By Kelsey Holt

Submission Information Listings are free for ukulele events, though we may not have space to include every submission. Deadlines for the next four issues are: August 5, 2019 (Winter 2019); November 4, 2019 (Spring 2020); February 3, 2020 (Summer 2020). To be included, please email the event name, date(s), information, and contact information to editors.uke@stringletter.com.

Port Townsend Ukulele Festival
September 11–15, 2019
Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington

With three days and four nights of ukulele fun and learning, this festival is one not to miss. Revel in all things uke while enjoying the historic heritage and architecture of Fort Worden, located two hours west of Seattle out along the gorgeous green coastline of the Olympic Peninsula. During the day, expect a wide range of intimate classes and workshops featuring a variety of styles, from jazz and blues to Hawaiian and novelty, with options available for all players. In the evenings, participate in one of the many open jams or house parties, and then enjoy two star-studded performances. Featured teachers and performers include Del Rey, Aaron Keim, Bryan Tolentino, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Daniel Ho, and more. 

Calgary Ukulele Festival
September 13–15, 2019
Calgary, Alberta

Just an hour’s drive from the breathtaking Canadian Rocky Mountains, the Calgary Ukulele Festival will be taking place at the creative cultural center, cSPACE King Edward. The duo Sum of the Parts—Mark Jackson and Jane Jelbart—will present a fun, low-stress, and entertaining workshop. Stu Fuchs, Grammy-nominated multi- instrumentalist and masterful teacher will encourage players to access their “inner musician” and provide a means of connecting with some of the deeper healing aspects that come from musical expression. Manitoba Hal, the Winnipeg, Canada–raised bluesman, offers a study on unique, down-to-earth ukulele blues. Magnolia Buckskin, an acoustic quartet of sublime vocals and refreshing original songs, will help students find their individual voice and harmony style with a blend of grassroots folk and pop music. And make sure to come on Friday evening to enjoy the concert!

Tunes in the Dunes
September 20–22, 2019
Westwind, Oregon

Join with like-minded ukers to create a musical community for three days along the wild and captivating Oregon coastline. Cross over the Salmon River on a ferry and settle in to the beautiful American camp-style cabins and enjoy strumming through sunny days and jamming by starlight at the evening bonfires! With workshops and performances by Aaron and Nicole Keim, Stephen Espaniola, Kate Power and Steve Einhorn, Casey MacGill, Andy Andrews, and the Hood River Trio, this weekend promises to be an exciting and inspirational time well spent.

Royal City Uke Fest
September 27–28, 2019
Guelph, Ontario

The third annual Royal City Uke Fest has a solid line-up topped by ukulele songstress Victoria Vox, who will be performing along with partner Jack Maher as Jack and the Vox. They’ll be running several workshops throughout the weekend. Abe Lagrimas Jr. will impart techniques about teaching and performing, along with Michigan’s talented Gerald Ross and Austin’s Kevin Carroll. Rounding out this dynamic teaching staff are music educator (and festival director) Cynthia Kinnunen and Guelph native Olivia Borkosky. And don’t forget the huge strum-along with 225 fellow ukers, plus vendor tables and more! It promises to be another happy weekend of learning and inspiration.

Nanaimo Ukulele Festival
September 13–14, 2019
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

What began as a small, one-day event, the Nanaimo Ukulele Festival is now growing, thriving, and back for a third year. Join in on Friday evening for a concert featuring The Naked Waiters, an acoustic group that specializes in heavenly harmonies and melt-in-the-heart melodies. Saturday is filled to the brim with workshops for all levels given by The Naked Waiters and three JHUI certified teachers: Liz DeBarros, Carol Johns, and Ali Romanow. To finish there’s a “Jammin’ Jamboree,” which includes an open mic, and a big weekend send-off featuring a Sing & Strum lead by The Revolving Doors. And, if you’d like to make a trip out of it, Nanaimo is just across the strait from Vancouver, which boasts an array of culinary joys, museums, wildlife and nature exploration possibilities, and more.

CascoBay UkeFest 
September 21, 2019
Portland, Maine

Quintessentially East Coast, with picturesque lighthouses, crashing surf, and fresh lobster, Portland offers up the perfect backdrop for a weekend of music. Organized by Ukuleles Heal the World, a non-profit grassroots association created to foster the power of ukulele, CascoBay UkeFest will be held at St. Luke’s Cathedral and offers a jampacked day of workshops and performances. Look forward to two intensive workshops in the morning, both led by Grammy-nominated Stu Fuchs, followed by his noon-time concert. If you are a beginner, make sure to take full advantage of the free workshop that will teach you how to hold a ukulele and start strumming. After lunch, sit back, relax, and enjoy an afternoon full of performances by an array of Maine-based uke groups. 

