Hundreds flock to Pontefract for Ukulele extravaganza

Rob Collins from Hebden Bridge with an array of Ukeleles.
Rob Collins from Hebden Bridge with an array of Ukeleles.
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From George Formby to Paul McCartney, generations of popular musicians have spoken of their love for the ukulele and its timeless sound.

And this weekend hundreds of devotees to the tiny guitar-like instrument travelled from all over the world to Pontefract to celebrate its heritage and history.

Among those on the line-up for the two day Grand Northern Ukulele Festival were Canadian Manitoba Hal, Belgian Ukulelezaza and Frenchman Yan Yalego, as well as fans and players of the instruments from all over the country.

Mary Krell, festival director, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that she and her fellow organisers had chosen to stage the inaugural event in Pontefract as they wanted to pick somewhere different and help bring something positive and different to the town.

“I think it has gone really well, I certainly haven’t heard anyone complaining yet, we have had some really interesting people here.

“We have had people from as far afield as North America, Scotland, places all over Europe.

“So many people have volunteered their time and it was great to see so many people getting free tuition.”

Mary said that plans were already afoot for next year’s event, with Leeds among the places under consideration for a potential venue. e certainly do want to try and stage it again next year.

“It is just such a great instrument that you can start up on really quite quickly, without having to take lots of lessons.

“We want to inspire more people to play it.”