Today’s post celebrates the fun that was the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain. I dragged my family along kicking and screaming and a great time was had by all! Apologies in advance for the poor photography. I’ve included as many of the photos as possible, with a few scans interspersed in between. There’s no particular order to the pictures. If it’s uke-related then it’s probably got a mention somewhere below. I’ve stuck in as many plugs and links as possible. Sorry if I missed anyone. And sorry if I’ve got any of my facts wrong. Just shout if you want anything fixing…
|The Ukulele Festival of Great Britain; Cheltenham; 1st – 3rd of June, 2012
There’ll be no festival next year apparently. No details were given. I’m as much
in the dark as you.
|Packed and ready in the King Uke household! We had the only “V” at
the whole festival, and come to mention it, the only smiley uke too!
Surprisingly (for me at least) there was very little banjo-uke representation
and no (proper) electric ukes AT ALL! If I’d been a bit further on with
my build I would have taken mine along. I bet the Re-Entrants would
have liked a look…
|Aisling Out Walking were one of the bands in the morning set. They
were a big hit playing a number of 50s tunes. AOW came over from
Ireland. I think these guys were picked after played at Ukuhooley.
|Aisling Walsh knows more than one tune about Dreams|
|Chonkinfeckle traveled down from Lancashire to deliver some
Northern humour. They were really let down by a terrible sound.
Even with some mid-tune fettling, the engineers weren’t able to fix it.
About the only thing I could make out was that one of the songs might
have been called “Leccy-mon”. Did I get that right? And you thought the
only good thing to come out of Wigan was casinos!
|Collaboration was a big thing at the festival. There were a number of
established friends meeting up and it was obvious that a lot of new friendships
were being formed. I don’t know how much practice the guys and gals were
able to fit in before hitting the stage. To be fair, it didn’t really matter;
It was all very much appreciated by the audience. Here you can see
“internet sensation” Gus and Fin collaborating with the guitarist from the
Belgian troop – Winin’ Boys
|The Winin’ Boys opened and closed the festival. They were a professional,
laid-back outfit playing laid-back tunes. This
video is one of a song they played
as a request. It’s an outstanding
song and they did a beautiful version on the day.
|The Hot Potato Sycopators were brilliant and became a bit of a
talking point in the King Uke family over the weekend. In fact, we’re
still talking about them! I’m keen to track these guys down and catch
them again. They played (pretty much) everything double-time and
slotted in some great comedy to break things up a bit. Mr Dennis Teeth
(in the middle) is quite the talent! This picture is from the end of the night.
|Here you can see the Duke of Nostalgia from the Hot Potato Syncopators.
He was dealing with a bit of feedback as they sound-checked. I just love
the pose. If ukulele is a religion then he’s the ukulele Jesus!
|The Hot Potato Syncopators started with a little harmonica action.
|Manitoba Hal and another collaboration. This time it was with the
harmonica-playing singer from Chonkinfeckle. Beautiful! This was my bro’s
favourite and I must admit I was enjoying it a lot myself. Hal’s set
got off to a shaky start when it seemed like the announcer was going
out of his way to highlight Hal’s large frame. It was was quite cringeworthy.
Hal seemed upset, but credit to him, he got stuck in and never looked back.
Well done Hal!
|Nico’o (“and friends”) broke the mold by adding a bit of
funk to proceedings. I really enjoyed these guys and
their Stevie Wonder medley. Nico didn’t do a bad job
of his rendition of Stairway to Heaven either. I know it’s
not part of the script, but I would have loved these guys
to have had a singer.
|Nico’o and his band.. They really seemed to be enjoying being at the
festival. At the end of the night they were taking photos like the rest of
us. The guitarist was game enough to put down his guitar and try
his hand at some uke. He did alright too!
|The Reentrants played their “rock set” and what a rockin’ set it
was too! You know what a sucker I am for a little Motorhead. The guys
|Gus and Fin did a fantastic version of this song on the Saturday night.
