Las Cruces UkeFest Offers Weekend of Fun - SantaFe.com
Person playing ukulele outdoors.

Ukulele players from around the country will gather in Las Cruces, New Mexico, from May 17 – 19, 2024, for the Las Cruces UkeFest. Attendees for the festival will experience a concert performed by ukulele professionals, lots of outstanding workshops, a fun jam session, two open mics, delicious catered lunch, and a ukulele marketplace.

Las Cruces UkeFest 2024 features popular ukulele instructors Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Casey MacGill, Neal Chin, and Steven Espaniola. There will also be two classes taught by Las Cruces instructors: Joe Seltzer teaching percussion and Della Bustamante leading a vocal class.

Danielle Ate the Sandwich is one of the instructors who will teach and perform at the Las Cruces UkeFest.
Danielle Ate the Sandwich is one of the instructors who will teach and perform at the Las Cruces UkeFest.

What is a Ukulele Festival?

Ukulele festivals are popular around the world and give players the chance to take classes from ukulele professionals, attend a concert, perform at open mics, have fun at jam sessions, and spend time with fellow ukulele lovers.

Every festival includes a concert to showcase the talents of the instructors. The Las Cruces UkeFest opens with a Friday night concert that features the four talented ukulele instructors who will perform in a variety of genres. Ukuleles aren’t just for playing Hawaiian music, although that’s certainly one type of music you can expect. Folk, rock, swing . . . anything can be played on the ukulele.

The Las Cruces UkeFest includes a Saturday catered lunch and a vendor marketplace. There will also be a ukulele swap meet which gives attendees a chance to sell their “extra” ukuleles to others who don’t yet have enough. Ukuleles are like potato chips: you can’t have just one!

Why do you need more than one ukulele? There are four ukulele sizes that are all tuned G-C-E-A: the small soprano, concert, and tenor. The baritone ukulele is the largest and tuned D-G-B-E, like four strings of a guitar. There are also bass, resonator, banjo ukes, 8-string ukes, and ukes with a pick-up for amplification. Having more than one ukulele just makes sense!

Casey MacGill will teach workshops on Beatles songs and more at the Las Cruces UkeFest.
Casey MacGill will teach workshops on Beatles songs and more at the Las Cruces UkeFest.

UkeFest Concert

If you don’t yet play the ukulele but want to enjoy an evening of great music, you can attend the concert on Friday, May 17, at 7 p.m. Tickets are only $10 and can be purchased at the door. Children aged 12 and younger are free with an adult.

Ukulele Workshops for All Levels of Players

Ukulele festivals are perfect for all levels of players. During each time slot, three workshops are offered, giving attendees a lot of fun choices. The Las Cruces UkeFest offers beginner-level workshops throughout the weekend for those just getting started.

The line-up includes workshops on ukulele solos, strumming, songwriting, Beatles songs, a Sunday morning Gospel According to Uke sing-along, and much more. The full schedule of workshops offers something for everyone.

The Las Cruces UkeFest will take place at the Corbett Center at New Mexico State University.
The Las Cruces UkeFest will take place at the Corbett Center at New Mexico State University.

Where Is the Las Cruces UkeFest Held?

The Las Cruces UkeFest will be held at New Mexico State University. The Friday evening concert will be at the Atkinson Recital Hall in the NMSU Music Building. The rest of the festival will be on the third floor of the Corbett Center Student Union with plenty of room for all the activities.

Neal Chin will teach workshops for intermediate to advanced players at the Las Cruces UkeFest.
Neal Chin will teach workshops for intermediate to advanced players at the Las Cruces UkeFest.

It’s a Fun, Affordable Weekend

The Las Cruces UkeFest offers attendees the opportunity to take seven workshops, attend a concert, enjoy a catered lunch, and participate in open mics and jam sessions for only $145 (if you register by April 1, and only $170 after that). A special student rate is available for full-time students.

Register online at LasCrucesUkeFest.com by May 16 at 7 p.m. as walk-in registrations cannot be accommodated due to the catered lunch. A block of rooms is being held at a nearby hotel until April 16, so reserve your room soon.

Steven Espaniola will teach and perform at the Las Cruces UkeFest.
Steven Espaniola will teach and perform at the Las Cruces UkeFest.

Las Cruces Ukes

The festival is hosted by the Las Cruces Ukes, a nonprofit group of ukulele enthusiasts who have been performing in Southern New Mexico for more than 10 years.

Las Cruces UkeFest is sponsored by SantaFe.com.

This article was posted by Cheryl Fallstead

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