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Creativity . . . Geraldine Ukulele Jam members perform during the Big Open Mic session during the first official day of the 2019 Geraldine UkeFest. PHOTO: GRETA YEOMAN

by Helen Holt

Ukulele enthusiasts are coming together for the ninth Geraldine Ukefest this weekend.

The festival begins today with music in cafes and a gathering at Barker’s which is already sold out.

The four-day festival will also include buskers, concerts, ukulele workshops (for beginners and advanced), and a church service on Sunday when the hymns will be accompanied by ukuleles.

Festival organiser Hugh McCafferty said playing ukulele brings people together.

“Playing and singing together is something quite special.

“You get a real community feel.

“It is a participation-focused event.

“Ukulele has become quite a popular instrument to learn, and I believe it’s because they’re a light instrument, and quite cheap, and easy for people to learn.

“They also aren’t too loud, so you can get many people playing together without making a huge amount of noise.

“You see a lot of people who didn’t get a chance to learn music as a child, or had piano lessons but didn’t continue.

“And this is an easy opportunity for them to play music and enjoy it.”

Mr McCafferty said he expects to see 300 ukulelists travel to Geraldine from as far as Auckland and Dunedin.

“It’ll be great to see people come to Geraldine.

“The festival brings a great positive energy to the town seeing the cafes and shops full, plus there will be banners which gives it a festive look.”