Ukuleles aplenty at Uke East festival in Norwich

Sophie Madeleine

Sophie Madeleine - Credit: Archant

It may evoke images of Hawaii and grass skirts, or George Formby and cleaning windows.

The Norwich Ukulele Society meet at the York Tavern in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Norwich Ukulele Society meet at the York Tavern in Norwich. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Simon Finlay

But the humble ukulele is establishing itself further in Norwich – with an entire festival dedicated to the instrument.

Uke East is set to be the first event of its kind in the county, with leading ukulele players from across the country gathering to raise money for charity Musical Keys.

Artists performing will include Brighton-based singer songwriter Sophie Madeleine, leading ukulele player Phil Doleman, trio ArteMiss and local bluegrass and roots band The Toots.

Festival organiser Nic Rigby said: 'We are hoping to bring some of the best musicians and songwriters from around Britain to Norfolk and at the same time help the wonderful Norwich charity Musical Keys.

Phil Doleman

Phil Doleman - Credit: Archant

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'The festival should be a great celebration of music and not just a ukulele festival.

'To get Sophie Madeleine, who has never played Norwich before, should be a great attraction, while Phil Doleman is one of top ukulele players in the country and will also be running a workshop.'

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Uke East will be headlined by The Toots and will raise funds for charity Musical Keys, which uses music to provide support to children with special needs.

Liam Capper-Starr and Gemma Cullingford of the Norwich Ukulele Society are also on the bill.

The society was formed in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength, playing everything from Johnny Cash to Kyle Minogue, Tom Jones, the White Stripes and Outkast.

Its members are regular performers at Folk East, the Norwich Beer Festival and BBC Radio Norfolk's Treasure Quest Live at the Norwich Playhouse.

Guests are invited to Hellesdon Community Centre for the Uke East festival on Saturday, October 25.

More acts on the Uke East bill will be announced nearer the festival.

Tickets are available now at the early bird discount price of £10 and available at the or via the Norwich Ukulele Society which meets every other Sunday from 5pm at the York Tavern in Leicester Street, Norwich.

For further information contact Nic Rigby by email or on 07905 329 810.

For more on Norwich Ukulele Society, see

To learn more about Musical Keys, see

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