The big event of the 2022 SPRUKE festival is SPRUKE in the Square – that being King George Square, in the heart of Brisbane.
If you haven’t been to King George Square for a while (and a lot of people haven’t with COVID restrictions), it’s between Ann and Adelaide Streets in front of the Brisbane City Hall. Opposite City Hall is the Pig ‘N’ Whistle pub and just inside City Hall is the Shingle Inn (a stylish café).
On Saturday 11th June it will look totally different because Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society (BUMS Inc) will take it over for a day of fun, fun and more fun with our ukuleles.
Our aim is to provide something for everyone, be they experienced uke players, beginners, people who just like the uke or people who want to find what it’s all about. How can such a little instrument generate such fun?
There will be four stages, beginner’s sessions and a ukulele market.

Main performance area
This will be right in front of City Hall. It will have two stages – the Morris Brother’s Stage at the Ann Street end will be used by our big community bands and for the evening event, Ukulele Under the Stars (UUTS).
The Binary Music stage will be at the Adelaide Street end. As a performance is happening on one stage, the other stage will be setting up so there will be minimal delays between acts. We’ll start at 9.00am and finish at 9.00pm – twelve hours of ukulele sounds mostly from bands based in SE Queensland.
There will be chairs laid out between the two stages and some shade cover under gazebos. In the afternoon, King George Square is in the shade of city buildings.
There will be a mammoth LED screen next to the Morris Brother’s stage. It will be used for the big jam in the evening – Ukulele Under the Stars. During the day will be used for public announcements, videos, sponsors messages, and telling you what’s on next.

Themed jams
Over the Pig ‘N’ Whistle pub is a ramp that leads to a space called the Deck. It is a perfect place to run jams. There will be seven 30-minute jams running on the hour from 10.00am to 4.00pm. They will run like the normal BUMS jams with a jam leader presenting 7-8 songs which will be displayed on a screen. Each jam will have a theme –like 60s rock and roll, Beatles, Seekers, or something like that. The promotional material will explain if the songs are easy or more challenging so you can choose which one(s) suit you.

Open mic
Speaker’s Corner is between the Pig ‘N’ Whistle and Adelaide Street. It is a place where any orator can hector the crowds with their opinion on any subject. From 9.00am on Saturday 11th June it will be taken over by BUMS Inc as an open mic place. Just turn up and see the MC if you want to strut your stuff or put your name on the white board to book a time.

Beginner’s sessions
On the ramp running up to the Deck we will have a tent for beginners to try their hand at learning a few chords and playing a song or two. We will have ukuleles for you to try. Sessions will run on the half hour, starting from 10.30am to 3.30pm. We’re not going to make you a star in half an hour but do enough to show the magic of the ukulele.

Ukulele market
No festival would be complete without the chance to buy a ukulele (or another ukulele) and other musical items. The market will be housed in the treed area at the Ann Street end of the square.

Amenities
In case you were wondering, there are well furnished toilets just inside the front door of City Hall and a public toilet behind the Pig ‘N’ Whistle.
Bring a water bottle to keep hydrated. There is a place to replenish your water at the Ann Street end of the square.
The Pig ‘N’ Whistle will be open for drinks and special deal meals from 11.00am. They will also provide coffee and tea for a gold coin. The Shingle Inn just inside City Hall will offer special deals on meals from 9.00am to 3.00pm.
Obviously being in the centre of the city means there are other shops and eating and drinking places close by.
We will set up a cloakroom tent, so you have somewhere to safely leave your gear.
There will be two security guards patrolling the square to ensure everyone is safe and unwanted bystanders or skate boarders are encouraged to move on.

Ukulele Under the Stars (UUTS)
At about 4.30pm, the outer stages will start shutting down in preparation for the finale of SPRUKE on the Square. There will be performances by some of our top bands and ukulele stars from SE Queensland.
The main event will be a jam with the words and chords displayed on the giant LED screen. As well as a range of simple and challenging songs to play, there will be a segment like a ‘pub choir’. The leader will coach you to sing the parts of a song and play along at the same time. It’s a first – and promises to be fun.

This is a free event for BUMS members, anyone who plays ukulele, anyone who’d like to play ukulele and the general public. Our aim is to bring people back to the city for a day of fun and ukulele.

