Strumthing sounded good at Dumfriesshire’s Ukulele Festival of Scotland

A multinational musical marathon was held in Dumfries over the weekend.

The third Ukulele Festival of Scotland featured 11 concerts and 31 workshops with more than 40 international performers.

Paul L Martin, one of the judges on BBC One’s All Together Now, was the compere for the bumper festival which was boosted by a revival in popularity of the instrument across the globe.

Stuart and Linda Butterworth, from Rockcliffe near Dalbeattie, who teach and perform Ukulele, centred the festival at the Easterbrook Hall , the Crichton Church and the Holiday Inn.

It attracted performers and supporters from across the world as well as home-grown talent and this year needed a camping and motorhome area to accommodate them.

Support throughout was given by the Purple Army – a group of around 55 volunteers who give up their weekend to ensure visitors and locals had the best experience.

Linda said: “We had people coming into the town from all over the world and as far away as Australia to watch and take part and the artists came from the USA, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada as well as the UK and homegrown talent too.

“There is a huge revival in the ukulele and that has shown in the sheer volume of people at the festival. It is the only festival of its kind in Scotland and is perfect for anyone to come along who wants to learn how to play, brush up their skills, or just sit back and enjoy the music.

“The ukulele is very easy to learn and very social. People often think of the George Formby-style music but the ukulele can be used to perform classical music to pop, folk to Scottish, and even musical theatre, all demonstrated at the weekend.”

The event also featured a mass jam at Caerlaverock Castle, yoga with Astrid and a trip to the Solway Riviera with the Mersey Belles for a Big Beach Busk.

Dumfries and Galloway’s Zoe Bestel was a huge hit at the festival again, along with Dukes which is made up of Dumfries and Galloway performers aged from 8 to 80-plus; and its Dumfries and Galloway Strummers and Singers Group.

Also popular was Canadian duo James Hill and Anne Janelle; Ukus In Fabula, from Italy; American Jim D’Villes; Opera-Lele and Tricity Vogue.

New this year were Stuart Fuchs, a multi-instrumentalist and musical healer on his first visit to the UK; Fred Sokolow, a renowned performer and educator from the US; Digga Digga Duo, from Brazil; The Naked Waiters acoustic band from Utah and The Morning Glories trio of Dutch ladies who sang beautiful harmonies.


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