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Uke Fest 2024

Friday, May 24 - Monday, May 27

Expand your skills, or capture the aloha spirit of the ukulele for the first time at the Ashokan Uke Fest! There’ll be workshops for all levels, a staff concert, group strums, a Camper Cabaret open mic, and lots more ukulele fun and camaraderie! You’ll meet new people, learn new techniques and styles, and gain confidence as a player.

This year’s welcoming & inspiring teaching artists: Lil’ Rev, Kelle Jolly, Victoria “Viggy” Kolasinski, Dani Joy, Perry Stauffer, and your host Ben Hassenger!

“Loved it all! friends, woodland walks, food, peaceful environment, and ukes! The schedule was well balanced.” 

“The staff was amazing and very accessible. They were able to switch things up on the fly. The location was incredible.”

“The workshops were beyond my initial expectations! The teachers were so generous with their instructions, patient, and extremely well prepared organizers.”

 Click here for a list of LAST YEAR’S classes. 2024 classes will be announced in March.

Can't attend the full weekend? Get tickets for the Saturday concert!

Uke Revue 2024

May 25, 2024

Treat yourself to a fabulous evening concert by six fantastic ukulele players. 7:30pm 

Tickets & Info

Lil Rev is an award-winning, Wisconsin-based ukulele author, entertainer, and educator. His penchant for deep-rooted American musical traditions keeps him busy teaching and performing at festivals, music camps, clubs, and folk societies all over North America. He’s regarded as a top-tier storyteller, music historian, and troubadour in the classic tradition weaving songs and stories seamlessly together during his shows. Rev’s ukulele style draws heavily on blues, jazz, and country roots, while also peppering his originals with timeless flare. While never one to wed himself to any single approach, Lil Rev is a jack of all trades, who’s playing style includes finger-picking, claw-hammer, chord-melody, single-string lead, and campanella approaches.
Vocalist Kelle Jolly is known as "The Tennessee Ukulele Lady". Kelle expresses herself through folk traditions of the South. Her first ukulele was a shiny green Kala with a dolphin on the bridge. She had her first ukulele lessons on Youtube fifteen years ago. She is the founder of Ukesphere of Knoxville, a ukulele group for all ages. As an ambassador of jazz, she has traveled to Muroran, Japan as Knoxville's Sister City representative at various jazz festivals and events.  Kelle Jolly is the host of  Jazz Jam with Kelle Jolly, an hour-long show that celebrates great local, national and international singers of jazz on WUOT 91.9FM. She is also the founder of the Women in Jazz Jam Festival. Kelle is a teaching artist on the Tennessee Arts Commission Roster. Kelle is a member of the Jonesborough Storytelling Guild. She is a National Association of Black Storytellers 2023 Black Appalachian Storyteller Fellow. Kelle plays Octopus brand ukuleles. 
Victoria Kolasinski, aka Viggy is a fresh face on the ukulele teaching artist scene. She's been playing the ukulele for over nine years, but started taking this musical wonder seriously about four years ago to get through the pandemic. She started posting on Tiktok, and before she knew it, thousands of people followed along and were asking for tutorials and more uke videos. Thus, Jiggy with Viggy was born! Viggy partnered with Flight Ukulele in April of 2021 and has collaborated with Yousician, Positive Grid, Blackstar, Openhagen, Artiphon, and Playtronica. She's also had one of her holiday fingerstyle arrangements featured on Ukulele Magazine's website. She specializes in fingerstyle arrangements of modern and classic pop songs and also teaches strumming, moveable chords, and percussive techniques for all levels in an easy-to-understand approach. She spends her days arranging songs, teaching private lessons, and making fun, educational, and kinetic ukulele videos on my social pages. Aside from ukulele, Viggy loves movies, bird-watching, a good cuppa cawfee, her boyfriend Jake, and cat Morty.
Dani Joy, a mesmerizing singer-songwriter, possesses a velvety voice that transports listeners into a world of Latin rhythms and vintage throwbacks. Her music, a fusion of genres, channels the spirits of musical greats like Norah Jones and Ella Fitzgerald. Accompanied by her ukulele, baritone uke and bass, Dani weaves haunting and delicate melodies, leaving a lasting impression.
Perry Stauffer, a multi-instrumentalist and co-founder of the Starlight Ukulele Academy in Portland, Oregon, is renowned for his prowess in American roots music, including blues, jazz, swing, and country. As an endorsing artist for Romero Creations Instruments, Perry's dedication to music shines through in every note he plays.

