Uke n Folk held at Heritage Estate Wines in Cottonvale (Stanthorpe) was an inaugural event attended by about 120 people. It’s the brain child of John and Lee Nicholson, Stanthorpe locals and ukulele players. After attending the Central Coast Ukulele Festival, John and Lee were inspired to host a festival in their home town, Stanthorpe to boost spirits, and attract new visitors after a crippling season of drought and bushfire. They approached the owners of Heritage Wines, The Fenwicks, to jointly host the festival.

Heritage Estate Wines – Venue for Uke n Folk, Cottonvale, January 2020

Uke n Folk boasted a great mix of activities including “play-a-longs” to songs on a screen, open mic, workshops and a concert. But what impressed me most was the generosity of the musicians, many of whom came significant distances at their own expense to perform for free, share their knowledge and just hang out and play. The performers were so engaging, and more than willing to sit and jam and share their love of ukulele.

Uke n Folk featured many wonderful headline acts — Ohana, Tina D Tunes, Accidental Luddites, to name a few.

Ohana, a trio from the Central Coast NSW, played a few originals and current covers with terrific arrangements.Their generosity knew no bounds. They performed, ran workshops and just mixed with everyone sharing stories and tips. A great original song of theirs is Brand New Day. With its personal message and great melody it was a showstopper. Check them out on YouTube

Also entertaining the crowd was Tina D Tunes from Sydney — beautiful voice and wonderful heartfelt covers. At times, with her songs about the recent bush fires, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Accidental Luddites were great fun.Terrific arrangements and renditions of popular songs. Most surprising were the choices — some were huge rock songs performed as ballad. No Secrets by The Angels comes to mind.

And, of course, our local Stanthorpe much-loved musicians were featured — The Graniteers, Lee Williams, Teri Wells and band, and not to be missed Dave and Jenny McCarthy and their jug/ folk/ hillbilly rock.

The door takings for the concert on Saturday night were donated to a local cancer charity. In excess of $1000 was raised to support this charity. No performers were paid, nor reimbursed for their time or travel. They just came — to help bring joy, and to boost a struggling town.

And for a weekend that’s what they did. Left us all feeling good and smiling. It was a pure joy to be part of this little festival, and be enveloped in the “ukulele love”.

Look out for a this event again in January 2021. Our BUMS website promotes lots of festivals and events for 2020.

By Angie McGrath

  • Tina D Tunes (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)

  • Teri Wells (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)

  • Band Too Much Fun (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)

  • Lee Williams (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)

  • Dave & Jenny McCarthy (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)

  • Accidental Luddites (Photo courtesy Angela McGrath)