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Harmonious Anticipation Grows for Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival 2024

by Madonna

Preparations are in full swing for the NSW ukulele ensemble, The U-klectics, as they gear up for Australia’s premier ukulele celebration. The 15th Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival, scheduled to take place at Katoomba’s historic Carrington Hotel from February 9 to 11, promises a melodic extravaganza.

Jan Grace, the tenor ukulele virtuoso of The U-klectics, reveals that the group has meticulously curated their playlist, featuring iconic tunes such as the Rolling Stones’ “Miss You” and Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing.” With a limited 25-minute slot on stage, the ensemble aims for a flawless performance among the 101 bands set to participate over the weekend.

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Collaboratively organized by the Blue Mountains Ukulele Group (Blue MUGs) and the Carrington Hotel, this musical fiesta boasts headline acts including Jen and the Intrepid Segues, Ukulele Russ from Alaska, and Keith Potger.

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Described as a “dude who chooses to drive a Cooper Mini in a Mac Truck world,” Ukulele Russ brings his show “The Last Ukulele Frontier,” offering the secret history of the 49th state. Keith Potger, a founding member of The Seekers, is renowned as a “wandering minstrel with a ukulele bringing sunshine” in contemporary times.

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Local talents, Jen and the Intrepid Segues, aim to showcase the ukulele’s versatility, encouraging audiences to embrace the joy of music and dance.

The festival will not only feature captivating performances but also cater to enthusiasts of all skill levels with workshops ranging from beginners to advanced players. The return of open mic sessions and the Sunday strum adds to the festival’s diverse offerings.

Jan, who fell in love with the ukulele after witnessing a performance by Blue MUGs at a Christmas market in 2015, highlights the instrument’s universal appeal. Having started with a ukulele course at a community college, Jan expresses her passion for the instrument, emphasizing its ability to bring happiness to all.

Major festival sponsor Mark Wilkinson, a ukulele craftsman from Bulli, adds to the excitement with his beautifully crafted instruments, including Australian blackwood ukuleles.

The U-klectics, formed by Jan in 2018, is a testament to the instrument’s inclusive nature, bringing together individuals of varying musical backgrounds. The band not only performs at festivals but also engages with the community, playing at aged care facilities, retirement homes, and other venues.

As the festival approaches, anticipation builds not only for The U-klectics but for all participants eager to immerse themselves in the enchanting world of ukulele music. The Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival is set to be a harmonious celebration of this versatile and joyful instrument, bringing together musicians and enthusiasts alike from February 9 to 11 at The Carrington Hotel in Katoomba, NSW.

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