The Big Christmas Ukulele Party – Blackpool, 10 December

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A fantastic way to get in the festive mood, our Big Christmas Ukulele Party promises fun, learning, music and bright lights! Based at the four star Hilton Hotel, on Saturday 10 December, the event begins with a workshop for all with the fabulous Mersey Belles at 2pm.

After a restorative (and complimentary) drink of mulled wine and a mince pie, we’ll all play together in a Christmas themed Big Sing & Strumalong. Next, something a bit special as outside the hotel, we’ll find HMS Blackpool and the Western Train, two beautiful, illuminated trams that we’ve specially chartered to take our party up and down the prom for a ukulele experience to remember.

When we’ve played and promenaded in our private trams, it is back to the hotel, where there’s time to spruce ourselves up before an evening glass of bubbly (on us), followed by an excellent four course gala dinner, provided to us by the Hilton chefs.

Every ticket holder will get a Christmas present from us, we’ll have completed a present wrapping marathon in the preceding weeks, and while we’ll not say exactly what the present is, you may be able to guess what gift you’d received at a ukulele event (a tip, it isn’t socks!).

Once our lovely Christmas meal is polished off, we’ll have an evening of music, with sets from Feckless, Fuddle and the Fossil, the ever-entertaining Dead Mans Uke and the wonderful Mersey Belles. Maybe in Santa outfits (not with beards!)

This will be a lovely festive break with our usual crowd of super-friendly folk, mingling, making new friends, having laughs and playing some tunes together. Add in that exciting feeling of being in Blackpool you used to get as a kid – while all the time remaining comfortable in four star surroundings and private chartered trams. Lovely!

We have day tickets on sale at £75, including tutorial, mulled wine, mince pie, Big Strum & Singalong, private tram tour, welcome bubbly, wine on tables, ‘themed present worth £30, four course meal and an evening’s entertainment. Or, for £250 based on two sharing on a bed and breakfast basis at the four star Hilton, including a ticket each too. A perfect festive mini-break packed with ukulele fun!

** Single Rooms… The Hilton doesn’t have any. If you book early and direct with them, you can get a reasonable rate on a double or twin which makes the price not too bad – when you buy a day ticket too. There are also many hotels nearby for less money (and less stars!). The day ticket doesn’t give you bed and breakfast at the Hilton, but does give you access to EVERYTHING else ***


The Uke Express 2016 – 6 November – One Train, 300 Ukes

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The green light is on again for the Uke Express 2016! Three hundred intrepid ukulele players will join the Uke Express on Sunday 6 November 2016, in Pickering, North Yorkshire and take the North Yorkshire Moors Railway steam service to the seaside town of Whitby.

After free time on the seafront to enjoy fish and chips and some sea air, it will be back to the train to sing and strum our way back to Pickering.

As well as the option for the train trip only, there is also a combined ticket to allow you to enjoy a Saturday evening ukulele concert before the Uke Express, as well as another uke gig after the train on Sunday evening.

Performing for those who opt for gig tickets will be Andy Eastwood, the multi instrumentalist and variety entertainer, Phil Doleman and Ian Emmerson, Chonkinfeckle, Dead Mans Uke and Feckless, Fuddle and the Fossil. To accomodate everyone with ample space, two concerts will take place in two venues simultaneously on both Saturday and Sunday evenings. You can book a blue ticket or an orange ticket – the only difference being the order you see the concerts.

So, three options.

* Train Only, depart 10am Sunday 6 November, return at approximately 4pm.
* Blue Ticket, Memorial Hall concert Saturday, Pickering WMC concert Sunday. Includes Train.
* Orange Ticket, Pickering WMC concert Saturday, Memorial Hall concert Sunday. Includes Train.

If you are arriving on Friday night or Saturday morning, there is an optional big strum & singalong hosted by Feckless in the beautifully renovated Memorial Hall on Saturday afternoon, from 2.15 until 3.45pm. There is a small charge to cover the room hire and finite space, so tickets will be issued.

Phil Doleman will deliver a workshop on Saturday afternoon from 4 until 5pm – this is completely optional and will have a charge of £12 per person. It’ll be good as he’s such a patient and impressive teacher!

As a special offer, if you purchase ‘The Uke Express’, fine art print by Stephen Warnes, you can get this 20″x16″ memento for half the normal price, meaning it is just £13.50 delivered (pictured left). Only when purchased with Uke Express tickets!

Newcastle Under Lyme Community Orchestra

Newcastle Community Orchestra are holding a ‘Night at the movies’ on 8 June 2016 at the Newcastle Methodist Church, Ryecroft, Newcastle,ST5 2AD.

Music includes Pirates of the Caribbean, The Great Escape, Star Wars and many more.

Their Facebook page is at NULCO Newcastle under Lyme Community Orchestra.

Do you play an instrument? Why not join them.


Jolly night at the Jolly Potters

On the first Wednesday of every month an acoustic night is held at the Jolly Potters in Newcastle – and on the third Wednesday of each month they meet at The Museum pub – and last night I went to listen to them again.

There are some very good musicians amongst them – to be fair, none are bad – and have many types of stringed instruments playing; guitars, mandolins, banjos, fiddles etc.. There is a ‘drummer’ and others play the harmonica as well.

Their music choice is very wide ranging including some self-penned songs.

One person is particular turned up last night for the first time and gave a great performance of ‘Vigilante Man’.

You don’t have to play, or sing, if you go along to see them. There are no mics, no backing tracks, just acoustic playing and singing.