GNUF 2018 – Grand Northern Ukulele Festival report.

It’s about time I wrote this down. It’s been a month and I keep putting it off. It’s rather a big job. This is why I was putting it off. Although I was only there for two days, ther eis just too much to cover.  (I missed Friday night, Satruday Cabaret, fringe events like the pubs, cafe and bar.  I missed all the workshops and Mim’s stage etc)

Strap yourself in – this is a long read, but I urge you to watch the videos. These people are great.

SATURDAY

We arrived just before lunchtime it was well underway.
We headed downstairs to the “Unplug the Wood” – a small stage with big talent.

Hedge inspectors – the hosts of the weekend on the Unplug the Wood stage.

Check them out of Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thehedgeinspectors/
They were brilliants hosts, having done this for years. Funny, entertaining and talented. They filled in between acts and joined in with acts. Brillaint. Bought Krabbers Album on my way out.

 

3 Part Split – Great lads from Scotland. Mixture of punk and “just great songs” sung with gusto and a smile.

Dawn and her Uke – There was an ethereal quality about her covers. I expect great things in the future from Dawn.

Fake Plastic Tigers – this was the second time I saw Fake Plastic Tigers. A collection of Radiohead songs  played with ukulele, bass and vibraphone – What could be better?

I love the Fake Plastic Tigers. Check he out here https://www.facebook.com/fakeplastictigers/

Then we decided to have lunch and wander to the main stage for the afternoon

Katy Vernon – great way to star the afternoon. We missed the start, but caught the end.

Her website: HERE

Ooty and the Cloud – trio of talent here

Bryan Tolentino & Asa Young – actual Hawaiians playing ukulele and guitar. The playing!! The voices!! Heavenly. They travelled from Hawaii tpo play here and there were superb

Andy Eastwood – here’s talent. Andy is a great traditional Formby style player, but at GNUF he treated the audience to a composition with athe Didsbury string quartet.

The Water Gypsies – I LOVED THESE!! They are a group that lives on canal boats and play great music.

Mim’s Showcase – Mim comes from the US every year and is a major contributor to GNUF. She’s a remarkable lady with masses of talent. Mim has a stage outside and the best of the stage were up on stage giving it their all.

Bad Mouse Orchestra – all the way from Germany this trio of talent burst onto the stage with tunes from 1920s and 1930s. Utterly brilliant and another CD purchased.

Plastic Jeezus – a great fun band with their own songs to make to smile

Natasha Ghosh – all the way from the Netherland, this tiny lady was heart-breakingly good. She is petite and I didn’t realise she was 20. We sat next to her parents who practically fizzed with pride.

Kiki Lovechild – break from Ukuleles with a bit of cabaret. Kiki Lovechild reenacted a spy story.
Here’s the full show:

 

Andrew Molina  -another MASSIVE talent all the way from Hawaii. I’d put this young man in the same bracket as Jake Shimabukuro. His father played along next to him. Both were so cool and talented.

Hot Potato Syncopators – Utter madness!! UTTERLY BRILLIANT!! If music ahll still existed – I’d be down there weekly watching this hysterical act of juggling, ukulele, saw, ventriloquism and just pure madness. The finale was a tribute to the Dam Busters with thousands of paper aeroplanes being thrown and a bouncing bomb going around the auditorium. So funny.

Lucky people managed to get to the cabaret after this, We went to Tess’s house. See about more about Tess and her husband, Sam at the bottom.

SUNDAY

Again, we started downstairs at Unplug the Wood.
Grab it and Bang – an absolutely great start to the day with this cracking group.

ANDYDAN – this was remarkable. Forget Comedy, punk, Formby and Hawaiian music for 15 minutes and soak yourself in seriously good original music. This was 15 minutes where you could feel the cold of the mountains as Andydan took us up the Himalayas and onto Everest.

Dave and the Isaacles – proving that you don’t have to be old enough to buy a pint to take to the stage, Dave and the Isaacles gave their all in a performance that was warmly welcomed.

Findlay Napier – what a voice! All the way from Scotland, this brilliant singer songwriter played a selection of his songs for us. I loved it, bu couldn’t find a CD  at the merchandise stand.
Listen to the song, smile at the content and then (God bless him) learn how to play it

Jonathan and his 4 String Fiasco – all the way from the US, Jonathan showed us his talents. Great voice and played like a god. Well done that man!

Sadly I cannot be in two places at once and the main stage was calling.

Amelia Coburn – to my utter horror we missed Amelia. Thank God for youtube. If you can listen to this without goosebumps, hand in your ukulele, you are already dead. This diversion to youtube made writing this very long. Who is she? Where is she playing next?

Follow her here https://www.facebook.com/ameliacoburnmusic

Percy Copley – Percy is one of those that make the GNUF possible. He teaches workshops, write music, comperes the main stage, performs at unplug the wood, plays the main stage, travels the world spreading ukulele love and is an all round great fella. Search for him on the internet and you’ll find tutorials.

 

Robin Evans Esq. – like Tom Waits? Like Slide guitar blues? like Beastie Boys? You would love Robin Evans esq (world record holder).
He did a wonderful cover of Chocolate Jesus

Astraluna – she has inspired me to buy a loop pedal (when I can decide which one).

Peter Luongo – one of the worlds best ukulele tutors. Having taught a class or two over the weekend – they took to the stage and performed like pros. His infectious enthusiasm was electric. He never stops smiling, dancing or walking. Truly a great advert for the ukulele.

https://luongoukulele.com/

This is part of this group made up from the workshop attendees on Sunday.

Mr B The Gentlemen Rhymer – the last big act on Sunday before the finale, Mr B brought us the history or rap as only he could – Chap-style with a uke.

 

The finale was every act that could up on the stage for a strum along

That was it. One thing left to do and that was a group photo.

Another brilliant GNUF. Too much to take in. I’ll be back next year!

 

 

Click here

 

 

 

 

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