September 29, 2009 by Tim
This past Saturday I went to the 1st Annual Milwaukee Ukulele Festival. It was really awesome for so many reasons, beside the fact that some of the biggest names in the ukulele world (Victoria Vox, Jim Beloff, Aarom Keim, and Lil Rev just to name a few) where there performing and teaching. What makes it great for me is meeting so many new people and also seeing people I know from past fests and luaus, it’s like going to your favorite bar.
Beside all that, for a first time fest it was really good. the Milwaukee ukulele club that helped Lil Rev did a great job, along with the talent/teachers, gotta love having a class with someone you have cds and books from, and vendors there where worth the $60 to get in. The best class for me was the one where we discussed making ukuleles. What a great idea!!
My only concerns are really small and I learned a few lessons.
1. Parking was a concern; I had to move my car a few times so I would not get a ticket or have it broken into.
2. Stay at the hotel. the real fun to be had is after the fest when you hang out til the wee hours with fellow uke nuts, plus you have a place to park for the fest.
3. There were no shirts or other swag with the fest logo on them. I love my Windy City Ukulele Fest shirt and you see others with their past festival shirts on. It’s a way to say to others that this is not my first rodeo, I know the gig.
4. Make it 2 days. Start at 1pm on Friday and end it at 10pm on Saturday. That would make it possible for things like lunch breaks and give people time to play a little and ask questions the next day. Also 2 nights of party/jam time.
5. Start it with a big assembly where it is kicked off and things explained right up front. An informed fest goer is a happy fest goer.
6. Have a way for people to sign-up and pay in advance through a payment gateway or a PayPal account.
In the end I loved it and I will be there next year.