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HarmonicaBruce
08-02-2012, 05:54 AM
I'm surprised I didn't see anything about the Midwest Uke Festival on UU. It's in Woodburn, Indiana, and I'll be leaving tomorrow. Peter Madcat Ruth taught me how to play uke a couple of years ago, it will be great seeing him again!

Freeda
08-02-2012, 06:13 AM
It's been discussed a couple of times. The consensus seemed to be that it was overpriced for the offerings.

seeso
08-02-2012, 07:02 AM
Looks pretty cool to me. Have fun and report back with your impressions!

cheekmeat
08-02-2012, 07:16 AM
Yeah looks like fun.

I seem to rarely be able to get to uke events. I certainly doesn't help to find out about them the day before!

Perhaps more attention-paying on my part would help.

HarmonicaBruce
08-07-2012, 07:21 AM
I got back yesterday, it was a real good time. There were about 30 attendees. I go to a lot of festivals, it's my full-time job. Some are free, some cost a lot. For what it is, the midwest uke festival is not over-priced. I mostly play harmonica. There is a blues harmonica jam camp, 5 days, costs $995. There are people who have been to a dozen of them. Kentucky music week is 5 days, $275, blues week at Augusta is $450, so it's relative. I'm sure they didn't get rich charging $175 for 2 days. I got to jam a lot with Peter Madcat Ruth, and I actually learned a little uke. They fed us good, there were snacks always available, and the jam in the motel Sunday night was great. All the instructors took part in it, and it went past midnight. There's a good chance I'll go next year, and if I do I'll hang around the motel Friday night before the festival and Saturday night as well. I'm sure I missed some great jamming not being at the motel (I live in my van).

Good things about the festival:
- Our hosts, Richard and Steve Ash, their parents, were all extremely nice
- Classes were small
- Very well organized
- It was cool seeing their shop, playing with all the ukes, etc.

Bad things:
- The motel was about 20 miles from Folkcraft, so folks were driving back and forth
- There was an open mic, which I signed up for. When I got up to play my uke, I see Peter Madcat Ruth sitting in the front row. I was pretty intimidated. (I'm joking about it being a bad thing, and I appreciate the fact that he didn't walk out after the first verse).

ADD
08-07-2012, 09:53 PM
It's been discussed a couple of times. The consensus seemed to be that it was overpriced for the offerings.

It was discussed, but I believe it was on the UU FB page. **(After writing this I found the discussion here on UU.) There were several comments made about it being overpriced and that none of the instructors were really well known ukulele players. I registered for it as soon as it was posted, after reading the bios of these musicians and the workshops each offered. I had only heard about Peter "Madcat" Ruth from a friend years ago. I had fleeting doubts after reading some of the comments of several people I've met, know, appreciate and admire since joining the ukulele community, but my gut feeling was that sometimes availing ourselves to the knowledge of musicians with a much broader range and appreciation of stringed (folk) instruments and the UKULELE plus a few others instruments that accompany, complement and are used by many ukulele players such as the harmonica, is always going to be a good thing. AND IT WAS!

The MIDWEST UKE FEST was worth every penny and more. I learned more about playing the ukulele and musicianship and was challenged by it at this fest than at the others I've attended, as good as they were. We were thoroughly entertained by 4 exceptionally talented, funny musicians (several times during the day as well as each night). And each were teachers who were so well prepared for their workshops that included interactive instruction and dialogue. They made us feel that we, the participants were as vital, important and on equal footing with the instructors and the hosts, completely accessible, eating, visiting and jamming with us. Richard and Steve Ash, their parents, Ellen and Jim, own and manage the entire business - make their beautiful Druid Moon Ukuleles (yes, a relatively new venture, only sopranos and concerts now) and dulcimers with help of one half time employee. Folkcraft is known for the quality of their beautifully crafted dulcimers. They managed to make their large shop feel like our home where we spent over 12 hours each day. Meals provided, some home made by them, were delicious, coffee and snacks always available in large dining area where two refrigerators were fully stocked with water, juice, pop and ice cream. As Harmonica Bruce mentioned it was very well organized, small classes and played some of their beautiful ukes and dulcimers if you wanted. The one disappointment was I couldn't take all the classes that I wanted (4 classes offered simultaneously) and it was hard to decide, actually switched mid class one time to get a little bit of both. Some classes were larger than others and I was lucky enough to have a private class/lesson of more interest to me than it obviously was to anyone else.

