A look back on N'Ukefest 2013

22 Jul 2013

A look back on N'Ukefest 2013

Well, we are all absolutely exhausted after N'Ukefest 2013 - a full weekend of ukulele playing with some of the nicest people you could care to meet.

Arrived bright and early on the Saturday morning to get our tents set up on the campsite. Delighted to see a bunch of guests to the weekend had already arrived the night before and were there to greet us. A hot, hot day, so following the sweaty work of setting up a ridiculously large tent, then the equally sweaty job of rigging the stage and PA for our evening gear inside the Shady Oak pub....

A quick outfit change and then the festivities commenced. The whole of N'Ukefest was an informal get together with a charity element in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. We knew we had some cracking ukulele players coming along and they did not let us down. So, on with the afternoon and nearly six hours of open mic playing. I will probably forget somebody's name here, so do forgive me (met a LOT of people!). Performances kicked off from The Muckers, Sue, Derrick and Jim of Stockport Ukulele Players, Clarice Wokes, Tony Casey, Ken Middleton, Jez Quayle and Jan Steele from AYUP, Liverpool Ukulele Club, Paul Redfern of The pUKEs, Paul McCann, Nick Corder, Autumn McCann and Joe Grant-Mills,  and more. Endless songs throughout the day to a packed beer garden! Some pictures below....

Elaine Kinsella and Laura Rees of Liverpool Ukulele Club (credit - Jeff Jackman)
Tim Cooke, Clarice Wokes, Tony Casey, Jez Quayle (credit Hannah Shaw)

Autumn McCann, Joe Grant-Mills and Tim Cooke (credit Jeff Jackman)

Jan Steele and Jez Quayle (credit Hannah Shaw)
Jez Quayle, Rekha Fowler, Tim Cooke, Stephen Fowler and Sally Gallagher (credit Tony Casey)

The pUKEs Paul Redfern (credit Jeff Jackman)

Throughout the day, the very awesome Mary Agnes Krell (organiser of the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival) worked tirelessly with N'Uke Amanda to plug the raffle for Macmillan - superb prizes on offer  with a star prize hand made Brazilian Mahogany soprano uke from Rob Collins at Tinguitar.
Checking on the raffle with Tony Casey, Rob Collins, Mary Agnes Krell and Chris Clarke (Credit Jeff Jackman)
And the afternoon ended with a mass jam on the outdoor stage with many players following the songbook kindly prepared by Mark at Stockport Ukulele Players.

Mass singalong - Jim Carey and Derrick Dickinson front centre (credit Jeff Jackman)

Then a quick break for food etc, and we moved on to the evening session. We were absolutely delighted that Stephen, Rekha and Sally of Chester based trio Ooty And The Cloud had agreed to open the evening for us. The performed an extremely pretty set of songs in their distinctive style. Beautiful harmonies, laid back playing, tin whistles, melodicas. The crowd LOVED them.

Ooty And The Cloud kick off the evening proceedings
And then our full set... (gulp!). A captive audience of ukulele enthusiasts... no pressure then!! We need not have worried. The pub was packed and the crowd reaction was superb. When you get feedback like that it helps you play, and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable shows we have ever done. And a quick word for a man who helped so many acts during the day with his washtub bass. Tim Cooke of Chonkinfeckle. Only a few days earlier we learned our normal bass player would be available, so Tim kindly stepped in. Didn't miss a beat and worked brilliantly! Cheers Tim.

N'Ukes evening set (credit Annette Price)

The rest of the night was a bit of a blur, mainly because we hit the bar... but good chats with friends into the early hours.

Woke up with a fuzzy head on sunday, and back to the pub to do it all again! A more subdued, laid back day (Cooler too! We were certainly lucky with the sunshine on the Saturday!), but still a lot of fun. More outdoor sets from the N'Ukes on this day, plus a lovely folky set from Sue and Geoff Thorpe. We had performances from Steve at Wigan Uke club, and local performer Paul Larcombe did a fantastic long set of old time numbers and Formby songs. Adored Rob Collins solo uke performance of the Richard Thompson song Vincent Black Lightning - a song some of N'Ukes had suggested we look at, and I (wrongly) said wouldn't work. It certainly can. Wow!

Personal highlight for me was playing the Chonkinfeckle track 'I'm From Wigan Me' with Tim Cooke. In fact I was in Les Hiltons place on uke, and N'Uke Steve was in Tims normal place on his washtub bass! Nice to see Tim playing uke again!

N'Uke Steve, Tim Cooke and I perform 'I'm From Wigan Me''

And then.... (drumroll please!) it was time for the raffle draw. Mary took to the stage and we announced the winners of the fabulous prizes. I cannot thank our sponsors enough for their generosity. Readers should be aware what good folks they are, namely; Rob Collins, Southern Ukulele Store, Doc Kazoo, Ken Middleton, Ohana Ukuleles, Chonkinfeckle and Danielle at IvyArch. Best of all - the collection amounted to a few pennies shy of £700!!

Thanks also go to the Annette and Chris at The Shady Oak. We are already thinking of 2014, but for now, we have the Grand Northern Uke Fest at Pontefract to look forward to!


  1. Looks like I missed a beltin do..I hate you all:)

  2. Bloody beltin' my mate!! Top marks all round to everybody involved. I'm knackered but I'm one happy chappy!

  3. Thank you to everyone involved in the weekend - I had such a good time I didn't even mind not winning the raffle. I brought a none-uke friend for the evening, and by halfway through he was buying raffle tickets in the hope he might win an instrument of his own. :)

  4. Cheers Tim. Oh, and Cheers Les! ;-)


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