Ukulele music festival set for town

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International musicians will descend on Pontefract later this year for the first Grand Northern Ukulele Festival in October.

The festival, which takes place on October 12 and 13, will see workshops and performances at Pontefract Town Hall and St Giles’ Church.

Kris Ball, one of the festival organisers, said: “We wanted to do a festival in the north of the UK, because all the other ukulele festivals are always tend to be down south or abroad.

“We looked at different locations, like Morecambe, but decided on Pontefract because we wanted a good central location and the town is beautiful.”

The festival will be a chance to learn new skills and build instruments, and organisers are working with local groups Pontefract Miners’ Recreational Charity and Faceless Arts to include the community in the festival.

The festival, which has received funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England, has three aims, making things, making connections and sharing knowledge.

Kris added: “We’re aiming to create a festival that’s a bit different, we want this to be a tremendously fun and unique event for everyone.”

Acts confirmed for the festival include Derby-based Phil Dolemand and Ian Emmerson, Sheffield’s The Anything Goes Orchestra, Wigan’s Chockinfeckle and the UK’s leading expert on the George Formby style of playing, Mike Warren.

International artists inlcude Canadian blues man Manitoba Hal, Belgian ukulele wizard Ukulelezaza and The Uke Box from the Netherlands.

Workshops include sessions on Hawaiian style ukulele, open tunings, building one-stringed guitars and washtub bass, as well as a paint your own ukulele.