It may be the middle of winter in July, but Geraldine, a picturesque village in the heart of New Zealand’s South Island, promises to give you a warm and friendly welcome. Geraldine Ukefest brings the whole town to life over the four-day festival - The Big Strum, Ukes in Cafes, Workshops, Concerts, OpenMics - providing plenty of learning and performance opportunities. Rated one of the top six ‘not-to-be-missed’ ukulele festivals by Ukulele Magazine in their Summer 2016 issue, Geraldine Ukefest is guaranteed to have something for everyone.
This Is How We Do It
Geraldine Ukefest’s main goal is to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to perform. So, while the festival’s main event, The Big Concert, features well-known national and international professional artists, The Opening Night Invitational showcases a lineup of amateur and semi-professional talent, some of whom might be appearing on stage for the very first time. And if you’re ready to step up onto a smaller stage, a number of OpenMics and Jams are available for you to strut your stuff for a generous and welcoming audience.
Always Something to Learn
Picking, strumming, bar chords, rhythm, singing, TAB - there’s always something that you feel could do with a little improvement, or you might want to try out something completely new. Geraldine Ukefest offers a huge choice of Workshops covering a wide variety of skills, all of which take place in classrooms and halls within walking distance of each other. Workshop tutors are experts in their fields who will do their very best to impart some of their knowledge and skill to you in the 90 minute sessions.
Music On the Menu
During the festival, Geraldine’s wonderful variety of cafés and eateries play host to an eclectic lineup of talent. Ukulele acts from around New Zealand, and sometimes further afield, are invited/can apply, to entertain during the lunch break. This afternoon event creates a huge buzz around the town, bringing Geraldine Ukefest right into the heart of the village for attendees and residents alike to enjoy. It is also a great opportunity for foodies to sample all the different homegrown tastes that Geraldine has on offer - Take your pick.
All Together Now
In 2013, from an idea scribbled on a napkin after a bottle of wine at a local café, Geraldine Ukefest directors Hugh & Fi McCafferty thought if might be fun to run a small mid-winter event for ukulele players - they called it The Big Strum. They would later be encouraged to add a crash course for beginners, a free community concert, Ukes in Church and an OpenMic. The Big Strum is still a key feature of Geraldine Ukefest, with hundreds of beginners and pros of all generations coming together to bash away at songs from genres of every kind. Ukes are available to borrow, chord sheets are projected onto a huge screen.