The annual gathering of ukulele enthusiasts that began in 2014 as the Belfast Ukulele Picnic hits its fourth year as the Belfast Ukulele Fest. Whatever you call it, it runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Steamboat Landing, on the waterfront, with workshops in the adjacent Belfast Boathouse.

Admission is $5 at the gate, and workshops are $15 each; workshop tickets can be purchased in advance at This year’s guest headliner performers are Rachel Manke and Stuart Fuchs; they also will lead workshops, as will local uke gurus Frets Halligan and Jeff Weinberger.

Manke has been called one of the brightest stars in the ukulele universe and has appeared on stages that range from the Ashokan and Funky Frets uke fests to Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” A master of the old-school uke chord solo flourish, Manke lives in Virginia and has a penchant for Tin Pan Alley and old-time music.

Fuchs is a performing and teaching artist who has presented his innovative and holistic music workshops at uke festivals across the United States and Canada. In his concerts, he also plays classical guitar, Native American flute and didgeridoo. Fuchs has taught and led clinics for all ages; and has arranged and performed the gypsy jazz guitar music of Django Reinhardt for full symphonic orchestras.

The Belfast Uke Fest is hosted by the Belfast Parks & Recreation Department, in partnership with Our Town Belfast and the Midcoast Ukes. The local Midcoast Ukes began under the direction of Halligan. This year, Weinberger has taken on the leadership role of Midcoast Ukes and is actively serving on the Belfast Uke Fest Committee. He teaches locally at Bay Chamber Concerts and Music School in Rockport and at the Belfast Guitar and Ukulele Workshop in Belfast.

As always, the Belfast Uke Fest welcomes all ages. There will be some vendors, uke and food, and a whole lot of strumming. Community ukulele groups will perform through the day on the main tent stage and in the park’s gazebo. For more information, visit raised will support the continuation of the Belfast Uke Fest into its fifth year in 2018. In addition to admission, there will be a ukulele raffle and festival T-shirts for sale.

Following is the performance and workshop schedules, subject to change; sets are 30 minutes in the tent and 15 in the gazebo unless otherwise noted. Workshops run an hour.

Main Tent

10 a.m.: UkesROCK (Rockland)

10:45 a.m.: Oxford Hills

11:30 a.m.: Flukes (Falmouth)

12:15 p.m.: Rachel Manke (one hour)

1:30 p.m.: Grand Lake Stream Strummers

2:15 p.m.: Stuart Fuchs (one hour)

3:30 p.m.: Bucksport Bluegrass Ukes

4:15 p.m.: Merry Plinksters (Farmington)

5:00 p.m.: Midcoast Ukes (Belfast, leads into a group jam)


11:15 a.m.: Winthrop Uke Group

12:00 p.m.: Dexter schools ukulele group

1:15 p.m.: Common Good (Southwest Harbor)

2:00 p.m.: Common Good

3:15 p.m.: Waterville Library Uke Group

4:00 p.m.: Frets Halligan

4:45 p.m.: open


10:30 a.m.: Stuart Fuchs — Rockabilly

11:00 a.m.: Frets Halligan — “Meet Your New Friend” Intro to Uke

1:15 p.m.: Jeff Weinberger — Easy and Practical Music Theory for Ukulaliens

3:30 p.m.: Rachel Manke — Finesse and Flourish for Fun