The Fort Wayne hotel where all instructors and most participants stayed was 20 minutes away (Woodburn is a tiny town), but it was comfortable, had full hot breakfast and great rates and that's where we jammed every night in the breakfast area of the hotel lobby well past midnight - some of us until 3 a.m. Was this a good fest to attend? I won't miss it next year and I'll register early, because the hosts mentioned they want to keep it small (but they would have liked more attendees). One caveat: the instructors were made to feel special and distinquished for one day - a limo took them to Woodburn and back to the hotel the first day. But they had to drive their own cars like the rest of us the second day.

Azarr
08-11-2012, 09:46 AM
My Uke showed up on Tuesday before the event and before that I had never touched any instrument at all. Signed up for the Midwest Uke Fest on a whim. While I can only speak to Bing, I started out with "gee I guess this is a Ukulele" to the point where I'm starting to feel comfortable with the instrument. His class was obviously well planned and thought out and it was a pleasure to meet him and talk to him both in and out of the class setting. Not too many people would tell you to skype with him if you have questions.

I've attended a bunch of events for my other hobbies and felt $175 for two 12 hour days was a bargain compared to some of them. The food was great, and because of my wood fascination I was in heaven with the smell of the shop.

Had no idea what to expect; however, I immediately felt welcomed and at home. The Folkcraft people are definitely a class act and went out of their way to make sure everyone was comfortable. I never heard one complaint over the weekend but certainly a lot of praise for both the event organizers and the instructors.

I'm planning on being back next year, but I hope not too many people realize how great an event it was, - liked the small classes :-)

Azarr

ADD
08-11-2012, 11:33 AM
My Uke showed up on Tuesday before the event and before that I had never touched any instrument at all. Signed up for the Midwest Uke Fest on a whim. While I can only speak to Bing, I started out with "gee I guess this is a Ukulele" to the point where I'm starting to feel comfortable with the instrument. His class was obviously well planned and thought out and it was a pleasure to meet him and talk to him both in and out of the class setting. Not too many people would tell you to skype with him if you have questions.

I've attended a bunch of events for my other hobbies and felt $175 for two 12 hour days was a bargain compared to some of them. The food was great, and because of my wood fascination I was in heaven with the smell of the shop.

Had no idea what to expect; however, I immediately felt welcomed and at home. The Folkcraft people are definitely a class act and went out of their way to make sure everyone was comfortable. I never heard one complaint over the weekend but certainly a lot of praise for both the event organizers and the instructors.

I'm planning on being back next year, but I hope not too many people realize how great an event it was, - liked the small classes :-)

Azarr

Thanks for posting. I hope this will encourage more to sign up, but there will be limited space because Folkcraft wants to keep the small classes and not change the wonderful feeling created by the family. Felt like home.

Freeda
08-11-2012, 11:54 AM
It's good to hear all this feedback! Maybe I will put it on my list for next year!

hoosierhiver
08-12-2012, 05:26 AM
Planning on staying at the Best Western Plus again this year for the Milwaukee Fest . Only a couple of miles from the event.
https://maps.google.com/maps?oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&q=best+western+milwaukee&fb=1&gl=us&hq=best+western&hnear=0x880502d7578b47e7:0x445f1922b5417b84,Milwau kee,+WI&ei=bsonULqvOqjgyQHYhoBQ&ved=0CCEQtgM