Nantwich N'Ukes Ukulele Fest - Gig report

24 Sept 2012

Nantwich N'Ukes Ukulele Fest - Gig report

Well quite a large gig report this one - we are back, tired, well fed and extremely well watered (!!) after our ukulele weekender in Cheshire. Really pleased with the turnout for what went on to be huge fun.

We arrived early in the morning of the 22nd at the Shady Oak pub (great venue in the shadow of Beeston Castle, good beer and a campsite!) and pitched tents. Down to the beer garden where the pub had put up a small stage and canopy for us. The numbers started to build and we got down to it. (but, a quick beer first...)

N'Ukes getting a pre ukulele strum beer in
The N'Ukes grab a beer - Credit for all photos - Chuck Belanger

The N'Ukes themselves were booked to play a gig in the pub that evening so wanted the day to be about other players who had come down to see us.  Proceedings kicked off with a set from the Malbank Ukulele Club (a bunch of sixth form aged players who come and strum with us in our open nights each Sunday. Brilliant stuff from them, and followed by one of their club, Mark Gallagher who gave us a great set including lots of his own penned songs - impressive.

Malbank Ukulele Club at N'Ukes fest
Malbank Ukulele Club

The day continued and our worries of there not being enough players to keep it going were unfounded. The first set kicked off about 12.30 pm, and people were still on the stage after 5pm.  Particularly enjoyed the set from Stephen Fowler and his wife Rekha (who accompanied on tin whistle). Nice bit of Leonard Cohen, and I also covet his new aNueNue ukulele! We also had people join us from other clubs around and that was really appreciated too.

Great also for Ken Middleton and his wife to come along and play us some tunes - lots of bluegrass! And all played on a split ukulele too! Very sadly, Ken had discovered on opening his case that the top of his uke had split rather badly - weather / temperature issues. Not to be outdone his performance sounded great.

Ken Middleton at N'Ukes fest
Ken Middleton

Ended the daytime slots with a guest appearance from Danielle Greenwood from the pUKEs who gave us a few songs - a mixture of some laid back punk tunes and some Johnny Cash to finish - all accompanied by various players from the day.  We thoroughly enjoyed the saturday, the weather was wonderful and the feedback from those who had just come to watch was superb.

Time for some food, a few drinks back at our tents, then the march back to the pub laden with amplifiers and microphones to set up for our evening gig. Lot's of N'Ukes, small place to perform it - squeezed in but, actually, it felt good. Think we delivered a decent set (please do tell me otherwise if that was the case!) - ably supported throughout by a couple of the Malbank Uke Club players (Alice and Matthew) who then ended the night with a couple of songs through the amps - their first ever pub gig and you could see they enjoyed it from the enormous grins on their faces!

Bed? not quite - ended up chewing the fat with the the very lovely landlord and landlady - Chris and Annette until the wee small hours - Chris even singing a few tunes with us.  I lost count of how many songs we played that night - dozens and dozens and dozens. My fingers were numb.  As was my head when I awoke the next morning!

Breakfast and a look around to see the weather had changed for the worse. Luckily no rain but had turned breezy and quite cold.  Back down the beer garden, uke in hand and delighted to see more guests - including Paul McCann who came down from Bradford and Tim Cooke and Les Hilton - otherwise known as Chonkinfeckle down from Wigan. A bit of a strum with Chonkinfeckle outside made us realise it was too cold for playing outside so into the pub for some grub and a pint, and spent the afternoon strumming away. Really good feedback again from the regulars in the pub and some nice tunes from a couple that came to us from Cheadle near Stoke On Trent and gave us a few tunes.  Highlight for me was Chonkinfeckle giving us a few of their tunes - Les on uke and harmonica and Tim on his tea chest bass complete with sparkly lights - they were brilliant and two thoroughly nice blokes.

Chonkinfeckle at the N'Ukes ukulele fest

A great weekend, and one that we plan on repeating in the summer months next year - hopefully bigger and better again. Feedback was great (lost count of the number of people who asked for our webpageHuge thanks to anyone who came along, even if you only popped in for a short while. It was much appreciated!


  1. Sounds as if it was a really great day! Would really like to have been there been there...

  2. We will be doing it again - keep an eye on this site and Facebook. This was more of a dry run.

  3. Next time, we're coming for the full monty! Sunday was great, but we felt we missed out on so much fun! So, keep us posted on the next one please Barry!!
    Les & Tim


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