Sussex Ukulele Festival | Ropetackle Arts Centre

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Sussex Ukulele Festival

Sunday 15th September 2019 - Starts 11.30am



The Summer of 1969

If you like fun days out and uplifting music, you are going to love this! Back by popular demand, Ropetackle’s very own Sussex Ukulele Festival combines top performers, workshops and guest-led jams in celebration of this small but powerful traditional instrument.

Cast your minds back to Woodstock, the moon landing, flower power, love, peace and Abbey Road and dress to impress in your best 1960s gear. This year’s festival features The Mersey Belles and Beaus, The Hedge Inspectors, Matthew Quilliam, Penny and the Howletts and Tania Pieri. There will be jams from the HOT (Hastings Old Town) Ukulele Group, Ems Valley Strummers and our very own Quayside Ukes.

There will be plenty of workshops with comprehensive and diverse learning techniques to suit absolute beginners (see below for details) and those with more experience (from £5 each), a raffle with a beautifully-crafted uke as top prize, kindly donated by Noah Ukes, and the chance to buy a top-quality uke of your own from Matt’s stall in the foyer.

More event details will be added as they are confirmed.*


*The festival’s official opening night is on Saturday 14th September on the groovy and cool Houseboat Verda.


11.15 Doors open

11.40 – 12.05  Sir Robert Woodard Academy (Foyer)

The enthusiastic and very talented children kick off the day.

12.15 – 12.55 Ems Valley Strummers Jam (Foyer)

David Pycroft’s brilliantly-led group start the day’s communal activities with beautifully rehearsed and arranged songs from their comprehensive songbook.

13.05 – 13.35  Matthew Quilliam (Auditorium)

With his debut at the festival, this young man will amaze you with his ukulele and banjolele prowess. He’ll also be hosting a comprehensive workshop.

13.40 – 14.20  Quayside Ukes (Foyer)

This well-renowned local Ukulele Jam will be leading you in their very own style.

14.25 – 14.45 Tania Pieri (Foyer)

This composer, songwriter and jazz ukulele performer will be playing all her original compositions.

14.55 – 15.35 The Hedge Inspectors (Auditorium)

Featuring Mike and Caroline Krabbers; a very accomplished duo who will get your feet stompin’ and your voices singing!  Mike is also offering a workshop where you learn a song you can play along to during their performance.

15.50 – 16.30  Penny and the Howletts (Foyer)

Sit back and listen to one of Brighton’s contemporary Ukulele bands bringing their unique style of music to the festival.

16.45 – 17.30  Mersey Belles and Beaus (Auditorium)

We are proud to headline this internationally acclaimed quartet who will harmonize and play to an incredible level.  This performance is a prequel to their Chinese tour.

17.30 – 18.15  Last Songs (Auditorium)

Quayside Ukes incorporating The Smiley Boys and Friends will lead you in the last jam of the festival with a selection of Woodstock songs and much loved and rehearsed tunes like Fisherman’s Blues and Knocking on Heaven’s Door, keeping the tradition alive as laid down by our fab founder Lawrie Stevens.


Please note that bookings can only be done by calling the Ropetackle Box Office on 01273 464440 or in person at the Centre so we know you are already signed up to the festival.

Please email: if you have any questions.

11.45 – 12.15 Picking with Rick Irvine £5
Rick will give you a really good insight to picking. You will soon get to grips with picking styles helping you to be able to pick out a melody in most tunes.

12.25 – 13.10 Route 145 with Mike Krabbers of Hedge Inspectors £5
A unique vocal and ukulele workshop led by Mike will be ‘Route 145’. How to find chords for jamming without songbooks and you’ll learn a song to perform with Mike & Caroline in their Hedge Inspectors performance.

13.15 – 14.00 Strumming Patterns with Pete Clark £5
Get those strumming hands going to different rhythms. Pete will get you to recognise different rhythm patterns and get you playing them in no time.

14.10 – 14.55 Playing Triplets with Matthew Quilliam £5
Matthew will have you strumming triplets and looking at other different strumming techniques to suit different genres.

15.00 – 15.45 Shapes with Liam Capper-Starr £5
Liam focuses on expanding playing beyond the first four frets. Aimed at established beginners and intermediates who can play Bb, but haven’t yet ventured out beyond there much.

15.55 – 16.40 Performance builder by Mersey Belles and Beaus £5
Rosie and Danielle will share their knowledge of performing and will teach singing as a group, using dynamics and adding vocal harmony. Showing you how to use your voice as an instrument and building your confidence generally as a performer. Ged and Liam will spend some time with those of you who prefer strumming to singing, to better improve how you approach a song through your playing technique.


What's On - ukulele


Richard Durrant: Ukes & All

Wed 26th Feb
Music, ukulele, Meal available
Wed 26th Feb £17.00

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