View Full Version : Retreat/Festival Packing List?

02-03-2012, 03:02 PM
Hi. I'm registered for the West Coast Ukulele Retreat in May and I'm starting to work on my packing list (I know, I'm a dork). This is my first multi-day ukulele event and I'm wondering if there is anything special and not obvious that I should bring. I'm specifically wondering about uke related stuff. Do you bring a stand to these things? Do you bring a 3-hole punch because you get a million awesome handouts? Do you carry Sharpies with you everywhere in case one of your idols is around and in the mood to sign something?

Which uke do you bring? Do you bring a beater plastic or laminate since it has to suffer through the trauma of air travel and possible late night beach jams? Do you bring your best uke because your learning new stuff? Do you bring both?

I would love to hear a voice of experience from someone who has been to any ukulele retreat or even this one specifically.



02-03-2012, 05:03 PM
I've been to the Wine Country Ukulele Festival, which is produced by the same people who produce the West Coast Ukulele Retreat) in both 2010 and 2011. For each festival, I brought the ukulele that was my best ukulele at the time. Because I traveled by car, it was a lot easier for me to bring lots of stuff I might or might not need because I could bring (and leave) that stuff in the trunk of my car. I brought, and used, a folding music stand, and I brought a 3-ring binder with pockets for handouts, although the folder I received when I got there had pockets in it (I punched holes in the handouts when I got home). I haven't been to the West Coast event, so I'm not sure whether stands are provided, or even necessary -- some workshops at the Wine Country festival had tables, some people at workshops without tables simply put their handouts in their laps while they played -- and I haven't had to worry about taking an expensive ukulele to the beach or into the woods for a late night jam. I'd recommend bringing a Sharpie for autographs, if that's your thing (takes up almost no space at all), a pen or pencil and blank paper to take notes or to augment the handouts, and an audio and/or video recorder for those workshops in which the person teaching permits you to record. If you have any doubts about what you might need to bring, contact the organizers and ask. As for non-uke stuff, remember that it gets cold in Northern California at night, so bring warm stuff to wear if you plan to be outside after dark.

I hope you post a review of the retreat after you go. I've been curious about going and would like to know what past participants have thought about it.

02-04-2012, 05:23 AM
Thanks mds725. I hadn't thought about some of the workshop rooms having tables. Maybe I'll bring a table music stand. I wasn't able to find any in-depth reviews of retreats when I searched so I will make sure to post one once the WCUR is over.


04-02-2012, 08:22 PM
Hi there! Sorry I didn't see this thread sooner. First of all, here's a liitle video Jim D'VIlle did after last year's retreat to give you an idea of what to expect:


Indeed, the workshops at the Wine Country Ukulele Festival (http://winecountryukefest.com) are generally held in classrooms and may have tables or desks, but that's not the case at the Retreat (http://ukuleleretreat.com). Generally there's only 10 - 20 people in a workshop (some have even less!) and there usually aren't tables for the students. (But your classroom may have a fireplace!) So, you might find a music stand handy. On the other hand, it was to replace a bulky music stand that my son and I came up with the Kani Ka Pila Klip so we could attach individual hand-outs to the headstock of our ukuleles. (The necessity was reinforced during a student performance at Aloha Music Camp on Moloka'i when a gust of wind blew our music away....train wreck!!!) You can read more about the Klip here: www.kani-ka-pila.com.

We d set up a little camp store at the retreat and have just about everything we think you might need, including regular music stands, tuners, strings, etc......even sare ukuleles!

We will, again, be supplying pocket folders for your papers, so you won't need to bring a binder. Bring a recorder if you want to, but please ask the instructor for permission before turning it on in class. They'll most often say "yes" and even encourage it, but it's a courtesy and shouldn't be taken for granted.

Bring a SHarpie if you want, but here's the really great thing about the retreat: Your "idols" will soon become your friends as you share meals, campfires, and spots on the stage with them, in addition to workshops...it's really a rare experience.

I doubt there'll be any late night "beach jams," (it gets cold once the sun goes down) but most folks do hunker down after the evening's official activities are over in one of the living rooms for .... whatever. (BYOB)

I usually take an early morning stroll along the beach, and would love company.....but you'll need some warm clothes...for that and the bonfire and campfire jam.

Regards ukes, I usually travel with my beater uke, a well-worn flea. But you should bring which ever one(s) you'll feel most comfortable with.

The most important thing to bring is an open heart.

Based on the number of people coming back from last year, I would venture to say they had a very good time. We hope to give tham an even better one this year. Let me know if you have any more questions.