May 27-30, 2016
Uke Fest

Uke Fest photos by Stewart Dean View more on Flickr

Uke Fest
Friday, May 27-Monday, May 30, 2016

Announcing our fourth annual family-friendly weekend retreat for ukulele players of all skill levels! Workshops, concerts, dancing, jam sessions and lots of fun.

Tuition includes all classes, meals and the Saturday night Uke Fest Concert… or join us only for the concert (concert-only details and tickets are here).


Bring the family and enjoy a weekend of music and friends in a gorgeous natural setting. The surrounding area is rich in history – perfect for a learning vacation. Children are welcome to attend with a parent or guardian. Youth discounts and scholarships are available.


Scheduled are Victoria Vox • Paul Hemmings • Ben Hassenger • Gerald RossRachel MankeDel Rey  …Read instructor bios below.


Workshops to be announced!

Schedule – To Be Announced

While our 2016 schedule is being developed, you may view our 2015 Uke Fest schedule (PDF) as an example.

View a UkeFest video   |    View Uke Fest Photos


Tuition includes all classes, meals and the concert. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available. 


Register Now!


Adults $475 / $435 early bird!
Youth (ages 13-25):$375 / $355 early bird!
Children (ages 5-12): $325 / $310 early bird!
Parent/Guardian* (Meals, dance and concert, no classes): $295
Under 5 Free

Lodging is additional.

*Camp attendees under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We offer a special Parent/Guardian rate which includes meals, dance and concert, but no classes or lodging.

You’ll enjoy delicious meals by our Chef William Warnes, including dinner on Friday, three meals on Saturday and Sunday, brunch on Monday, beverages round the clock and sumptuous late night snacks. You may select regular, vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free meals. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

Payment/Cancellation/Refund Policy

You may hold your place with a deposit of $150. Full payment is due no later than six weeks before camp begins.

Partial refunds are available until two weeks before camp begins. To cancel, please log into the account you created when registering on Regonline and select the option to cancel. Cancellation fees apply.

Please refer to our official payment/cancellation/refund policy for important deadlines and dates for this workshop.


Enjoy the full Ashokan experience and choose comfortable onsite lodging as part of the registration process. More information and costs here.

What to Bring

  • If you are staying onsite: Sleeping bag or sheets, blanket, pillowcases, towels, soap, toiletries. There are light quilts in each private room and a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance and we’ll do our best.
  • Flashlight, camera.
  • Clothes and shoes for wet and dry weather.
  • Public consumption of alcohol is discouraged.

See this What To Bring/Camp Summary for more details.

Youth Pricing and Scholarship Fund

We’re excited about the growing interest in traditional music and dancing among young people–the future is in their hands. To help young people take part in Ashokan Music & Dance Camps, we offer major discounts for children and young adults and have established a Youth Scholarship Fund. Youth ages 13-25 can apply by filling out our Youth Scholarship Application.

Work Exchange

Work exchange positions are available – see the list of a available positions and tuition discounts here.

On the registration form, you’ll be asked for your top three choices, and will be required to make a deposit of $150 when you register. We will email you with the balance to be paid once we award the positions. No need to call us.

If you don’t get a position, you’re entitled to a full refund if requested right away.


Register for Uke Fest Now!

Please do not call to register or send in your check before registering online.

If you prefer to pay by check, or with a credit card by phone, you may select that option when you register.

You can pay in full now, or hold your spot with a deposit of $150 for each attendee until six weeks before camp begins, when full payment is due. If you are applying for a work exchange position, a deposit of $150 is still required.

To purchase tickets for the concert only, click here.

Instructors and Workshops

Gerald RossGerald Ross, Uke Fest Organizer and Instructor

Visit Gerald’s website

Gerald Ross is comfortable with just about every type of “roots” music there is, from western swing, bluegrass, Hawaiian, blues, jug band music, jazz standards, Tin Pan Alley, New Orleans rhythms to boogie-woogie, and he plays it all on guitar, lap steel, Dobro and ukulele.

