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View Full Version : what do you think are the BEST features of uke festivals?



Captain America
12-12-2013, 01:34 PM
Just curious. Haven't attended one.

Nickie
12-12-2013, 02:47 PM
well, lets see....the concerts, the workshops, the camaraderie, the food, the jams, the luau, the vednors with the shiny new ukes, I liked it all!

NewKid
12-12-2013, 03:03 PM
Gordon and Char Mayer and Aaron Keim of Mya-Moe are always a pleasure to talk with at uke festivals. They usually go to Reno, Denver, and Napa. All good ones to attend.

sukie
12-12-2013, 04:21 PM
I like all of it. But seeing my friends is the best part.

coolkayaker1
12-12-2013, 04:46 PM
Being in awe of the youtube stars that I envy and watching them from afar.

Rehan98
12-12-2013, 05:02 PM
You efforts to provide us so nice and useful information are pretty good.

katysax
12-12-2013, 05:58 PM
I haven't been to a festival but I've been to the California Ukulele Academy three times and I think it is a lot like a festival. The best part is the friends I've made and spending time with them. It's all fun, but I've made some good friends that live near me and they've become friends outside of the uke camp.

The classes can be fun; they are motivating. Sometimes they are boring but sometimes you get some good stuff from them. Seeing what vendors bring is fun too, and talking to uke builders. I like the sing alongs and performances too. I guess its all pretty great.

ukeeku
12-13-2013, 01:38 AM
I like all of it. But seeing my friends is the best part.

I love, in this order, Seeing friends like Sukie, Vendors, and workshops.
I always feel like the concerts are boring. Does that get me kicked out of the uke club?
Now UWC on the other hand, I love the concert

PhilUSAFRet
12-13-2013, 01:49 AM
I've only attended the Tampa Bay Uke Getaway the past 3 years and I'm not sure I could single any one thing out. It's just the total immersion into a weekend of "all people and things ukulele" without distraction.. If I had to pick one, I guess it would be the people.....not just the workshop presenters, but the festival organizers (TBUC's are amazing) and all my fellow ukers..best of all, I get to spend the weekend uking with my son.

Wicked
12-13-2013, 07:18 AM
I always feel like the concerts are boring.

This.

I much prefer a nice long open mic with everyone doing one or two songs.

Cornfield
12-13-2013, 09:59 AM
The show at the end where all the presenters jam. Especially if Lil' Rev is involved.

Tonya
12-14-2013, 10:38 AM
I've attended 26 ukulele festivals/events/camps as a participant in the past several years. Some have been outstanding, some merely fun. I've never attended a bad ukulele festival.

What I've discovered, though, is that what I will especially enjoy, others may not find so great (e.g. I don't really like open mic--either to watch or participate in--but for some people, that really *makes* a festival super). The converse holds true, of course.

What you can typically count on when attending an ukulele festival are playing workshops (except there are *none* at Hayward's Northern California Ukulele Festival), the chance to kanikapila/jam with others, performances, vendor booths and the chance to socialize. Some also have cultural or craft workshops (great for keeping accompanying spouses occupied, or not), open mic opportunities and food vendors (ahhh…the malasadas at Hayward…).

My favorites for really "learning" are the camp-type experiences where you're with the same instructor for three or four days in a row (the Portland Ukulele Fest was one of those). It's really concentrated growth.

My favorites for having fun, schmoozing and catching up with ukulele friends online and otherwise are the shorter festivals--and I take care not to book up my full day with workshops so I have time to do that socializing.

If it's live performances you want, follow the ukulele players you like and see which they'll be attending (they'll typically teach workshops there, too--but I guarantee you from experience, just because they perform well doesn't mean their stellar instructors, although they may be!).

If you're really looking to sample lots of ukulele from different luthiers and makers, set your sights on a festival which will have a high attendance; it's expensive for the vendors to travel with all those instruments and they're more likely to attend festivals where there will be lots of folks with credit cards to purchase their goodies. You'll usually get the "local" luthiers to show up at the smaller, regional festivals as well so if there's a luthier you like, find out where he/she will be exhibiting and go, even if it isn't one of the "big" uke events.

I've been writing up accounts of many of those ukulele festivals over the years; go here (http://ukuleletonya.com/blog/category/ukulele-festivals) to read about them and see some photos. My goal is to share with folks the great joy, fun and learning available at ukulele festivals. Maybe it'll convince you to attend your first one!

grahamdh
12-14-2013, 08:05 PM
I've only been once, to the Hawaii Ukulele Festival- Maui in 2011, but I think it's the atmosphere. Everybody is there to enjoy the music, eat some good food and have fun and I think the collective happiness is probably the best part. It was a bit heavy on the spirituality for my taste, but easy enough to tune out.
I think that Colorado and Washington are fixing to have some BADASS festivals in the future. Haha.

bborzell
12-14-2013, 08:58 PM
Only been to the Reno festival. Came home with an exquisite MP tenor. Can't complain.

katysax
12-15-2013, 05:58 AM
Open Mics are also my least favorite feature. At the last event I attended, two of my friends and and planned in advance, worked out an arrangement and practiced at the event. It was the only time I've performed at one, and it was fun to do the planning and preparation. However, there was about 2 hours of open mic which was way too much. I don't mind when people who have little skill get up and perform, so long as they make an effort to entertain the audience either by practicing in advance or by using humor. There are some people who have an incredible need to be the center of attention at all times, and a couple of them tend to grab way too much time at open mic. This is very tiresome.

There are usually some good to great moments at open mic, usually on a level of appreciating the person who is trying. But open mics need to be limited and managed.

brUKEman
12-15-2013, 07:04 AM
I love the concerts and the close up interaction you can get with the performers, as many of them have a booth and you can just go up and talk or hang out with them. I also like the vendor area where you sometimes get to see and play ukuleles that you've heard about but never seen in person. I used to like the tutorials that are given, but since I have progressed past the beginner stage I don't care for them as most are geared for the beginner. Even if they say they are for intermediate players all the beginners show up so the instructor has to play for the majority. In general the overall experience is great. If it is a 2 or 3 day festival I usually just go for one entire day.

Wicked
12-15-2013, 08:35 AM
Open Mics are also my least favorite feature. At the last event I attended, two of my friends and and planned in advance, worked out an arrangement and practiced at the event. It was the only time I've performed at one, and it was fun to do the planning and preparation. However, there was about 2 hours of open mic which was way too much. I don't mind when people who have little skill get up and perform, so long as they make an effort to entertain the audience either by practicing in advance or by using humor. There are some people who have an incredible need to be the center of attention at all times, and a couple of them tend to grab way too much time at open mic. This is very tiresome.

There are usually some good to great moments at open mic, usually on a level of appreciating the person who is trying. But open mics need to be limited and managed.

Open Mics must be tightly controlled, or they go off the rails pretty quick. However, I lose interest in any particular ukulele performer after a couple tunes. (I know that I am not the only one.) ... and by any, I mean ANY... it just gets tedious for me.

I guess that the best festival has a little something for everyone... because we all have our personal likes.