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Sold-out festival sees 225 ukulele players join forces

The volunteer-run event featured 14 multi-level workshop options and two evening concerts
Photo provided by Royal City Uke Fest.

“In the current climate, we can definitely use more opportunities to connect with each other in meaningful ways and music making is a great way to do it.” Festival Director Cynthia Kinnunen was thrilled to see another sold-out ukulele festival take shape this past weekend, with 225 enthusiastic ukulele players from around the region and even from as far away as Edmonton join forces at the third annual Royal City Uke Fest in Guelph, Ontario.

The volunteer-run event which this year ran over two days featured a mass ukulele strum and singalong of all 225 participants, 14 multi-level workshop options, two evening concerts featuring international teaching artists, and more. Local music stores, international luthiers, and unique vendors also had their wares on display.

“Some people might not understand just how powerful this instrument is for bringing people together,” shares Cynthia. “Where else can you find people ranging in age from 14 through 86 connecting with each other with something so positive in common? The ukulele offers people the opportunity to access music making regardless of age, ability or background.”

This year’s incredible teaching artist line-up saw performers from California, Michigan, and Ontario showing just what this instrument can do. Featured artists included Jack and the Vox (Victoria Vox and Jack Maher); Abe Lagrimas Jr.; Gerald Ross; Kevin Carroll; CROW (Tamara Williamson and Patty Ewaschuk); and Guelph’s own Olivia Borkosky.

A particularly special moment in this year’s festival was the giveaway of a $1500 handmade ukulele built specifically for the festival by Welsh luthier Pete Howlett who travelled all the way from Wales with his wife Helen to take part in the festival, including running one of the workshops to share his story as a builder.

Royal City Uke Fest would like to thank our 2019 Lead Sponsors: Scotia Events, Intrigue Media, Ohana Ukuleles, CFRU 93.3FM Radio, Octave Music Centre, Guelph Music, Jackie Curtis – Realtor, Holiday Inn Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre, as well as our other sponsors who have come on board to help make this event a reality. For more information about the festival, visit the website at