Tag Archives: West Coast Ukulele Retreat

Festival madness!

I’ve just had a couple of months of very intense festival-ing! Starting with The Grand Northern Uke Festival at the beginning of May, I then flew off to California for a week at The West Coast Ukulele Retreat, ┬áthen Winchester Uke Fest, followed by The Ukulele Festival of Scotland, and finally (the final) Ukulele Festival of Great Britain.

Getting a little help from Dead Man’s Uke at The Ukulele Festival of Scotland. Photo by James Millar.

All of these events were so different, each really special in it’s own way. Some (like the West Coast Retreat, which isn’t a festival!) are more geared towards learning, immersing yourself in ukulele, guided by instructors, whilst others are more biased towards performances, but what struck me most was what they all had in common. Great people, great experiences (for attendees and performers), and wonderful friends. I feel immensely privileged to be in this remarkable world.

photo: James Millar

West Coast Ukulele Retreat, California

I just got back from my first visit to the States, where I was a tutor at the West Coast Ukulele Retreat on the Monterey peninsula, along with Gerald Ross, Victoria Vox, Kevin Carroll, Daniel Ward, Heidi Swedberg and Dave Egan and dynamic organiser Elaine de Man.

What an amazing event! Going on for 90 students, a full timetable of hugely diverse workshops, plenty of opportunities for the students to perform and for us all to socialise and talk ukulele!
Who would have thought that when I picked up the uke all those years ago it would take me quite so far!
There’ll be a full write up of my experiences there in a future issue of Uke magazine.