The Central Coast Ukulele Festival has been postponed to 13, 14 and 15th May 2022 

Liz Kitney from the Central Coast Ukulele Club advised of the decision “after much discussion and deliberation” and quipping “third time lucky!”

Anybody planning events in these challenging times can relate to how disappointing it is (we’ve been there), and know how much fortitude is required to pick up the planning again, refocus and keep going to deliver a great event.

The announcement continues…

Having a May date we are certain we will be vaccinated, booster and have gotten through what has been a hell of a 2 years.

Having a May date is great as it is not in school holidays or Easter and Anzac Day and we are certain we will be vaccinated, boosted, and have gotten through what has been a hell of a time in the past two years.

Having a May date we are certain we will be vaccinated, booster and have gotten through what has been a hell of a 2 years.

We need live music and therefor we are determined for this to go ahead.

We are deeply saddened that during this unprecedented uncertainty, this decision was not easy, and is not just necessary and the right step, it is the only step. We have thought hard and long about the current situation and the ease this current virus is spreading, keeping in mind that it’s paramount we keep your safety, first,

On a personal and creative note, I want to apologise for all the work and time you have already put in and we sincerely hope you will be available to share your wonderful talents for the new date.

You are all essential to the success of this amazing ukulele festival.

We have a fabulous festival organised for you.

Jam sessions, walk ups, blackboard event, workshops, poet’s ukulele breakfast with bush poets and award-winning chef, luthiers, merchandise tables, fabulous entertainment from the best ukulele groups and brilliant headlining acts, all on the beautiful shores of Lake Macquarie at Wangi Wangi RSL.

We are sure we will be able to dance and sing to our hearts content!

Wangi Wangi in May is beautiful, the weather will be beautiful.

If you have accommodation booked, I am sure you will be able to get a refund or transfer your stay until May.

I have also been aware that many of you have been restricted to rehearse and practice due to current rules, covid and school holiday. This will give you a little more time to prepare.

The Lake Mac Ferry is also now operational so if you plan to stay around the lake, the ferry stops outside the back door to Wangi Wangi RSL how handy is that!

For information on timetables please visit lakemacferry.com.au or call 1300 513 632

We will not give up and this stands firm.

We are keen to get this going and it’s frustrating but we will not give up. Keeping music live in our community has always been our priority.

Thank you for your support and understanding.

Way to go Liz and the CCUF team. You’ve got a great festival planned and the BUMS wish you all the best for May.


FOR MORE INFOMATION CONTACT

Central Coast Ukulele Club via or 0412837008

Great to be back to live music and all the fun of a festival. SCUF was held at the Borumba Deer Park near Imbil (35kms south of Gympie and outside of the Greater Brisbane Area where COVID lurked). It cost $20 a day with a small fee for parking. There were plenty of BUMS there!

The site

The Deer Park provided powered and unpowered camping and caravan sites as well as cabins. The SCUF organisers also provided glam-tents set up just for the festival. The facilities were first rate and staff were friendly and mostly invisible (allowing latitude to late-night revellers). It was kid and pet friendly with lots of activities to suit all ages of camper.

The festival ran from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 October under beautiful blue sunny skies. The Deer Park kiosk, a coffee van and pizza and fish and chips vans provided sustenance. It was BYO beer and wine.

The players

Uke players came from far and wide – Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane – mostly from Queensland, of course.

Cody Brule, Sylvia Hunt, Cath McCourt and Adrian chill out

Activities

There were three activity areas.

  • The Big Tent which housed workshops, a daily Big Jam and concerts as well as a ukulele market.
  • An undercover camp kitchen area called ‘The Stockyard’ which housed workshops and open mics.
  • A smaller tent in ‘Sherwood Forest’ run by BUMS members which held jams, concerts, and open mics.

BUMS at SCUF

Mick Angeles (aka Friar Tuck), Marg Moynahan (aka Maid Marion) and Adrian Board (aka Little John) held court over Sherwood Forest ably assisted by many BUMS members.

Mick in action

Marg enjoying the music

Adrian rocks it

The program focussed on getting us playing – jams, open mics and workshops – in preference to lots of performances. BUMS members gathered in throes with their caravans in a circle around open pit fires. Ukuleles and drums were tuned up to sing and play the night away.  Laughter and frivolity were the order of the day. Seen around the grounds were Salli Chmura, Geoff Dancer, Cath McCourt, Tony and Sandy Richardson, Graham Hall, Trish Rodwell, Coady Brule, Narelle and Pat Burke, Peter Grace, Chris Slater, Leanne Williams, Andrew and Sylvia Hunt, Frank Buckley, Caroline Haig, and others who may have been missed.

