Yeah, the ukulele has made a rather unlikely resurgence in popularity these past couple of years, and now it’s time to celebrate the little four-stringed wonder with not one, but TWO ukulele festivals this weekend.
The inaugural Electric City Ukefest takes place at the Eighth Step at Proctors in Schenectady from 1-10pm on Saturday with an array of workshops, jam sessions, vendors, demonstrations, food, a kids’ workshop and an open mic throughout the day, capped off by an all-star, gala evening concert, dubbed “Fleabag!”
Nippertown’s own ukemeister Ron Gordon – founder of the Electric City Uke Club – will emcee the afternoon sessions, in addition to performing. Among the other musicians are Jumpin’ Jim & Liz Beloff, Joel Eckhaus & the Vododeeyos, Banjo Bill Dilloff & Paula Bradley (aka, Moonshine Holler), Ukulele Mike (aka, Michael Eck) and Terri Roben. They’ll be offering workshops for varied levels of players, including beginning and intermediate ukulele, chord melody, blues fingerpicking for ukulele, beginning Hawaiian guitar, ukulele in old-timey music and lap steel guitar. Go here for the workshop schedule…
Ukulele Mike will host a two and a half hour open mic session at 3pm, where festival-goers will have the opportunity to strut their own uke skills in the spotlight. And Terri Roben will also conduct a special Ukes R Us children’s workshop.
The fest will conclude with “Fleabag!,” a uke-centric evening concert beginning at 7:30pm on Saturday. Featured performers at the concert include Ron Gordon, Jumpin’ Jim & Paula Beloff, the Hokum Hawaiians, Moonshine Holler, the Vovodeeyos, Ukulele Mike and Terri Roben.
All-festival tix (workshops & concert) are $25; concert-only tix are $15.
But wait, there’s more…
If you aren’t all uked-out after the Electric City Ukefest, well, there’s more ukulele action on tap on Sunday (September 23) as the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown hosts its second annual Ukulele Festival from 4-6pm. Featured performers include the Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra, Honor Finnegan and Michelle J. Rodriguez. Just prior to the concert, members of the Ladies Auxiliary Ukulele Orchestra will offer free ukulele workshops for both beginners and advanced levels at 2:30pm. Admission to the Clark Art Ukulele Festival concert and workshops is free.
ADDITIONAL UPCOMING FESTIVALS FOR 2012:
FreshGrass Bluegrass Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, 9/21-23/12
PearlPalooza @ North Pearl Street, Albany, 9/22/12, FREE
Amanda’s Journey Foundation Family Fun Day @ Snyder’s Lake, North Greenbush, 9/22/12
Riverfront Rocktoberfest @ Riverfront Park, Troy, 9/22/12
Hannaford Hispanic Heritage Celebration @ Empire State Plaza, Albany, 9/22/12, FREE
Kickin’ It Country @ Saratoga County Fairgrounds, Ballston Spa, 9/29/12
Capital Area Indie Fest @ The Egg, Albany, 10/6/12