He’s performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee and many others. Gerald won the Solo Artist Category of the 1993 WEMU Jazz Competition and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”

These days, Gerald is one of America’s best-known performers on, and advocates for, the ukulele and lap steel guitar; he’s released several CDs of ukulele music, published instructional materials, and is very much in demand as a camp instructor.

rachel manke colorRachel Manke

Visit Rachel’s website

Rachel has been playing the uke since before Y2K hit, before it was cool. She says that she does not play “hipster ukulele”. However, the claim to be playing “before it was cool” might render that point moot. She started on a $25 Hilo soprano and first connected to the uke world via the founders of the Ukulele Hall of Fame Museum. Rachel studied a bit with Joel Eckhaus (student of Roy Smeck) and wandered and dabbled here and there learning to play the darn thing.

She has a penchant for Tin Pan Alley, Old Time music and the fancy old-school uke chord solo flourish. She is a patient teacher whose biggest goal is to help people make good music, period. Favorite recent gigs include the Boston Ukulele Union Ukulele Melee, the Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival and A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor.

Rachel recently came out with her first album, “Other Duties As Assigned” which is available through Elderly Instruments, CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.

Victoria Vox

Visit Victoria’s website

VictoriaVox_park_lgVictoria Vox (née Victoria Davitt) wrote her first song at 10 years old, inspired by the sounds coming out of the car radio on trips into town from the country home where she grew up in rural Wisconsin. Vox taught herself to sing and play guitar, privately in her bedroom after hopping off the bus from the school’s concert band practice, secretly saving herself from the reputation as a band-geek. At 17, Vox spent a year abroad in France, bought a guitar, and pursued to express herself through her songwriting.

Vox went on to study music— songwriting in particular— at the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA) where she earned her degree in 2001. Shortly after stints in Nashville and London, Vox moved back in with her mom and began to tour across the US, singing at cafés and street-corners.

In 2003, Vox was given a ukulele and she fell in love with its limitations and simplicity. This lead to a more playful and melodic approach to her songwriting. As she continued to tour, ukulele-in-hand, the demand for a ukulele album grew. Vox recorded her debut uke album, “Victoria Vox and Her Jumping Flea”, in 2005 and toured Hawaii just before it’s official release in 2006. While in Hawaii, she landed an ‘ukulele sponsorship with KoAloha Ukuleles, which became the the tipping point to her becoming a household name at Ukulele Festivals around the world.

Vox is an award winning songwriter — including for songs she has written in French— (Independent Music Awards, 6-time WAMMIE winner, International Acoustic Music Awards, ADDYS, and has also donated songs to causes like the American Asbergers Association and the Duchenne Foundation. Her music has been used in indie films and featured on NPR’s “To the Best of Our Knowledge”.

Vox’s infectious pop-folk-jazz style has earned her fans who truly appreciate her art. She has fan-funded several albums and a songwriting project, where Vox hunkered down in 2012 to write a song a week for the year. The “52 Original Song Project” was preceded in 2011 with a YouTube “52 Cover Song Project” where she learned and memorized 52 cover songs.

In addition to her songwriting and ukulele playing, Vox has received praise for her “invisible” instrument: The Mouth Trumpet. She was invited to blow her own horn on the Jay Leno Show in 2009 and in 2015, Vox was featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal as a leader in the mouth trumpet “revival” and performed live on air on KMOX’s Charlie Brennan show. She employs her mouth trumpet during musical breaks at her live shows and also includes it on her studio recordings, along with the real trumpet (which she also plays).

Vox now resides in Baltimore, MD and continues to tour to Europe, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and across the US. Her 9th album, “When the Night Unravels” was released in January 2015.

