Ukulele World Congress 20104
June 9, 2010 by Tim
What do you get when you have a bunch of ukulele players come to an old hippy commune to play a 8 hour open mic, camp, eat and jam all day long?
A FRICK’N GOOD TIME!!
I missed last year’s UWC and I was really bummed and I am so happy that I was able to go this year. The atmosphere is like nothing else. The thing is that it is not a festival but more of a large party to celebrate the ukulele and its community. There are no formal classes, but you learn a ton if you want to. There are no headliners waiting backstage to go on and wow the crowd. Trust me there were plenty of people there that could be the headline act at most any ukulele festival (Dominator, Ukulele Zoey and Jodi AKA Gigapus, Flea Bitten Dawgs, Shani Fawni, and Mike from Mainland Ukes to name a few)The great thing about the UWC is that the performers are everyone there. Everyone has a chance to go and play and get a big round of applause no matter how they did. I am a little embarrassed that I screwed up my set on Friday night. I got up there sang a Flaming lips song then tried to do doc of the bay and could not remember it at all and I really wanted to go back on Saturday to redeem myself but by the time I got back to camp the signup sheet was way to full. When I got off the stage I was greeted by Ukulele Zoey and a bunch of others who made me feel like I was not a total screw up and everyone applauded just as loud for me as every other person that went up there. It is a great place to get up and sing for people if you have never done it before.
Things to know about the UWC, a lessons learned if you will.
1. Come Friday; There are a lot of people there on Friday and the potluck is amazing. Also if you show up Friday you can explore Nashville and all that fun stuff Saturday.
2. Bring some food and plenty to drink, not just beer. At this year’s, like last years, there was a potluck that is made up of food that the locals bring. it was good. Saturday you will more than likely spend away from camp exploring so you can eat in town. So there is no need to bring full meals, just bring snacks and stuff to share with everyone.
3. Be prepared for any weather. If you are camping make sure that you have clothes for Hot, cold, and wet.
4. Sign up for open mic as early as you can. If you wait you will go on at 1am. People are allowed to stay up there as long as they like, most did 3-4 songs.
5. Be prepared to buy a new ukulele. You may tell yourself that you don’t need it. It is hard to not go to Weed Patch or Mainland and fall in love.
6. Be prepared to stay until 4 pm on Sunday. There was a ukulele class from 11 -4. I heard it was pretty cool
7. Get on Ukulele Underground and start participating in it. The UWC is also a place for many people who communicate on the forums to actually meet and have a “family reunion” of sorts. It will help when you get there.
I had a great time and hope that it happens again next year. One of my big highlights was going to David Gills house to see his workshop. That story is coming soon.
Please comment below with your experiences or go to the Ukulele Underground forum where people are already posting their favorite moments.
More pics on the facebook group page
Thanks for summing up the fun, Tim! This was our first time, too, and I feel we only got a taste of everything as we had to leave on Saturday! I’m glad we got to camp next to you and had the chance to get acquainted. I hope that we will continue to build this delightful community and find ways for folks whol live close together to continue to meet up, before and after next year’s event! We’ll certainly be there–and we’ll certainly be ready to play!
Hoping to see you soon–in Noblesville, perhaps?
i have to say that the uwc article really moved me. i used to be on the road in my 20’s and even 30’s hitting all the major and little folk festivals, playing at some, watched and listened (not necessarily in that order…) at others. always camping, either with a +1 or without, except when the local marriott called my name. I’d just hop in the tracker, the jeep, then the explorer and take off for the weekend, or when school was out, the week. we sponsored festivals, fri night open mics and jams on sat’s at my apt before hitting the bar and i would always play some more there. guitar that is. folk songs. i sang like a cross between carole king and joan baez, and wrote songs that way, too. always the poet, storyteller.
i would have loved the uwc, now that i am a uke player – it sounds from your article that it was a great platform for people from all players on the spectrum, from beginner-ish like me straight tothe dominator and other pro’s. i would have loved to get up and hit the notes right singing ‘let’s talk dirty in hawaiian’ or some fun tune like that. or sing my dark side, leonard cohen’s (jeff buckley arrangment of) ‘hallelujah’, one of my favorites.
and i would have gone, but a little problem, called sepsis, an infection in my (8) gallstones and pneumonia 7 years ago put me in a coma that lasted 2 months, and atrophied many muscles including both upper and lower legs and arms, and some of my other parts i won’t talk about because you might be embarrassed . i woke up basically a quadraplegic. They say i survived a 108* temp, triple pneumonia and septic infections. pretty tall order for someone who used to walk at 5’0″.
due to a tracheotomy that cause one vocal chord not to close all the way, my singing career was off the menu, and due to severe and painful muscle spasms i couldn’t play guitar…..so, what was i to do.
well, just last february (i think, maybe march) i took out a fluke from the library and my hand could wrap around to make chords pretty well. the reach to make barre chords is tough, but i can make any song easy, given the opportunity to play my chords and the rest of ya play your parts to my key. or something like that. i’m a hootin’ and a hawaiian that i can make music again and am just gettin myself going on previously written stuff before i get to writing my own songs, of which i have many.
Thank you jumping flea, ukulele, ukists for the uke. it has helped me fill my soul again.
i should have mentioned that in 7 years i’ve been able to:
use my hands with a slight tremble
use my arms to pick up about 15 lbs.
use most of my (here’s where it might get embarrassing) parts.
move my legs (lifting from the hamstring the knees up down and side to side
i am a paraplgic and drive a metal flake blue ‘lectric wheelie chair
my vocal chords are coming, they’re damaged, but i’m working on coming back singing, just to accompany my uke playing, or vice versa!!
Since you are unable to make it, you should start posting on youtube and getting involved with ukuleleunderground.com
It is a great place to be part of the ukulele community, even if you can’t physically be there.
Keep truck’n and spreading the ukulele love