HIGHLY STRUNG: John Pascua got into the swing of things in his Hawaiian shirt at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Fest at Borumba Deer Park, Imbil.
HIGHLY STRUNG: John Pascua got into the swing of things in his Hawaiian shirt at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Fest at Borumba Deer Park, Imbil. Iain Curry

600 ukulele players strung along

ABOVE the little rural town of Imbil, the relaxing sounds of Hawaii have been filling the air.

With 400 ukuleles being strummed in unison, the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Fest has brought soothing melodies to the peaceful banks of the Mary River.

The three-day event has attracted hundreds of 'uke' players to Borumba Deer Park, where novices and

experts alike are enjoying concerts, workshops and camping to the tunes of the North Pacific isles.

Organiser Lynne Dand said Friday's opening night attracted 400 uke players, with the UkeCrazy People band starting a concert that lasted into the small hours.

"Saturday is about workshops with professional musicians from America, Canada, Melbourne and Brisbane," Ms Dand said as the gathered players listened to charismatic American uke teacher Jim D'Ville.

Some of the 600 ukulele players at yesterday’s Ukulele Fest workshops at Imbil.
Some of the 600 ukulele players at yesterday’s Ukulele Fest workshops at Imbil.

Mr D'Ville said his aim was to get beginners to play music by ear in a large group, as the beauty of the instrument was how simple it was to learn, and playing alongside others.

"Australia is the new hotbed of ukulele enthusiasm," he said.

"Each time I come here it is increasingly exciting due to the growing enthusiasm, best seen through a festival like this."

Close to 600 uke players enjoyed yesterday's workshops, including beginner Christine Carter from Brisbane.

"It's lovely playing with so many people, and everyone has been so encouraging and supportive," she said.

Annette Moore had travelled from Bundaberg to improve her skills, and said the festival atmosphere was as enjoyable as the learning.

"With last night's concert, sleeping under the stars and sitting around the campfire to the sound of ukuleles, it's just a great place to be," she said.

The ukulele workshops continue at the festival this morning, with a closing concert planned to finish at 5pm.



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