Yearly Archives: 2008

Wine Country Ukulele Festival: Oct. 11, 2008 (St. Helena, California)

‘Want to skip straight to the gallery of photos of this event? Then click the link here. Otherwise, buckle your seatbelt and hang on for the full description of the festival:

The wind was a bit cool, but the enthusiasm and smiles of the organizers, teachers, performers and participants at the first-ever Wine Country Ukulele Festival definitely made this a warm and welcoming event.

Most of the festival’s activities were held on Saturday, but Friday did include some playing at a local veterans’ home and performing at the local Farmer’s Market (the Friday night dance was cancelled, with that evening’s performers added to Saturday evening’s concert line up). In this busy election season (an “industry” that accounts for a good part of our business), I was lucky just to make it to Saturday’s events; I had to skip the concert that night in order to get back to the office…but at least I got to go!

Windy City Uke Fest: August 2008

Note: This is a lengthy account to give you an idea what it’s like to have attended this festival. If you want to skip the words and head directly to the 37 photos in the photo gallery album, click here.  If you want to see the captions for each pix, click “detail” in the bottom right corner of the album’s page; also, enlarge the thumbnails by double clicking on them.

Sweet sounds of the ukulele, wonderful workshop opportunities, island food and drinks (the kinds with the little umbrellas and wedges of pineapple perched on the edge) served in a tropical setting—and the friendliest group of ukulele people you could imagine. All of that defined my time at last week’s Windy City Uke Fest (WCUF), held in DesPlains, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

While organizers Terry Pensel (Nui Ukkulele Club) and George Klinglehofer (Windy City Islanders) hadn’t staged a festival prior to this inaugural year for WCUF, you wouldn’t have guessed it from the final results of this ukulele festival in the heart of the Midwest. Top-name musicians and enthusiastic ukulele players showed up in force from all over the Midwest, Canada, Washington D.C, Hawaii and even Australia

Portland Uke Fest: June 2008

Note: This is a lengthy account to give you an idea what it’s like to attend a three-day festival. If you want to skip the words and head directly to the photo gallery, click here.  If you want to see the captions for each pix, click “detail” in the bottom right corner of the album’s page; also, enlarge the thumbnails by double clicking on them.


Portland Uke Fest 2008

My “barre chording” thumb is sore, I’m still catching up on sleep and I have so many new ukulele concepts to practice that my fingers won’t get any rest for at least eight months. But would I have missed the Portland Uke Fest held last week at Reed College? Nope, not for all the Aquila Nylguts in the world.

While I’ve been to more than a dozen ukulele festivals in the past four years, I’d never taken the plane north to Oregon to attend what’s known as the “favorite” festival by many ukulele workshop teachers, performers and students. This year I made reservations in early spring (they have limited space—sign up by late April if you want to be assured of a slot), snagged a couple Southwest flights and got myself prepped for three-plus solid days of ukulele learning, listening, playing and schmoozing. Sigh…I should have gotten more sleep ahead of time.