Workshops

The workshops covered the needs of absolute beginners, bass skills, blues, singing, rhythm and tempo, drumming, Mick Angeles’ Street Smartz music theory and popular chords in seven keys. Something for everyone there. Lazy Leis who were performing on Saturday night ran a workshop teaching a song for a ‘flash mob’ at their concert on Saturday evening.

Jams

Pineapple Crush led jams in the main tent each day playing songs from the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Members song book.

SCUF organisers asked Mick Angeles to run events at the festival. He was given two six-hour slots and a four-hour slot. With the able assistance of Marg Monaghan and Adrian Board they ran walk ups, jams and concerts in the Sherwood Forest tent to the delight of audiences. Lynne and Geoff were obviously also pleased – because they have booked them again for next year.

Frank Buckley and Caroline Haig

Andrew Hunt and Peter Grace

Informal jams popped up everywhere – around campsites and the rest of the park – uke players just can’t help themselves. After exhausting days of playing Mick and Marg just couldn’t stop on Sunday evening.  They moved out of their tent  so it could be packed up and played on – thanks for your understanding, Geoff.

Performances

The days got pretty warm with temperatures close to 30 degrees and the performances in Sherwood Forest in the cooling early evening were magic. Mick and Marg impressed everyone with their friendly banter and relaxed performances. Adrian Board pushed the limits with ukulele, didgeridoo and harmonica in a set of Zavier Rudd songs.

Resting up

The headline acts in the big tent on Friday night featured Accidentally on Purpose (led by Tom Richter).  They impressed with their musicality and originality. You’ve never heard Bad Moon Rising done the way they did it. Gypsy Rumble finished off the night living up to their reputation as ‘Australia’s quirkiest and possibly first Ukulele, Celtic/Folk, Reggae, Bluegrass band.’ They were full of energy and fun and their music very danceable.

On Saturday night, Joe Murphy from Gypsy Rumble took us through songs of his family history as well as covers. Lazy Leis are a four-piece party band. They played everyone’s favourites and finished off the night with incredible harmonies and musicality at a frantic pace. The dance crowd packed in near the stage and rocked!

Our camera man

Steve Sandilands behind the lens

Open mic tip picked up at the festival
To keep yourself safe from microphone nasties when using other people’s mic, carry your own mic sock. They were designed to reduce wind noise, clicks, pops and hiss sounds – but they also help prevent the spread of germs.

Aloha to all!

The Central Coast Ukulele Club are in their tenth year and would like to celebrate their 9th Festival with you.

They’re excited to announce a fun and slightly different Central Coast Ukulele & Folk Festival this year. Their 9th Ukulele festival will be held entirely at Wangi Wangi RSL. Wangi Wangi RSL situated on beautiful Lake Macquarie, have kindly offered their entire club for our special event.

Planning is in line with COVID restrictions and regulations. This will be a ticketed event to help control numbers attending. Details of tickets will available on our website soon.

When: October 1-3 2021 (October long weekend)
Where: Wangi Wangi RSL, on the beautiful Lake Macquarie
275 Watkins Rd, Wangi Wangi NSW

Call for Applications to Perform

Please submit your application to perform by 1 August 2021 with a $35 application fee per act or group.

2021_Application_CentralCoastUkulele&FolkFestival

Banking Details are provided with the application form. Please clearly state your name, and your group/act name in the reference box when depositing application fee.

Applications to perform close 1 August 2021!

Requirements Checklist
• No pre-recorded backing tracks can be used.
• If you prefer your own microphone, please bring it along in good working order. (We will provide leads, and our microphones will be sanitised between acts.)
• Please make sure your ukulele is tuned with new batteries for the plug-in.
• Bring your own music stands.
• Application to perform and fee deposit.
• Have fun and keep music live!

Details of program will be advised once all applications are final.

Location

Wangi Wangi (/ˈwɒndʒi wɒndʒi/) is 30 minutes from Wyong, 1.5 hours from Sydney, 36 minutes from Ourimbah, 50 minutes from The Entrance, 50 minutes from Newcastle.

