The festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Cedar Center for the Arts in Lancaster.
Headlining the festival are three world-renowned ukulele musicians — Jason Arimoto, Fred Thompson and Cali Rose. [Read more on the headliners here.] The musicians will be leading workshops in addition to performing.
“We’ve built the festival to be accessible to anyone. If you’ve never played, we can teach you and will even have loaner ukes for you to use,” stated organizer Mike Lemos. “If you already play and want to learn more, we’ll have workshops for that too. And, of course, you can always come listen.”
Ukuleles, the small four stringed instruments from Hawaii, have strummed their way back into popularity in recent years. For Lemos, and countless other local musicians, the ukulele has been a catalyst to learn and share music, and to meet new people.
“Of all the musical instruments, few are as happy or cheerful as the ukulele,” “You can’t listen to or play one and not smile.”
The festival aims to bring the joy of ukulele to more Antelope Valley residents and to raise funds for Antelope Valley Ukes for Schools, a new non-profit aimed at bringing music education into the classrooms of local schools.
Lemos has already begun teaching ukulele to students in his wife’s Lancaster classroom. He sees the festival as a way to expand the program to every school.
“We’re already using an established and successful ukulele teaching program,” Lemos said. “We’re using the festival to raise money for more instructors and instruments.”
How to attend
Tickets for the inaugural Antelope Valley Ukulele Festival are available at avukefest.eventbrite.com. Event goers can pay as little or as much as they want for tickets. This pick your own price structure was set in an effort to make the festival available to everyone interested. Ticket prices include access to performances workshops.
“The festival is being staffed and performed by volunteers,” explained Lemos. “A little bit of the money will cover festival costs; everything else goes to the kids.”
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Ukulele Festival, benefiting AV Ukes for Schools (pending 501c(3).]