Del Rey

Visit Del’s website

Del Rey is one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” Acoustic Guitar Magazine

“Whilst known for her amazing instrumental skills … it should not be overlooked that she always provides a very entertaining show, full of variety, drama and humour.”

“Del Rey is one of the most sublime modern guitarists. “ La Hora del Blues Barcelona

I started playing guitar when I was four. At the age of thirteen I was introduced to the world of traditional acoustic music, when a friend and I stumbled into a concert at Folk Arts Rare Records in San Diego. About 20 people were sitting on the floor under the record bins listening to a kid named Tom Waits play his original songs.

Lou Curtiss, proprietor of Folk Arts and artistic director of the San Diego Folk Festival suggested I quit wasting my time playing “Stairway to Heaven” and listen to some Memphis Minnie. He put me on stage with Sam Chatmon when I was fourteen, and introduced me to Lydia Mendoza and Howard Armstrong. Lou gave me recordings that still influence everything I do on solo acoustic guitar. I soaked up country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie. It was a musical education hanging around the record shop. Thirty years later, I became fascinated with the ukulele. I try to play the same kind of complicated rhythmic blues and ragtime on four strings as on six. I expect a lot out of the little instrument.

“Virtuosic in just the right way, which is to say, in order to realize a musical idea. A very nice unlikely blend of things, accessible, slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. ” (CD Baby review, “At The Ukeshack #1)

I play solo concerts world wide and also present a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women In American Music. I also collaborate and tour frequently with guitarist Steve James, Suzy Thompson and Adam Franklin.
I’ve contributed to projects in honor of The Mississippi Sheiks, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Johnny Cash. I occasionally write about music for various publications, including Acoustic Guitar. All of my albums are available from Hobemian Records.

Ben HassengerBen Hassenger

Visit Ben’s website

Ben works as a music facilitator with Special Education children and teaches ukulele and guitar to students and teachers in the Lansing MI Public School District. He plays guitar and ukulele in the bands Blue Jello and The Ukulele Kings and is the co-founder of the Lansing Area Ukulele Group (L.A.U.G.H.) and the organizer of the Mighty Uke Day Festival in Old Town Lansing and Intelochen’s Uketoberfest. He is also a prolific songwriter, with two songs about the Detroit Tigers enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Paul Hemmings

Visit Paul’s website

Viewing music through a wide-angle lens, Paul Hemmings utilizes the unassuming ukulele to fuse together elements of modern jazz, free improvisation, and American roots music. Based in New York City, Paul performs regularly as leader of The Paul Hemmings Uketet, the dynamic ukulele-bass-drum team he uses to interpret his own original compositions and renditions of modern standards. The group’s latest album, “The Blues And The Abstract Uke,” is a collection of aural snapshots that focus on the breadth of American blues music through the unique filter of the jazz ukulele trio.

Paul is a familiar face on the burgeoning ukulele festival circuit. With appearances at the Cairns Ukulele Festival in Australia, the New York Ukulele Festival, the Centrum Ukulele Festival in Port Townsend, WA, and many others, Paul has garnered a reputation for his compelling performances and his accessible workshops. By presenting technically in-depth material in an approachable manner, he has cemented a reputation as the “mad professor” of ukulele instruction. Paul is currently toiling away on a series of books and video tutorials for ukulele players of all stripes.

Playing the part of music educator is a role that Paul has been enjoying for well over a decade. Since 2001, he has been teaching students of all ages at the Third Street Music School Settlement in New York City, the nation’s oldest community music school. He has also held adjunct positions at Marymount Manhattan College, the National Guitar Workshop, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and the California Coast Music Camp, among others. Paul also holds a degree from the acclaimed Jazz Performance program at the New School University in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.


Stay in the loop!

Like our Ashokan Music & Dance Camps Facebook page for news and updates.

and like our Uke Fest Facebook page for Uke Fest updates.



Photos on the top of this page were taken by George Touchstone and Stewart Dean.

You can see more Uke Fest photos on the Photos page.