A suburb of the City of Lake Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia, Wangi Wangi forms a peninsula jutting eastwards into Lake Macquarie. Wangi Wangi is a well-known holiday spot, frequented in the early days by families from the coalfields. It is known for its beautiful views, bushwalking, and fishing spots.

Wangi is also well known as the former home of artist William Dobell. Dobell’s 1948 Wynne Prize winning landscape Storm Approaching Wangi depicts the locality.

Accommodation

Accommodation is available at Wangi Wangi and surrounding areas of Lake Macquarie. Holiday Parks, camping, van parks and grounds are in the area and around the Central Coast. If you have a boat Swansea, Belmont, Blacksmiths, Caves beach, Gwandalan are easy access as there is a boat ramp opposite the club.

COVID Requirements

Along with event co-ordinators and attendees from all over the world, we’ve been watching the COVID-19 pandemic as it evolves. We recognize how stressful this particular situation is, and we share your concerns. We have a COVID-safe plan and will comply with the safety standards and NSW health.
We stand with all of you and the broader event community during a time when our industry is being deeply affected. We have faith and are putting in place all safeguards to have a great festival.

More Information

The Central Coast Festival organisers are looking forward to seeing you and your music in October. Please visit the Central Coast Ukulele Club website or email enquiries to Liz at  .

The Imbil Acoustic Music Festival at the Borumba Deer Park is in its 27th year. A bunch of BUMS were there, and Angela McGrath provided a review.

Tony, Cath, Steve, Ang and Jane

What a great weekend! Terrific time had by all and lots of jamming and music to keep everyone entertained and smiling. In only costs $20, bring your tent or caravan or book a cabin? Next year is 5-7 November so get in quick folks.

Overview

This was our second time attending this great festival, friendly and laid back with lots of jamming in campsites with muso’s of various skill levels and instruments. The usual suspects of guitars, ukes and banjos plus harmonicas, tea chest bass and lots of other interesting equipment.

In between jamming there were workshops on learning to play uke, advanced strumming guitar, learn violin, djembe drumming, laughter yoga, storytelling, poets, Saturday night concert and so much more.

With COVID safe measures people wandered in and out of campsites and joined in with new friends and old, playing, laughing and sharing songs and stories. It was great to catch up with old friends from the previous year and to share experiences with new ones. I’m always amazed at the talented people you hear playing as you walk around the park.

Ukulele jams

On Saturday afternoon David and I led the ukulele jam and were supported by Cath on Bass, Steve and Tony taking a turn leading and Jane on drums. With the songs up on the screen and Phil on scrolling we had a fantastic time with a range of well-known uke songs – lots of favourites and some requests. I think we rocked the roof off the shed and a great time was had by all.

Dave and Steve

Highlights

The evening concert was a hit with Javane a rising young star entertaining with her beautiful voice – keep watching for her in the future. Bearded Betty, Cherry Ripes, Blue Harmony and Lady Grey Nomad were fabulous.

Other highlights were the walk-up open mic, the poets breakfast and a Gospel music session. But my favourite was the campsite jamming! Definitely a highlight of any festival.

Check out the Imbil Acoustic Music festival Facebook page for more info and photos.

 

It’s the Bony Mountain Folk Festival’s 10th birthday. Find out from Norma O’Hara Murphy what the best little Aussie music festival in the bush offers.

BONY MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL IS CANCELLED – RECEIVED 1 AUGUST 2020


Norma O’Hara Murphy

What was motivation?

Well, my lifelong ambition was to run a festival that was a reflection of all my ideals for the Australian festival scene. Throughout my career, I’ve performed at and attended all of our biggest & best festivals — Woodford (& Maleny) Folk Festival, Port Fairy, The National Folk Festival, Tamworth, The Gympie Muster  and many others. As an artist who toured our great land, performed at Sydney Opera House, on the River Stage at World Expo, and at many International Festivals, I do consider I should know what people want. It always seems crazy to me that we import artists from USA and other places when we have wonderful talent here. And people love to see what Australia has to offer.

So it became my idea to create something uniquely Australian to celebrate our bush music and our musical roots, to celebrate our Irish/Scottish/Celtic heritage, and embrace the wonderful pipe bands, Celtic dance, bush balladeers, bush bands, and some of the wonderful talented, original artists, songwriters and bands that we now have in Australia. Of course some of our artists play other music — but they are Aussies — that is the difference to me.

