The Summer Strum Festival, curated by Wirral Ukulele Orchestra, is back for its third year and promises to be bigger and better than ever. This year bands from as far away as Sweden will congregate at Hoylake Rugby Club, Carham Road, to entertain for free in the name of the ukulele!
The festival kicks off on the evening of Friday 7th July with a social jam and free gig in the clubhouse with Liverpool band Splintered Ukes playing their eclectic mix of pop tunes. The evening is a non-ticketed event and open to all.
Saturday and Sunday see 30 local and not so local players/bands taking to the main stage from 12pm with another 20 or so playing in the open mic tent. Names include the festival’s hosts Wirral Ukulele Orchestra and regulars, Neston Strummers, Ukulele Club Liverpool and Chester Ukes; The Midnight Daisies, Parker:Schultz, Grateful Fred’s Nuclear Deterrent, Mighty Flea and Acoustic Milkfloat are just a few of the brilliantly named groups harking from Merseyside. From further afield we have Zahra Lowzley, a virtuoso player from Scotland, Ukiverse from London and the fabulous Trellebelle Ukulele Orchestra from Sweden; we are also really excited to have Nicki Walton travelling from Kent, David Swann from Yorkshire and Mike Flaherty (The Boy with the Greyhound Tattoo) from Wales to join in the songwriters spotlight alongside local girl Alison Benson, Zahra and Chester’s Wild Pear (two thirds of Ooty and the Cloud).
“The range of music is wide – you will be surprised. There is truly something for everyone. You’ll be up and dancing all day long and that’s a promise”, say festival organisers Pat Ross-Davies and Emma Owen.
The festival began in Chester five years ago as a day of ukulele togetherness and to show the community just how accessible the ukulele is; that you can play anything on this versatile little instrument, not just George Formby songs. It moved to Hoylake to accommodate the growing number of ukulele bands and to allow for camping on the rugby pitch.
Through the festival we hope to promote wellbeing and inclusion through music and new to 2017 are open ukulele jam sessions – warming up with local ukulele clubs Wirral Ukulele Fanatics and Ma Egerton’s D’Ukes of Hazzard from 10am on Saturday and Sunday mornings respectively. Anybody is encouraged to pick up one of our spare ukes and to play along to all the songs we know and love. “Just maybe it will spur someone new to join a group and reap the health benefits that that offers”, said Emma. There will also be open mic in the clubhouse on Saturday night for absolutely anyone who wants to get up and play a song and/or tell a story.
Alongside the music a wide range of stalls will be selling food and drink, jewellery, leather goods, instruments, cakes and much more; children can get their faces painted, listen to stories and play on the space hoppers!
The underlying ethos of the festival is to promote wellbeing in the community. Everybody is encouraged to pick up an instrument, to talk to ukulele players – and just maybe be inspired to join a group and discover the feel-good factor of the ukulele.
Thanks to fundraising endeavours by the ukulele community and the generosity of local businesses (notably Handy Scaff who provide and sponsor the main stage) the festival remains free to enter and promises something for all the family. As well as two music stages we have camping, storytelling, face painting, food and merchandise stalls, space hoppers, great beer, workshops and more.
The music itself is wide-ranging and often surprising:
“When people think of the ukulele they instantly think of George Formby. What our festival and all those around the world show is that the ukulele is a versatile little instrument and you can pretty much play anything on it from heavy metal to classical. People are always pleasantly surprised!” said Emma Owen, one of the Festival’s main organisers.
Raffles held over the two days promise some truly wonderful prizes donated to us from local businesses. All raffle proceeds and any profits made over the weekend are given to our chosen charities: Wirral Hospice St John’s and MIND.
So come along from 12pm and let us put a smile upon your face.
For more information visit the website: www.summerstrum.com or the facebook page: Summer Strum Hoylake
Liverpool Acoustic is the only website of its kind in the UK. It was founded by Graham Holland in April 2008 as a central resource for the vibrant and exciting acoustic music scene in Liverpool and the Greater Merseyside area. The website publishes news from the local acoustic music scene, previews of upcoming events, reviews of music releases and gigs, and the Liverpool Acoustic Spotlight podcast. This content is available for free via email subscription. The diary lists acoustic events including festivals, theatre concerts, folk clubs, showcases and open mic nights.
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