Utah’s first ukulele festival returns in it’s sixth year on June 24th, 2016. Bring your uke and friends to Highland Utah and enjoy a full day of FREE ukulele workshops interspersed with an open mic picnic, ukulele jam and capped off by a FREE concert featuring The Naked Waiters, Cathy Cash, West Side Pride, and UFO HUM.
See the full FESTIVAL SCHEDULE (opens in new window) or download a 2017 Utah Uke Fest Schedule (PDF) for FREE Events, open to the public on June 24th at Heritage Park and the Highland Community Center. This schedule is SUBJECT TO CHANGE, so please check out the final schedule the morning of the fest. Here is a rough outline of the events:
- 10am : Ukulele Jam and Workshops
- 11am : Workshop Session | Ukulele Jam Continues
- 12:15pm : Ukulele Open Mic & Picnic
- 2pm : Workshop Session
- 3pm : Workshop Session
- 4pm : Workshop Session
- 5pm : DINNER: Good Grindz Hawaiian Food | Entertainment from 5-6:30pm | Performances by the Steve Butler, Uke & Me (M. Ryan Taylor), Max Willard & Friends, The Mormon Blues Brothers Band, and more . . .
- 7pm : 6th Original Utah Uke Fest CONCERT – Featuring The Naked Waiters, Nine Mile Canyon, Cathy Cash, West Side Pride, and UFO HUM.
- Heritage Park in Highland Utah (click for map) : 10400 Alpine Hwy, Highland, UT 84003
- Highland Community Center (click for map) : 5378 W 10400 N, Highland, UT 84003
Support the fest and win cool stuff!
Get the official fest t-shirt and wear your tee to the evening concert to be entered into a drawing for ukuleles, books, wood ukulele stands, a ukulele gig bag and more! When ordering your tee, some have suggested you might get a size up. Last day to order is May 25th for delivery by the festival.
You can also earn a chance in the drawing by entering the open mic picnic (see details below).
Thank You to the Highland City Arts Council for hosting us!
Local heart-throbs, The Naked Waiters, will be headlining The Original Utah Uke Fest in our 6th annual ukulele festival on June 24th, 2017. Besides performing in the main concert, 7pm at the Highland Community Center, they will present a keynote workshop on their process of arranging tunes for an ukulele vocal trio (not to be missed!) during the day (see festival schedule). Check them out doing a cover of Grace VanderWaal’s “I Don’t Know My Name”, their original “Butterfree”, and visit their YouTube channel or more.
The Naked Waiters consists of Kim Bjerga, Clark Holmes and Andy Nufer. They inadvertantly became a band a couple summers ago when their friend Ben asked them to serve him and his date dinner. After their meal, they had the idea of singing them some love songs, so they serenaded the couple with a couple tunes they had messed around with. Word got out, and people started hiring the boys for weddings, parties, resorts, galas, and farmer’s markets.
6th Annual Ukulele Open Mic & Picnic
The open mic will be held June 24th, 12:15pm at Heritage Park in Highland as part of the 6th Annual Utah Uke Fest. Entrants will perform one ‘family friendly’ song (as kids will be attending this event) a maximum of 4 minutes in length (original or cover songs welcome). There are no entry fees. Bring a picnic! You may wish to bring a pop-up chair or blanket. There is plenty of shade.
We will not take advanced sign-ups for this year’s open mic. Please arrive at 11:45am if you plan to participate to sign up and reserve your place in the order. Each participant will be added to a drawing for ukuleles and other donated prizes. The drawing will take place at the evening concert (must be present to win).
- Chris McAfee’s classes: 5 Chords to Learn & Super chord ifragilistic
- Max Willard’s class: Chord Inversions & Moveable Chords
Teachers & Performers
Daniel Hulbert makes some the coolest ukuleles on the planet. His free instrument plans have been used by people all over the world. Some of his most popular plans include: Electric Ukulele, Travel Stick Ukulele, and the Altoids Ukulele. He chronicles his own ukulele projects at his CircuitsAndStrings blog and YouTube channel. Make sure to check out the Lightsaber Ukulele, Bedpan Ukulele, and the Quad Neck Ukulele. Check out his work at https://www.youtube.com/user/CircuitsAndStrings & https://circuitsandstrings.wordpress.com/
Steven Butler teaches adults and children how to play the ukulele in community classes and schools in Salt Lake and Davis Counties. He is a Level III Certified ukulele teacher through the James Hill Ukulele Initiative. He is also the founder of the Utah Ukulele Association, a jam group in SLC.
M. Ryan Taylor is a ukulele teacher, organizer of the Utah Uke Fest, director of the Ukulele Youth Choir and UFO HUM as well as the author of a number of ukulele books, including Top 25 Celtic Session Tunes for Ukulele, Titan M’s 2 Chord Companion, Christmas Carols for Ukulele Orchestra, The Haunted Ukulele, Christmas on 34th Street, Two Chord Camp Songs for Ukulele, and The Two Chord Christmas Songbook.
Linda Seamons has taught ukulele in a Title 1 elementary school to 6th graders in the Provo, Utah school district for the past 7 years. She has taught ukulele to over 500 students. She was the recipient of an Outstanding Educator Award in the Provo School district in 2016.
Cathy Cash is a singer, songwriter and instrumentalist whose musical roots are steeped in traditional country and gospel music. Her style has been said to be a merging of Patsy Cline with a bit of Janis Joplin thrown in for good measure. She has always loved stringed instruments and began collecting all sorts. Guitars, banjos, dulcimers, psaltries and, of course, ukuleles. She is self-taught on all and bought her first ukulele about ten years ago. “There’s something about ukuleles that bring a smile to everyone’s face. It’s a happy instrument.”
Marcus Hight is the new owner of Best In Music. He has been with Best In Music since 1999. Over the past 18 years Marcus has helped expand Best In Music from two locations to four. By acquiring guitar lines such as Fender, Taylor, PRS, and Martin, as well as ukulele lines like Kala, Lanikai and Kamaka, he has positioned Best In Music as a primary source for guitars and ukuleles in the state of Utah. He has developed an expertise in product knowledge and is the primary guitar and ukulele buyer and product specialist. If you have a question, he has the answer. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Business, and has over 25 years of sales and management experience. In addition to playing the guitar, ukulele and trumpet, Marcus enjoys sports, the outdoors, and spending time with his wife and five children.
Valued members of UFO HUM teaching at the festival: Steve Baugh (was introduced to the ukulele while on a cruise ship to Hawaii) and Bill Coleman (started playing the ukulele when he was only six years old).
Christopher McAfee grew up listening to his mom play the ukulele and he bought his own ukulele in 1987 while living in Denmark. He spent 2 days straight learning how to play that uke and has been playing ever since. He is now the owner of 21 ukuleles, including his mom’s Martin. Chris loves to play and sing, even when he’s alone. He also loves taking part in play-and-sing-alongs.
Max Willard, a former band director and a great teacher, loves music and is passionate about the ukulele. He has been involved with the festival since the beginning and always gives a great class and performance.
Organizers & Volunteers
Thank you, thank you, thank you! to all who made the 2016 Original Utah Uke Fest such a great day. Review the 5th Annual Festival that took place on August 27th, 2016 to find info on all the volunteers that made it happen.