Our First Festival in 2011

Was pretty scary — had no idea who would come — if anyone would — it was an unknown. But we went in with guns blazing.  We went with Chad Morgan, and myself as the main artists and a few of our best balladeers. Terry Gordon, a veteran performer, was our MC. He was a great help, as well as an accomplished artist. We had a big program of the ever popular walk-ups with Rocket & Ally. At that time our Ukulele School was not there yet. It started approx 2013. I think we had a couple of bands like the Redland Bluegrass Boys, and some amazing volunteers. All came out of the woodwork to assist.  It all just fell into place. Our crowd was approx 200 campers, and the usual crowd of day trippers. The stage was tiny and there were no buildings other than The Shack. So the festival site has developed and grown over the last ten years!

How has it changed?

We must be doing something right. Bony Mountain has reached its 10th birthday. Not so much changed, but I like to think it has evolved. We have tried to give the crowd the best we can muster — but true to my original goals — we celebrate everything Australian like our Celtic roots. And we pay tribute to those people we deem worthy — our Radio Legends Award, our Bony Mountain Legends award for artists (a clay Condamine cow bell). This has now become a much treasured item. We award our local legends as well. Perhaps we have begun to lean more towards Celtic music. But we celebrate the life and legacy of Slim Dusty every year. And also we recognise Bluegrass, Blues-roots, some great songwriters, comedy, country, pipe bands, Highland  & Celtic dance as well as bush poetry. So still a very diverse range of music which our Bony Mountain crowd love. I think it is only natural we have become more professional with our stage production, and our sound and lighting crew. We’re renowned for having a top class sound here, and we deliver on that every year. Our crowd expect a certain standard now, and our Big Stage is now very big indeed with an extended dance floor to cater for large performance groups. But we continue to strive to improve, and to soar to even bigger heights for every festival. We are only as good as the people who surround us, and I have been very fortunate to have a top team here right from the beginning!

What is Ukulele related? 

As I explained our Ukulele School has evolved into a very popular and anticipated part of the Festival. It’s a credit to the dedication of Mick Angeles who really found his niche teaching ukulele to so many.

Cath McCourt & Mick Angeles on stage with their ukulele students

Over the years our local music shops in Warwick have sold out of ukuleles, and the school has expanded from approximately six students in the first year to nearly 30 students last year. I would love to see more ukulele bands attending and performing. It’s such a happy and versatile instrument! We plan to build a Ukulele Shack this year!

What are the challenges?

Well, apart from the drought, the floods, Covid 19, and the constant struggle with funding, support and just surviving,  it has been one hell-of-a challenge! But I enjoy it. What keeps me going personally, is the fact that Bony Mountain has become part of the community — part of the Southern Downs event landscape — part of the local scene. It is a much anticipated event every year. So I would not consider not running the event. To stop this event would be to leave a huge gap in the community. Our biggest challenge now is all our original volunteers are getting older, and I am hoping we can pull in a whole new group of enthusiastic younger supporters over the next few years. I’d love to get them all involved in the festival so we can really look forward to a whole new team to take over-driving Bony Mountain well into the future. I do not want to see us go commercial, or get too big. But if we can maintain our unique situation without allowing the event to get too big or too crowded. Just continue to be the best little festival in the bush!

Join us for the Bony Mountains 10th annual festival. FESTIVAL DATES are 18, 19 & 20 SEPTEMBER 2020.

Anyone keen to become part of our Bony Mountain family, please ring Norma on 074667 4604, or go to the website for more information and booking details.

Are you longing to hit the road and immerse yourself in all the fun of a ukulele festival? Pending restrictions loosening, and our Queensland borders opening and travel becoming an option, here’s the latest news from upcoming festivals regarding their status.

Central Coast Ukulele & Folk Festival: The Entrance NSW 28-30 August 2020

https://centralcoastukuleleclub.com/

We still have plans to go ahead with our festival however we are awaiting government decisions on clubs and pubs and public gatherings.
Hopefully we will know by the end of June. With luck, and barring a “second wave”, we will be able to pull the festival off.