Albuquerque Ukekopelli Festival
September 27–29, 2019
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Did someone say the Magical Mystery Chords? Yep! Bring back the days of Beatlemania with this year’s “Music of the Fab Four” theme and immerse yourself in the techniques and tunes of the Beatles for two full days of classes and workshops. Tackle a few of their songs from ’63 and ’64 with Jim D’Ville, learn the doo-wop progression with Andy Andrews, or analyze Paul’s bass lines with Nolet Quiason. Not your style? Challenge yourself with any of the other 28 classes taught by Brook Adams, Gary Wells, Sonny Aquino, Alastar McNeil, and Dennis Muth. In the evening, enjoy an exciting concert featuring the Hawaiian band Beat-lele, playing all the hits, and Brook Adams performing the Abbey Road album in its entirety. 

Los Angeles International Ukulele Festival
September 28, 2019
Torrance, California


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With a little something for every level of ukulele player (and even curious spectators!) this festival is a raucous and joyful music-filled day. The festival features two outdoor plazas and a complex of meeting-rooms and performance spaces, where attendees will have an opportunity to jam, take workshops, and peruse a wide array of vendors. Enjoy all-day performances on the main stage, featuring some of the hottest ukulele talents, and connect with like-minded friends in the community. Teachers and performers include Jim and Liz Beloff, Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel, Herb Ohta Jr., Bryan Tolentino, and more.

Maui Ukulele Festival
September 29, 2019
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii

Hosted at the architecturally stunning Maui Arts & Cultural Center, the Maui Ukulele Fest is an exciting day filled with performances by some of the ukulele world’s top stars. Be sure to bring a lawn chair (or blanket!) and come enjoy a sunny day out on the lawn. Performances start in the afternoon but be sure to come earlier in the morning for a free workshop! There will be prizes, food vendors, and more too look forward to. Keep an eye on the website for continuing updates.

The Interlochen scene

Uketoberfest Michigan
October 5, 2019
Interlochen, Michigan

Whether an absolute beginner, intermediate, or pro player, Uketoberfest offers a low-key and fun-filled environment for participants to enhance their skills. This one-day event is brimming with mini-masterclasses, group strums, and open mics which will provide all involved an opportunity to apply new skills to performing. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people, learn a new instrument or enhance your playing ability, and enjoy the beautiful fall setting of Interlochen Center for the Arts.

Funky Frets Ukulele Festival
October 4–6, 2019
Boyertown, Pennsylvania

Just about an hour outside of Philadelphia, this boisterous festival will be hosted at the Trinity Church in quaint Boyertown. Spend the weekend with other enthusiasts and enjoy a wide array of workshops and open jams. Catch one of many concerts, brave the stage at an open mic, or look forward to joining in on the highly anticipated Jam on the Historic Train, a gorgeous scenic expedition saturated in history and music. You can expect performances and lessons from Bryan Tolentino, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Pete McCarty, Curt Sheller, The Aloha Boys, UncleZac, Debi Velasco, and Devin Scott. Plus, get silly in the photobooth, shop from a selection of vendors, and make sure to join the Hawaiian shirt contest.

Waikiki International Ukulele Trade Show 
October 11–13, 2019
Honolulu, Hawaii

Shopping for ukes in Hawaii? Sign us up! Though not a lesson-based event, the first annual Waikiki International Ukulele Trade Show will be a uke-intensive weekend and a must for the ukulele community. Just outside of downtown Honolulu, the festival will take over several blocks of Kalakaua Avenue and will showcase a bevy of vendors, crafters, instructors, schools, and more. If you come during the day, make sure to bring your uke just in case—some local schools and instructors have been encouraged to create workshops and you might just luck out. Be prepared for multiple stages featuring various performances by ukulele favorites, and stick around for the Sunday closing ceremonies, which include the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement award and an evening banquet. 

Charissa Hoffman: What Ukulele Principals Do
October 25, 2019
Boston, Massachusetts

Looking to have a ukulele filled date night? Then consider dinner, drinks, and a performance! Ukulele principal Charissa Hoffman presents an evening of original music and instrumental arrangements, drawing on her Nashville singer-songwriter roots and jazz influences. As a songwriter, teacher, and performer, Charissa has led concerts and workshops across the states, and has performed alongside artists like Phil Keaggy, so this is sure to be a treat. If you can’t make it to Boston, you can still tune in for the livestream on charissahoffman.com.

