2nd Austrian Ukulele Festival

I know I’m a little late to the party, but setting up my blog took a bit longer than I expected (been working on it since June), sorry for that. But I still want to do a little recap of the 2nd Austrian Ukulele Festival, even though it already happened in May.

The festival takes place in Graz, which is the second largest city in Austria. It’s a beautiful and very green city, and I always enjoy beeing there. It’s small enough, that you can walk most of the distances, otherwise public transport will get you anywhere (even up the “Schlossberg” where the festival main venue is located).

 

Friday: Open Mic Beat Box Session

The festival started on Friday May 25th at Kaisers Smoked BBQ with the already famous (even though only in its second year) open mic beatbox session. People could sign up to play, sing and were accompanied by a beat boxer. (I was too chicken to sign up…)

 

Saturday: Workshops

Saturday was the first official festival day and started out with some awesome workshops. It’s always tough for me to choose and book workshops cause I feel like I want to do all of them. But since I can’t be in two places at once, I had to choose 3 out of 7 workshops on Saturday.

First one was “The Mersey Belles Experience” with the fabulous Mersey Belles. They are drop dead gorgeous, funny and have amazing voices. Also their workshop was one of the best I ever attended. We learned the song the song “Price Tag” by Jessie J in a beautiful version with focusing on the singing part. (I played it little while ago on my Instagram)

Here’s a short video from the workshop:

 

Second and third workshop on Saturday were held by Andy Eastwood.

First one was “Focus on Formby”… Fun but waaaaay to hard for me. My right hand is not very cooperative when it comes to fancy strumming and picking. I do however still sometimes dream about DU DUD DUD DUD DUD DU – so who knows, maybe someday my subconscious will send the right signals to my hands.

Second workshop was “Technique Troubleshooter” where we discussed some common right and left hand issues a lot of people had, how to properly hold a ukulele without a strap and other questions that came up. I have to admit, I almost always play with a strap – it’s just so much more comfortable for me and my playing sucks without one (unless I’m sitting super comfy). I don’t feel guilty about it. It works for me and that’s all I care about.

Here’s some short videos from the workshop:

 

After the workshops it was time to start the short, but steep hike up “Schlossberg”. I was wearing my super cute pineapple shirt and could not resist to get a picture of me with that amazing view over the city center of Graz 😉IMG_20180526_141251_276

Saturday: Concerts

At the main venue, “Kasematten Bühne” all concerts took place. It was a great mix of different styles of music with of course, lots of ukuele <3

It started out with Baby Barrique, followed by the amazing hosts Kaisers Ukulelen Combo and the lovely Mersey Belles. Afterwards one of my favorite acts of this years festival the Ukulele BoBoys came on stage. I even snatched a selfie with them:

fbt

Andy Eastwood and the fabulous Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain completed the set for Saturday night. It was an amazing first day and here are some pictures and videos of the artists that played and some impressions from the venue:

 

 

 

Sunday: Workshops

After a short night, Sunday started out with more workshops. First one was with Andy Eastwood again called “Make me Musical”. Second one was “Blues Basics” with the lovely Elisabeth Pfeiffer.  As you might have seen in my blog post Fighting the fraud police during my Ukulele Retreat it’s always a pleasure to join her workshops.

 

Afterwards the moment I’ve been waiting for all weekend. A workshop with James Hill and let me tell you, it was worth waiting for. I thought the Mersey Belles workshop was great, but this one just topped it all. It was called “Choice of Cuts” and about finding notes that sound good for improvisation.

Here’s a short video from the workshop:

And some pictures (yeah, I got a selfie with James Hill).

 

Due to some room issues, the workshop took place on the main stage – which got me this awesome selfie with a view from the stage ;):

dav

Sunday (and Saturday): Open Mic

At the main venue, there was a little side stage for open mic performances between the main acts. So many really good and very brave people played there. Again, I was too chicken to sign up…

I did get a great video of the world famous “Salatbar” though:

Sunday: Concerts

Sunday had some great concerts in store as well. It started with Elisabeth Pfeiffer, the Ukelites and Chilifish followd by the fabulous Ukus in Fabula and the League of Ukulele Gentlemen. They were here the year before as well and have a great show with lots of sing a long classics. The main act was James Hill and his wife Anne Janelle. They played some amazing songs together and had an altogether delightful and charming set.

Here’s some pictures and videos from the performances on Sunday:

 

 

 

I had such a great time and met so many nice and lovely people. Can’t wait for next year.

xoxo Nikky

 

 

 

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