Salmon River, followed by a shallow slosh across the river. After that, a rousing singalong and genre-based jam sessions are on the schedule. A Friday evening concert will showcase the talents of the instructor-performers including Andy Andrews, Craig Chee, Steven Espaniola, Milo Fultz, Kalei Gamiao, Bryan Holley, Sarah Maisel, Debi Noel, Kerri Sage, Heidi Swedberg, Bryan Tolentino, and Daniel Ward. Classes will take place Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Also on the agenda are more jams and singalongs, a hike, beach walk, and campfire.
September 29, 2018 | Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Headliners Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee, joined by Milo Fultz on bass, will bring a West Coast ukulele vibe to this artsy Canadian town about an hour west of Toronto. Among their fellow instructors are musician, educator, festival-organizer Ben Hassenger and music educator and multi-instrumentalist Cynthia Kinnunen. The day will be filled with, in the words of the organizers, “dynamic workshops and big rockin’ group strums,” wrapping up with a concert featuring Sarah and Craig.
September 30, 2018 | Kahului, Maui, Hawaii
A partner to the huge ukulele festival held in Honolulu in July, the Maui Ukulele Festival, held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului, is now in its 13th year. Expect some of the islands’ biggest ukulele players to perform. Visit the website for the latest list of scheduled performers and events.