Thursday 18 July 2019

Dun Laoghaire to host biggest ukulele event in Europe - the Ukulele Hooley - this month

Rita Braga will perform at the Ukulele Hooley. PHOTO: Rita Delille
Rita Braga will perform at the Ukulele Hooley. PHOTO: Rita Delille
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The tenth annual Ukulele Hooley will welcome performers and fans from all over the world to Dun Laoighaire this month.

Ireland's international ukulele festival, running across the weekend of August 25 and 26, is a free, not-for-profit family-friendly event, and sees a few interesting new additions to the schedule this year.

The Uke Factor Competition is underway looking for some new stars to demonstrate their ukulele skills on the stage of the Big Concert in the People’s Park, Dun Laoghaire, on Sunday, August 26th.  Last year it was attended by 20,000 visitors.

Two video competitions are underway as part of the Uke Factor, the first one directed at teenagers (10-19 years), and the second one to everyone else. As well as a spot on the main stage, the winners will also receive a Ukulele Hooley goody Bag.

The competition ends at midnight on August 18. To be in with a chance just upload your music video to YouTube and send us a link to Solo acts, duets, trios and groups of no more than five people are welcome and at least one ukulele must be featured.  Winners will be announced the following day, August 19.

Also this year is the Big Jungle Jam - last years' Big Ukulele Jam saw 2,000 players take part.  This year's event has a jungle theme with songs including The Bare Necessities, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Eye of the Tiger, and I Wanna Be Like You.

Making a welcome return is the Ukulele Bus Busk which will see over 70 ukulele players hop on to an open-topped double decker bus and tour the Dun Laoghaire to Killiney coast, stopping off on the way to play and sing.

And if you fancy learning how to play a ukulele or want to fine-tune your skills there will be workshops and an open mic event taking place on the seafront on the Saturday night.

The big event is the Big Concert in the People's Park on Sunday and talent from around the world will perform including Rita Braga from Portugal; The Jive Aces from the UK; Les Poupées Gonflées from France; Casey McGill from the US; the Winin Boys from Belgium and homegrown acts such as the Dublin Ukulele Collective, the Arklow Ukulele Players and Ukulele Tuesday from the Stag’s Head pub in Dublin.

Organiser Tony Boland said, “It’s 10 years since I first started a ukulele group in Glasthule, the Hooley came a year later and now the Ukulele Hooley is the biggest such event in Europe.  We have players and fans coming to us in Dun Laoghaire from all over the world as well, of course, as Ireland itself.   It is a unique music festival in that it is free, community-based and family-friendly."

Along with the music, there will also be trade stands in the People’s Park where you can buy ukuleles and accessories.

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