Together, Dani Joy and Perry Stauffer have become a harmonious musical force, blending their talents and inspirations to create a sound that is both sweet and powerful. They are the driving force behind the popular Reno-Tahoe Ukulele Festival and have been a part of numerous ukulele festivals and retreats throughout the USA and Canada. Whether performing together or teaching ukulele and bass through their Starlight Ukulele Academy and at festivals across North America, this duo continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of music.
Ben Hassenger has hosted and coordinated Ashokan Uke Fest since 2020, taking over after assisting Gerald Ross in previous years.

His musical career began in the early 1970s when he was arrested for playing “Smoke on the Water” on accordion and singing in animal sounds in the cafeteria at Lansing Community College. It was the start of something special, for sure. In 2009, on a trip to Hawaii, Ben stumbled upon Roy Sakuma’s legendary “Ukulele Festival Hawaii” and was captivated by the diminutive but dynamic instrument and the communal aloha spirit of the people playing it. His life changed that day.

He is now well-known as the “Ukulele Ambassador of Michigan”, teaching students, young and old, in schools, libraries, senior centers, and other community venues. Ben is also in charge of festivals such as Mighty Uke Day, Midwest Uke & Harmonica Camp, Uketoberfest at Interlochen, and the Michigan Ukulele Extravaganza. He co-founded the Lansing Area Ukulele Group (LAUGH) and established the Music is the Foundation 501(c)(3) to help bring the joy of the uke to Michigan classrooms and communities. Ben is also a prolific songwriter, with two of his songs about the Detroit Tigers enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

Ben especially enjoys working with beginning students; making them feel welcome and comfortable by teaching them basic chords, strums, and songs in a sociable, supportive, and successful manner.

Additional Info:

Payment/Cancellation/Refund Policy

You may pay in full or hold your place with a deposit of 25% per person if registering 4 or more weeks before camp. Full payment is due 4 weeks before camp begins. To cancel your camp registration, email events@ashokancenter.org

• We retain $50 per person for cancellations requested up to 4 weeks before camp begins, and for COVID-related cancellations made at any date.

• We retain your 25% deposit between 4 and 2 weeks before camp.

• We retain the full registration amount within 2 weeks of camp.

Schedule Overview


  • 4:30pm: Ashokan Hello Welcome Gathering
  • 5pm: Meet The Teaching Artists
  • 6pm: DINNER



  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30-12:30pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • 12:30-2pm: LUNCH
  • 6-7pm: DINNER



  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
  • 9:30-12:30pm: CLASSES & WORKSHOPS
  • 12:30-2pm: LUNCH
  • 6-7pm: DINNER



  • 8:30-9:30am: BREAKFAST
Pricing & What's Included!

You may choose to pay up front or pay a deposit and balance. Balance payment is due 4 weeks before the event.

Registration includes all activities and meals. Lodging is optional and camping is free.

Children under 5 attend for free (under 3 for Family Camp). Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Food & Drink

All meals are included. You may indicate your dietary restrictions when registering. We make every effort to include a range of allergen-free dishes and to inform diners of meal ingredients.

The Ashokan Center is licensed to serve beer and wine in Esopus Lodge (the main building). The bar is generally open from late afternoon to early evening. Sorry, by law, guests are prohibited from bringing their own alcoholic beverages into this licensed building.


LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 24 people and are designated women, men, or all gender. Place your belongings on a top or bottom bunk after you check in to claim it. Pillows are available, please bring your own blankets, sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are a small number of light blankets for those bunkhouse residents who are unable to bring one of their own. If you will need us to provide one, please let us know well in advance.

PRIVATE ROOMS: There are a limited number of private rooms that must be reserved in advance at extra charge. Pillows are available, please bring your own sheets, pillowcases, and towels. There are light quilts in each private room.

CAMPSITES: Camping is available with access to bathrooms and outdoor showers. Please park by your campsite only if you plan to leave your car in place for the duration of the camp.

What To Bring

If you’re lodging with us please remember to bring a blanket and linens (or sleeping bag), towel, toiletries, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and we have a small number of light blankets for bunkhouse residents who can’t bring one of their own. Let us know well in advance if you’ll need one.

Flashlight, recording device, camera (or maybe those are all your phone!)

Comfortable informal clothing for wet and dry weather. Some may also bring dressy, wild or fun clothing as well but that is up to you! There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the camp.

What Not To Bring
Please, no pets or drop-in guests.

Incoming mail

Your Name c/o Ashokan Music & Dance 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

Outgoing mail leaves each weekday at 4pm.

Music & Dance Camp Phone (845) 657-8333 x 3

Cell phone reception is available but spotty. Calls may be dropped but texts are reliably received.

High speed Wi-Fi is available in all buildings.

Directions & Transportation

Physical Address: Ashokan Center, 477 Beaverkill Rd, Olivebridge, NY 12461

DRIVING DIRECTIONS   Take NY State Thruway (1-87) to Kingston exit #19. From traffic circle take Route 28 West (toward Pine Hill). In 12 miles (shortly after Mobil & Citgo) turn left onto Reservoir Rd. Cross the Ashokan Reservoir, turn left at the Tee. Head down the hill, pass the first left (Rt 28A East) and merge onto 28A West. Take next left onto Beaverkill Rd. Follow Beaverkill for about one mile, then turn right into the Ashokan Center driveway and follow the signs.

AIRPORT  Albany, NY (ALB) is the closest major airport (about 1.5 hours away). Public transportation is available from the airport to the Kingston bus station, where you can take a taxi to Ashokan. Or contact us at least one month before your program begins for a list of people driving from the Albany area who may be able to give you a ride.

Covid Safety Policy

We recommend but no longer require everyone test for COVID-19 in the 24 hours before arrival. 

All refund requests due to a positive test, COVID exposure, or COVID-related concerns will be honored (less a $50 administrative fee).

We will provide onsite rapid testing upon request.

Additional FAQ's
CAMP WAITLIST & PRIVATE LODGING WAITLIST (only join if ADD CAMPER button at top of page is disabled or your preferred lodging choice is greyed out in that form.)

If there are no camp spots or private rooms available above, you may add your name to this waitlist. If space opens up we will contact you.

The Ashokan Center builds community through shared experiences in nature, history, music and art. We have hosted traditional Music & Dance Camps at our 385 acre nature preserve for over 40 years. In 2020 we learned how to host them online and in 2021 we began to reimagine how to gather in person once again.

Come join the Ashokan family to celebrate, learn, connect, deepen your music, make new friends, and brighten your day. Our events are open to all folks, all ages and all orientations.

M&D Need-Based “Pay it Forward” SCHOLARSHIPS We are holding 5 deeply discounted spots (includes tuition, meals & bunk) to provide a learning opportunity to gigging musicians and music, vocal, and dance teachers who will be sharing out their newly learned skills with a wider community. We prioritize new applicants each year and notify all applicants within 1 month before camp begins.


EMAIL: events@ashokancenter.org
CALL 845-657-8333 x3

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about camp!

Thank you to the Martin Foundation for supporting Ashokan Music & Dance Camps.