Buskers to take to the streets for popular ukulele festival

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH - Credit: Archant

The unique sound of the ukulele will ring through Norwich this weekend as the city hosts its fourth regional festival to celebrate the musical instrument's revival.

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH - Credit: Archant

Uke East will return to Norwich from today (Friday, September 22) with a series of performances by local artists and leading professionals, as well as workshops to help musicians wow listeners.

Use of the famous instrument, which was popular in the early part of the century, has declined in recent years as pop music has taken over.

But in recent years it has seen a revival, with Uke East growing to a full weekend of events and hundreds of people standing to watch its 'big busk' in the city centre.

Tim Colman, chairman of the festival, said: 'It's become quite a phenomenon but you struggle to put your finger on why.

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH - Credit: Archant


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'It's a great instrument and vehicle for making music for other people. If you can't sing or are not in a choir, it's a very good way of sharing music.

'It's a very simple instrument to play and get going with. An awful lot of schools are teaching children how to play the ukulele now, instead of the recorder.

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'It's very portable and easy to transport. A huge number of well-known, popular songs can usually be done on the ukuele.

'When we start up in the street, there are always songs people have heard but they've never heard them on the ukulele before.

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH

Last year's Norwich Ukulele Festival. Picture: EMMA SMITH - Credit: Archant

'The festival has grown from being a quite a local thing to be being recognised around the UK. We even get people from Australia and Austria, so people are coming from far and wide.

'It's very friendly and inclusive. There's really something for everyone.'

The festival will start in the Coachmakers Arms on Friday night with an open mic event and a 'strum-a-long',

Saturday from noon features workshops of singing, ukulele technique and song-writing, while in the afternoon there will be performances as Aubrey and Zelda host the Moonlight Lounge including sets from Himazas, Blue Luna, the Norwich Ukulele Society and Zip Pain.

The evening, from 6.30pm, features ENNÉ, Peter Moss, AD Cooke, Biscuithead and the Biscuit Badgers and The Poor Boys of Worcester, hosted by MC Desmond O'Connor.

The weekend ends on Sunday morning with a mass busk in the streets of Norwich.

For more information, visit https://uke-east.co.uk/

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