Palm Springs Ukulele Festival
October 31–November  2, 2019

Palm Springs, California

Spend Halloween weekend enjoying the golden age of ukulele with the Palm Springs Ukulele Festival! Evoke the era of ritzy cocktail parties during the Roaring ’20s and the campy revival period in the ’50s with an in-depth line-up of classes and workshops that have been tailored to the theme “From Gatsby to Godfrey.” Oh, and rumor has it that banjulele- and baritone-friendly classes and workshops have been added. Be sure to take advantage of the day stage (which features free entertainment and open mics) as well as an extensive vendor marketplace. And, if you’re feeling the All Hallow’s Eve spirit, join in the poolside “Spooky Ukes Bash” on Thursday evening and dress to impress—there’s a costume contest, and best guy and gal win a uke! Special guests and teachers include swing-jazz uker extraordinaire Casey MacGill, the retro-slick duo Dead Man’s Uke, Gerald Ross, Dani Joy, vintage-pop duo Victor & Penny, Heidi Swedberg and Daniel Ward, and more. The whole weekend will wrap up with a big Swing Dance bash, so make sure to pack your dancing shoes. 

Tampa Bay Ukulele Getaway Festival
November 1–3, 2019
Tampa Bay, Florida

Overlooking glittering blue waters and pristine white beaches, the Sirata Beach Resort leaves no doubt that it is the perfect place for a uke event. Join the Tampa Bay Ukulele Society, a charitable organization that funds local educational and community service projects, for it 9th annual getaway festival. Enjoy a weekend of sunny fun filled with workshops, jams and open mics, and artist meet and greets, where participants can take full advantage of beginner and experienced lessons. The hard-to-beat lineup of artists includes Craig Chee & Sarah Maisel, Victoria Vox, Petey Mack, Devin Scott, Mim, Jessica Rose, and more. And don’t forget to stick around for the Sunday Luau featuring Ty Olopai, Mapuana Ebbitt, and TJ Weger.

Wonderstruck Ukulele Academy
November 7–9, 2019
Fort Collins, Colorado

The Wonderstruck Ukulele Academy differs a bit from the typical ukulele festival game plan. It’s a three-day immersion in songwriting and performance, built for sharpening players’ skills looking to develop a stage presence and crafting songs. The instructors for this event include Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane of Victor & Penny and Danielle Anderson of Danielle Ate the Sandwich fame. The academy takes place at Fort Collins’ The Music District, with arrivals on Thursday evening for some hang-time and music, with a day of classes on songwriting and arranging, and Saturday’s emphasis on performance. wonderstruckukuleleacademy.com

Mexican Ukulele Holiday Week
November 9–16, 2019
Melaque, Mexico

What could be better than a destination vacation…with your uke? Nestled along the west coast in a beachfront village, this holiday getaway will provide you with ample inspiration: From paddle boating and horseback riding to walking the beach, your creative spirit is sure to blossom. Enjoy mornings filled with workshops, evenings dedicated to open mics and jams, and cater to your musical ear with twilight performances at local bars and restaurants. 

Hawai’i Island ’Ukulele Retreat
November 10–16, 2019
Hawi, Hawaii

Immerse yourself in a week full of ukulele fun and camaraderie in the beautiful Hawaiian countryside. Enjoy workshops and classes for ukulele, bass, lap steel, percussion, singing, and more. And when you’re not participating in lessons, become acquainted with North Kohala by spending time on the beach, riding horses, ocean swimming, hiking, exploring local farmers’ markets, or visiting an active volcano. Or, just take some time to practice what you’ve learned while you sit on the beach! There really is no better way to get your head (and hands) wrapped around those four strings than to attend this retreat and plunge into a world of learning, practicing, and playing with new friends.

McUkeFest 2019
November 17, 2019

Santa Monica, CA

McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica California, renown for more than 50 years of world-class concerts, gives the ukulele it’s due with 12 hours of ukulele madness November 17. The day begins with a kid’s concert and ukulele petting zoo led by Heidi Swedberg and ends with an all-star concert featuring Sarah Maisel and Craig Chee, Craig McClelland, Daniel Ward, and Alex DeGrassi. In-between, there will be workshops and events for all levels of players. Information and tickets at mccabes.com 

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