For those who like zombies… the original of this song features on the
Zombieland soundtrack. The song in question is Blue Oyster Cult’s –
Don’t Fear the Reaper.
|I can’t remember why someone was running across the
stage… but I caught em!
|I’ve already mentioned harmonica, but there were other instruments featured
too. One that I really enjoyed was the slide guitar. Here you can see the
guitarist from the Winin’ Boys (I wish I knew his name) and Gerald Ross.
Both played inspirational slide. What a couple of talented guys! I’m
really looking forward to digging out my slide guitar now I’m back home.
These guys did it right!
|This picture shows the stage. See the two HUGE ukes on each side of the
stage. Although anatomically incorrect ;-), they were perfect! In fact
the whole venue was perfect. The town hall is a beautiful old
|Now we’re getting into some of the scans I’ve done. I picked up all sorts
of crap throughout the day. I’m like that! What I’m uncertain of here is
whether the uke is the pest or the pest controller. What an odd advert!
|Here’s a scan of the line-up from the brochure available on the day.
Not all bands are listed, but you can find out a bit more from it about
the artists than I’ve mentioned.
|Listen to that rain! Go Gus and Fin!|
|Yeah, I took loads of photos. Here’s one of a fellow uker’s bag. I took it secretly
and I feel quite dirty in retrospect. If it’s your bag… sorry… but I love your bag!
“Be Happy and Play Ukulele”
|You know that I’m a fan of the unorthadox. Can you guess what tune she
was playing? No? Me either! Ha ha! My bro was admiring this uke for quite
a while. Anyone know what make it is?
|It was good of the Mayor of Cheltenham to turn up to the mass busk.
I never saw him from the front. I’m assuming it was the Mayor. Either that
or B. A. Baracus. Either way… good of him to attend…
|Here are the festival organisers leading the mass busk (from
behind). Only one is missing. And that’s Betty on the
right… or at least, one of her boys. Did I get that right?
|A shameless plug for a Piano Centre. It’s okay…
They sell ukes too…
|The stands from the Saturday were recreated on the Sunday… only this
time with added rain. All seemed to be doing a roaring trade.
|At the end it seemed only fitting that they got all of the artists on the
stage together… And that’s exactly what happened. Can you guess what
happened next? Read on…
|Yep, you guessed it… The Saturday night ended with paper planes
being thrown from every corner. The tune was The Dam Busters March.
Proceedings were being led by the capable Hot Potato Syncopators.
Those planes must have taken an age to make!
|One more advert. My daughter bought
a ‘learn to play uke’ book from these guys.
Or maybe I should say… I did…
|Oh Mr Teeth!|
|I did say that Mr Dennis Teeth was a bit of a star with the King Uke household.
Here’s something I spotted whilst killing a bit of time before the mass busk. I
don’t know, but it reminded me of Mr Teeth, perhaps in his later years?
|Here’s the video of the ending…|
|It’s a little bit blurry, but here you can see a panorama of the Town Hall.
The venue was great.
|I didn’t attend any workshops, but there were a number being held.|
|The songbook for the mass busk was
published ahead of the festival for all
likely participants to learn the tunes.
I printed it off, but didn’t take part.
If I’d have taken part it would have been
for Dirty Old Town or King of the
| I don’t know if these guys had one of the
stands? The advert was in the brochure.
|Ever one for surprises, the Queen took time out from her hectic Jubilee
celebrations to attend the festival. It was good to see her there!
|Rob from Tin Guitar had a stand selling his beautiful ukes. I’m meant to be
interviewing Rob for Electric Ukulele Land (my other blog) but we’ve
never managed to finish the interview. I was going to introduce
myself on the Saturday, but he always seemed to be closing a deal.
Oh well… next time!
|It’s been a long time since I’ve done all this
festival malarky. Here’s the arm-band I
had to wear. It could have been worse…
My bro was trying to convince me that we
needed matching uke tatts as a momento.
|My last picture and you know that uke can’t touch this!|
That’s it guys. The festival was great. I enjoyed it at the time and more so now as I’ve stuck the photos together for you. There will be no festival next year. Thank you to all the performers over the weekend. I learnt a few things, but more importantly I enjoyed myself! Cheers!