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Whether you’re already part of surprisingly robust local ukulele community, or just uke-curious, the annual Vancouver Ukulele Festival is worth adding to your to-do list this weekend. The ukulele is arguably the cutest instrument on the music scene, but it’s also one of the most beginner-friendly, and the fest is the best opportunity to get up close and personal—and maybe even strum a few bars yourself.
The three-day celebration of music takes over the Croatian Cultural Center this year, as the Rio theatre is too small to accommodate the growing ukulele following. Festival creator Daphne ‘Ruby’ Roubini, who also performs in jazz/folk duo Ruby & Smith, moved to B.C. from London and started sharing her passion to music by founding ukulele school Ruby’s Ukes in 2009. Today, it’s considered the world’s largest school outside of Hawaii.
Tonight’s Gala concert will bring together uke-beginners and well-known professionals, including Grammy-Award-winning virtuoso Daniel Ho, Ukulele Zen founder Stuart Fuchs and the Californian “King of Swing” Casey MacGill. Saturday and Sunday, the stars of the concert will share their secrets during a series of workshops, featuring bass ukulele, finger-style ukulele and “rock n roll for your uke” lessons suited for different levels.
Date: March 22, 7 pm-10 pm
Venue: The Vancouver Croatian Cultural Centre
Price: $35 at the door
Date: March 23 and 24, 10 am to 6 pm
Price: $299 for a Festive Pass for the entire weekend