Bony Mountain Folk Festival: Southern Queensland 18-20 September 2020.

https://www.bonymountainfolkfestival.com/

Yes all on track for another great festival. I am going to liaise with local council to be sure we are all in the same zone! As we have fifty acres here I cannot see that social distancing is going to be an issue but we need to be sure! Stay tuned to Web Site for updates, but I cannot imagine a scenario where we would be not able to run!

Bony Mountain Festival is in Queensland, so a good option if interstate borders are still closed, only two hours from Brisbane via Warwick. Book camp sites now.


NEWKULELE: Newcastle NSW 16-18 October 2020.

https://www.newkulelefestival.com/

On Sunday 28 July, Sam Reich, Secretary of the Newkulele Festival Committee, emailed their mailing list to announce that Newkulele 2020 will be postponed due to COVID-19. Sam went on to say that in the interim, they are planning some smaller scale activities involving their local Newcastle ukulele community, including a fundraiser for our designated charity Pink Meets Teal and other outdoor events. Subscribe to the Newkulele newsletter to find out about Newcastle’s “Mini-Newkuleles” in the coming months.


Check regularly for updates on the festival websites and sign up for their newsletters. Keep your eye on the latest news from the Australian, Queensland and New South Wales Governments. In the meantime check out the online festivals and jams and keep on strumming!


NOTE: On 18 May 2020, Queensland’s declared public health emergency for COVID-19 was extended for a further 90 days, to 11:59 pm on Monday 17 August 2020Latest from Australian Government https://www.australia.gov.au/ and Queensland Government https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19

What a pleasure to be asked to share a little of Craig & Sarah’s not-so-mini ukefests with fellow BUMS!!

Who?

Craig Chee and Sarah Maisel, are known to many as the ukulele world’s most loved couple. Who would have thought a jazz singer and cellist would  combine to make such applauded ukulele music? Craig is a Hawaiian from Oahu, and Sarah a mainlander from Alabama.

I felt privileged to meet them in the Kanile’a ‘Ukulele’s showroom. “We are so excited! Craig and Sarah are dropping by,” shared Kristen and Joe Souza, Kanile’a owners. Then in response to my puzzled look, “They’re amazing world class performers.”

Introductions done, Joe asked for a song —it’s pretty much mandatory if you drop into the showroom … even I was asked — and so they did!

There was little doubt that the couple planned something more than being a performing duo. They were visiting to design their custom Kanile’a ukulele.

Why a mini-fest?

Craig & Sarah decided that they wanted to give back to the worldwide ukulele community that has given them so much. What started as a small idea blossomed into an international, multi-part virtual festival. A shout-out to members of the ukulele community across the world provided a festival billing that has never before been achieved. It quickly necessitated two separate events.

Who was “at” the event, and how did it work?

The list is too long for here, but you can access each of the programs for the two mini-fests online. It is an absolute who’s who of ukulele players across the world.

One special performance that you will not see elsewhere was the Souza family of five. They performed as a family in Madeira last year where Kanile’a was invited for the 140th anniversary of the introduction of the braguinha (or machete) to Hawaii and the birth of the ukulele. Check out their story.

It was a YouTube Live performance. Simple to watch! Over 23,000 enthusiasts viewed the seven-hour 41-minute Not-so-mini Ukefest #1 AND the 9-hour Minifest #2 events. Craig and Sarah produced, directed and delivered the entire 17 hours from their living room with glimpses of their new arrival, Cameron, and support from the many sponsors. This was a super-person task and they are certainly that!!

The events were broadcast live from the West Coast of the USA. So many people across the world were up early or very late to be part of the live event, including the artists!!! Cameron was an angel!

How much did it cost?

There was no charge to (virtually) attend the not-so-mini ukefests. For a nominal charge of $5 (but you could give more) you receive documents for each festival, and most importantly there were virtual tip jars (accepting “not-so-virtual” money … via PayPal mostly). These artists are without income due to lock downs, so the tips are invaluable. In closing Minifest #2, on behalf of the artists, Craig conveyed their thanks for the community support.

What was the program?

Not-so-mini Ukefest #1 on the 11 April featured performances,free lessons, demonstrations, play-along songs, Q&A sessions and prizes.

Not-so-mini Mini Ukefest #1 program

The billing for Mini Ukefest #2 identified 15 performances, six play-alongs and ten workshops.

Mini Ukefest #2 program

Any highlights?

