Workshops With A Difference at The Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

11 Aug 2014

Workshops With A Difference at The Grand Northern Ukulele Festival

One thing that you will always find at a ukulele festival are players workshops. Its something of a peculiarity that goes with the instrument I guess, but they are always hugely popular with those attending. The most common sort of workshops are the 'learn how to play' type, where you can often learn along with some of the headline acts from the show. This year though, the team at the Grand Northern Ukulele Festival have decided to offer some extra workshops with a difference which certainly look exciting!

In fact, GNUF this year are promising that EVERY playing workshop is brand new - they have never been done at other UK festivals, ever! Their workshops cover three distinct types this year - playing, performing and making. Check out the full listing on the grid below.

GNUF Workshop clash finder
Click to enlarge

Phil Doleman ukulele workshop
Phil Doleman

On the playing side you can learn tips and tricks from the likes of Phil Doleman (who has created brand new classes for this festival covering unlocking the fingerboard and blues) and Chonkinfeckle's Les Hilton looking at open tunings, this year based around the Van Morrison classic, Brown Eyed Girl. Ken Middleton also makes a return to the workshop section.

Andy Eastwood
Andy Eastwood

GNUF also have new workshop additions from the likes of Del Ray (one of the festival headliners, with a Jug Band Blues party), Andy Eastwood  (one of the most technically gifted players I have seen on stage) who is teaching Formby styles, and the magnificent Ukulelezaza teaching the 12th Street Rag. Also recently added is a workshop from Peter Moss - a hugely talented player and well respected tutor who is teaching chord sequences, minor chords and timing.  Like your jazz? Adam Franklin will be on hand to teach 20's and 30's hot jazz rhythm picking styles.

The Mother Ukers
The Mother Ukers

On offer are a singing / busking workshop with the Mersey Belles in which you will get to perform on stage with them, musical clowning with Vonck and Vlam, and one I particularly like in which you will get to learn to record a song with the Mother Ukers, and then get a download of it after the festival. It will also appear on a future Mother Ukers album!

And finally, what a delight it would be to appear on the main festival stage with Tricity Vogue and her All Girl Swing Band! Yes, you can do that too.

Tricity Vogue
Tricity Vogue and her All Girl Swing Band

And then on to 'making', GNUF returns with two great hands on workshops from last year which were HUGELY popular last year. Making a wash tub bass or making a Diddly Bow with master UK Luthier Rob Collins. At both you get to keep the instrument you made!

Rob Collins with Diddly Bow

So why am I telling you all this? Well places on these are going really FAST, with some I didn't mention sold out now, so not long to go. The festival takes place on 13-14 September in Huddersfield. If you want to attend a workshop, DON'T leave it until you get there as you may be disappointed.

All details on the workshops can be found at

I will be at the festival too if you want to come and say hello! Roll on September!


  1. Fantastic line up of workshops - anyone going - book up quickly! I'll be there with the Omega Music stand, which is fun, but not being able to attend these things is a massive regret for me!

  2. I'd like to make a suggestion for future reference-why not a workshop on how to setup your uke? How to cut a nut, saddle, ideal string height, etc.. Maybe a more advanced class on how to level and dress your frets.

  3. I think that is a great idea! I am not however organising GNUF, but will put it to the team


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