Well. Last week was quite amazing. It was the ukulele invasion, ukelocalypse...whatever you want to call it, ukes were all over the place.
On Wednesday July 22, Dave took our mobile booth to the first ever (and hopefully annual) Ukulele Festival at the Strathmore performing arts center in North Bethesda, MD. The attendance was estimated at 1,500-2,000 for this outdoor festival. There were performances by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, James Hill, Victoria Vox and Bruce Hutton...plus some other special appearances by uke groups that Cathy & Marcy have been helping. While I wasn't personally there, the pictures kind of say it all. Happiness and uke coolness abounded:
The crowd enjoys a lovely evening. Maybe we could call it a uke-in?
Marcy Marxer leads a performance of a local Brownie troup she's been working with.
The Riders--a group of 30 seniors from the Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring ukes it up!
Dave Eisner takes a moment out from uke-selling to pose. Most of the inventory we sent over to the booth sold...Dave said people were still shopping at the booth after darkness fell and they had to pack up by headlights!
(the above photos are all courtesy Paul Sharratt. You can see his full Flickr set here.)
The following day, we hosted uke virtuoso James Hill for a workshop and concert. We had so many people signed up for the workshop (22...might be a record!) that we had to move it to a larger space up on Carroll Ave. Below is James and participants doin' their thing. There were varying levels of uke skill in attendance, but James really had something for everyone, and all the participants seemed to enjoy themselves.
Afterwards, James raced over to Seeker's Church for a "Next To the House" concert. While we don't have any pictures/video from that event, I thought I'd post one of his most popular YouTube videos here. Most people's response to James is "I had no idea the ukulele could be played like that!" He definitely blows peoples minds with his virtuosity, and is really showing that the uke is not just a novelty.
Judging from our ukulele sales in recent years, we've guessed that there is a uke revival in this area...but it was really cool to see it in full force. All the uke players had a great time meeting new friends, hanging out and talking shop. It really is an instrument for everyone, from kids to seniors.
Hopefully we'll do it again next year!