There were very special performances that you might not see elsewhere – The Souza Family, and husband and wife Bruddah Sam (Spunks) and Lina Girl (Langi) in a rare performance as a duo. Kristen Souza explained and taught some traditional Hawaiian Hula (that’s probably another first) and there were some names you will likely be familiar with, like: Aldrine Guerrero, Cynthia Lin, James Hill, Victoria Vox, Herb Ohta Jr, Kalei Gamiao, and Brittni Paiva.

What about the documents?

Exceptional!!!  46 and 44 pages of absolute ukulele gold containing support material for workshops and for play-along jam songs. Many easy chords, and some challenging. Many basic ukulele charts, some lead sheets, and some with notation and tablature. Songs varied from 3-chord “Lava” to 9-chord (with a few diminished) “Summertime”.

Bryan Tolentino explained the Hawaiian Vamps, Neal Chin added colour, Daniel Ward showed how to Rhumba and Sarah released her inner jazz sharing some chord variations to embellish your jamming. Craig delivered a lesson on “Muting and Scratching” (which he has since prepared as a longer session available via an “Artistworks” subscription). Diane Nalini introduced vocal Scatting and Lil Rev shared secrets of the triple Strum

How did it end?

Uku Lenny took it out with a play-along uke, saxophone and looper. It was a blast!!

I missed it!

You can catch up online. Watch the entirety of both minifests, and obtain the supporting documentation from http://www.cheemaisel.com/minifest

Will there be more Minifests?

Sarah said possibly, but a little more ‘mini’ in size!

I really wanted to help. How?

Yes, to help support artists during covid downtime, you can buy merch or hit the tip jar. Simply, go to Craig & Sarah’s virtual merch site. They’ll pass it along. Check out their CDs available for download. Many are originals deserving of mainstream recognition. You’ll enjoy them.

(PS You can also check all the artist profiles from this one page!)

And lessons from specific artists?

Watch the Minifest video. Many of the artists advise how to contact them. You can also subscribe to the Artistworks website for lessons direct from Craig or Sarah.

The last word?

As well as being awesome people, with their not-so-mini ukefests, Craig and Sarah have set the bar high for future virtual and face-to-face ukulele festivals.

On behalf of the many virtual attendees I say to Craig and Sarah; “Mahalo Nui Loa” for the Aloha you have brought to the world’s ukulele community.

Jim Bills

 The Blue Mountains Ukulele Group held its 11th annual festival at Katoomba in the second week of February.  BUMS members Lesley Allan, Salli Chmura, Leanne Horne and Geoff Dancer were there to join the love of ukulele.

It started on Friday night with a dinner and performances by MARLOWE – a uke soloist from Minnesota.  See her mashing it up at https://youtu.be/QvR8zcaoVt4 Followed by  Simple Souls – described as Hawaii’s hottest female acoustic duo.

Ukulele Republic of Canberra, performing in wet attire. Blue Mt Uke Festival, 2020. Photo courtesy: Lesley Allan.

Thousands attended the festival and braved the persistent rain though the show did go on, except for the Big Jam on Saturday night.

There were up to eight stages in operation over the whole weekend with 25 minute performances and quick turn arounds.  It was a challenge to know who to see next and how to get there without getting too wet on the way.  Impressive acts from Queensland were Miss Elm (Erin Harrington), a BUMS member on her east coast tour and Accidentally on Purpose – three teenagers from Maleny.

Other top performers were the Outlaws Big Ukulele Band – a unique ensemble led by Ian Porter and the energetic Lightly Strung Orchestra from Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  See them at https://youtu.be/QOVebkSvX5I

Sunday was a good participative day at the Carrington Hotel with a series of performances interspersed with a strum-along from the Blue MUGS songbook.

Thanks to Lesley Allen for her report on the festival.  Never one to miss an educational opportunity for ukuleles, the BUMS group took a trip down to Blaxland to take in a pop-up workshop run by the Wild Women of Anywhere Beach (Cathy Welsford and Angie Smith).  This was an orchestration workshop culminating in a performance of a Russian song ‘Ochi Tchor ni ya’.  (Editor’s note:  I hope it was easier to play than to say).

Wild Women of Anywhere Beach & with Dennis on bass. Blue Mt Uke Festival, 2020. Photo courtesy: Lesley Allan.