Ukuleles will hit Lake Tahoe at inaugural festival | SierraSun.com

Ukuleles will hit Lake Tahoe at inaugural festival

Special to the Sun

Michael Powers is part of vast uke contingency that will strum your socks off at the Lake Tahoe Uke Fest.

The diminutive ukulele is enjoying wild popularity that spans every age group.

On Sept. 13 and 14, uke players will invade Kings Beach in significant numbers, as the inaugural North Lake Tahoe Ukulele Festival comes to town. This will be the third ukulele event in the region produced by promoter Douglas Reynolds.

He admittedly has become addicted to, "The sound of dozens of smiling people strumming, allegedly in unison, on instruments that once may have been in tune."

Doug's ongoing goal is to constantly expand the audience of this happy instrument through festivals, retreats and by giving lessons. His first festival took place in 2009, in his home town of Minden, Nev. and was called the Tahoe Area Uke Fest.

"It was always my goal to move it to the Lake," he said, "but the Nugget in Sparks generously sponsored a move to their facility and it became the Reno-Tahoe Uke Fest, although it had never taken place in either location. The Reno Uke Fest is now held each spring, and I am thrilled to finally begin building a fall festival at the Lake!"

OFFICIAL UKE

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The festival's official uke fest portion will take place Saturday, Sept. 13, beginning at 9 a.m., culminating with a Sunset Concert that will wrap up at 8 p.m. On Sunday, a contingency of uke players will establish a beachhead, jamming among friends and family of Tahoe Fall Classic racers participating in the O'Neill SUP & Paddleboard Race Series.

The North Lake Tahoe Ukulele Festival at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach and will feature workshops for beginners and current players, a vendor marketplace and live outdoor music overlooking the beach.

The Sunset Concert featuring Michael Powers and Steven Espaniola will demonstrate the breadth of music modern ukulele artists are playing. Powers, a jazz and blues guitarist who has played with such legends as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight and Herbie Hancock, fell prey to the ukulele's call when he shared billing with uke virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro. He now has a parallel career dazzling festival audiences with his own high-energy shows. Espaniola, a former Hawaiian Music Award Winner, will add the traditional sounds of the Islands to the evening.

For tickets or more information, visit http://PlayUke.net or call 775-220-0995.

Want more uke?

North Lake Tahoe Uke Fest, Sept. 13-14

Old West Uke Train, Oct. 18-19

So Cal Uke Academy Halloween Mtn. Retreat, Oct. 30-Nov. 2

Desert Uke Fest Palm Springs, Feb. 6-8, 2015

Reno Uke Fest, April 30-May 3, 2015

Visit http://PlayUke.net