From the Fall 2016 issue of Ukulele magazine | Complied by AUDREY COLEMAN
*pictured above (clockwise): Walt Keale, Ukuleles at Sea’s Zodiac, Hawaiian Uke Retreat, Fulare Pad, Fred & Lynn Sokolow, Tunes in the Dunes, and the Utah Ukulele Festival
Camp Oo Koo Lay Lay
August 3–7 Calistoga, California
From the people who brought you the Wine Country Ukulele Retreat in nearby Napa comes an opportunity to rough-it in style at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. Pitch a tent and get ready for amazing campfire jams with up to 35 other participants, and instructors Fred Sokolow, Rhan Wilson, and Rick Zeek. If you’re not feeling up to the rustic accommodations, you can still register to attend as a day camper and stay at a nearby spa.
Utah Ukulele Festival
August 6 Logan, Utah
In Utah’s Cache Valley, surrounded by the Northern Wasatch mountains, ukers will gather at Willow Park for a day of learning and celebration from 10am to 9pm. Musician and educator Daniel Ho will teach an advanced ukulele class, and advanced players of the UUF club will coach beginners. The event will feature an auction of five ukuleles, plus a late-afternoon open mic competition with categories for players 13 and under as well as 14 and over, with prizes provided by KSM Music. Topping off the day is a concert by Daniel Ho.
Auburn Gold Pan Ukulele Festival
August 12–13 Auburn, California
Northern California’s Gold Country is the setting. The Friday evening concert at the State Theater features favorites Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel, and Dani Joy & the Boys, with hula performances by Halau Hula O Moana. The next day, Canyon View Community Center is the site for roughly a dozen workshops (with lunch included in registration cost) and exhibitors. Workshops were still being sorted at press time.
Strathmore’s Uke & Guitar Summit
August 13–17 Strathmore, Maryland
There’s a track for every level of player at Strathmore’s Uke & Guitar Summit, located on a lush 16-acre campus just north of the Washington, DC beltway on Rockville Pike. In addition to workshops from pros including James Hill, Del Rey, Marcy Marxer, and Lil’ Rev, there will be performances each evening culminating in a final outdoor concert.
Ukuleles at Sea
August 29–31 Bellingham, Washington
In case you needed further proof that uke cruises are taking off, Ukuleles at Sea is another option to add to the ever-growing list. Led by Dean Vivirito, former co-director of the Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere, the cruise takes place on the 160-foot schooner Zodiac and sails through the gorgeous San Juan Islands. In addition to practicing ukulele, other activities include kayaking, offshore hiking, and sunset cocktail hours.
Alabama Uke Fest
September 10 Lake Guntersville, Alabama
This outdoor uke fest takes place at Riverview campground in northeast Alabama, so participants should plan on bringing food, water, and rain protection, along with their instruments. The daylong event kicks off with a meet-and-greet, followed by lessons, jamming, group play-alongs in the round, an open mic, and a performance by the Ukulele Band of Alabama.
Tunes in the Dunes VI
September 16–18 Lincoln City, Oregon
Ukulele impresario Melany Berry pulled a powerhouse roster together for this sixth annual event, held on an island in Oregon’s Salmon River. The roster includes instruction from three couples: Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, and Aaron and Nicole Keim, plus Walt Keale, Bill Griffin, Andy Andrews, and Bryan Holley. The party kicks off Friday night with jamming, sing-alongs, and a concert by instructors. Saturday features morning workshops, afternoon hiking, plus singing, more jamming, and partying topped off with a campfire. Sunday squeezes in one more workshop and sing-along.
Dock Street Uke Camp
September 16–18 Shelburne, Nova Scotia, Canada
Held in conjunction with Shelburne’s popular Whirligig and Weathervane Festival, this intensive weekend in eastern Canada promises six workshops, two strum sessions, an open mic, and a concert performance, plus a custom workbook and t-shirt. The trio of instructors, including Eve Goldberg, Nigel D’Eon, and Manitoba Hal, are on hand to inspire creative energy with their experience.
Blackwater Ukulele and Dulcimer Festival
September 18 Cypress Gardens, South Carolina
For the sixth Blackwater Ukulele Festival, the organizers are adding mountain dulcimers to the event. Regular park admission to Cypress Gardens gives visitors full admission to festival events, which include a morning of “mix, mingle, and jam” activities, music workshops, and a concert featuring the Charleston Hotshots, the V-Tones, Nathan Miller, and other performers to be confirmed. This event is also a fundraiser for Music Speaks, a group that seeks to raise awareness and expand resources for people with autism.
September 23–25 Albuquerque, New Mexico
Each year, the Ukekopelli festival picks a new theme, and this year’s choice is “island music from around the world.” Beyond the Hawaiian Islands, you can expect music from Japan, England, Ireland, Manhattan, and the Caribbean. Frank Leto will teach Caribbean styles for the ukulele, with other workshops focusing on skill building and various genres, not necessarily island-related. Daniel Ward will teach several strumming styles, with a focus on the Latin montuno rhythms; Heidi Swedberg’s class will explore the qualities of different-sized ukes, while Gerald Ross will share the secrets of chord shapes.
Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival
September 24 Torrance, California
Held at the beautifully landscaped and well-equipped Torrance Cultural Arts Center in the L.A. area, the Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival features an impressive instructor-performer roster: James Hill, Victoria Vox, Abe Lagrimas Jr., Sarah Maisel, Craig Chee, Jim D’Ville, Jeff Linsky, Cali Rose, Andrew Molina, “Ukulele Bartt” Warburton, festival founder Mitch Chang, and Japanese uke and guitar duo Fulare Pad. Outdoor performances and indoor workshops run throughout the day.
Hawaii Island Ukulele Retreat
October 9–15 Hawi, Big Island, Hawaii
If you’ve ever longed to explore the contrasting sumptuous landscapes of Hawaii’s Big Island and also wanted an intensive ukulele learning experience, look into this retreat held in Hawi, minutes from the birthplace of King Kamehameha in the northern district of Kohala on the island of Hawaii. The event is still being planned, so check the website for specifics.
West Sound Ukulele Festival
October 22 Bremerton, Washington
Enhance your skills and mingle with fellow ukers for a full day in downtown Bremerton, a few miles southeast of Seattle. Workshops at various levels will take place in beautiful Kitsap Conference Center, along with vendor booths (list to be published in July). The festival concludes with a concert at the nearby Admiral Theatre featuring multi-award-winner Brittni Paiva, virtuoso Del Rey, and duo Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel.
Learn more about uke cruises in this feature from our Winter 2015 issue: