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A musical weekend retreat for all things ukulele!

Workshops for all levels beginning to advanced, concerts, jam sessions, and lots of ukulele fun! You’ll meet new people, learn new techniques and styles, and gain confidence as a player. 

Tuition includes all classes, great meals, and a Saturday night concert by our world-class staff. If you can’t make the weekend, be sure not to miss this concert. 

See more information below about the staff, schedule, tuition, work-exchange positions, lodging, and more. Children and teens are welcome to attend with a guardian. Youth discounts and scholarships are available. 

OUR AMAZING 2021 UKE FEST STAFF:


STEVEN ESPANIOLA

It’s rare when an artist arrives on the scene offering a refreshing new spin on a traditional genre of music.  Steven Espaniola is that artist. Raised in Aliamanu, Hawai’i and now residing in the California Bay Area, Steven is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in Ki Ho’alu (Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar), ‘Ukulele, Upright Bass, and Leo Ki’e Ki’e (Traditional Hawaiian falsetto). Of Hawaiian, Filipino, Chinese and Spanish decent, his ethnicity is as diverse as his unique sound which preserves the integrity of the traditional with a flourish of the modern. In 2007, Steven’s musical efforts earned him the recognition of “New Artist of the Year” at the Hawai‘i Music Awards. Steven is very active in the ‘ukulele community and continues to teach across the country at many of the top ‘ukulele festivals.

 

Instructional Video

Performance Video

DANIELLE ATE THE SANDWICH

Danielle Ate the Sandwich is the stage name of pop-folk songwriter, Danielle Anderson. Getting her start at open mic nights in Fort Collins, CO, Danielle now lives in Kansas City, MO, and has been touring the country since 2009, cultivating an online following from her homemade videos on Youtube and her unique style of social media marketing that brings her music to the audience she refers to as “Fanwiches.” Her songwriting is emotional, raw and vulnerable, but Danielle rarely takes herself too seriously. She’s known for her quirky lyrical twists, and delivering witty and honest stage banter in her live shows. Danielle Ate the Sandwich has released 7 full length albums of originals songs, created over 200 Youtube videos, and performed and taught at coffee shops, theaters, and ukulele festivals around the world. Danielle has opened for Mumford and Sons, Suzanne Vega, toured with Pomplamoose and Peter Mulvey, and in 2015, wrote the soundtrack to the Emmy nominated HBO documentary, “Packed in a Trunk: The Lost Art of Edith Lake Wilkinson.‘ 

Instructional Video 

Performance Video

CYNTHIA KINNUNEN

Cynthia Kinnunen is a passionate music educator, performer, songwriter, and advocate for music education and community music making. Classically trained in piano, she’s also learned a number of other instruments over the years, including bassoon, oboe, flute and, of course, ukulele. Her influences range from Baroque to big band, 80s one hit wonders to classic punk, electronica to folk. Her teaching and performing on ukulele – both as a solo artist and part of her duo, Transit Lounge – have taken her around the world to festivals such as Tropical Winter Ukulele Fest in Finland, Ukulele Festival of Scotland, Port Townsend Uke Fest in Washington State, Midwest Uke Camp in Michigan, and more. She teaches private lessons, group classes, a formal adult learning ukulele ensemble program, is a sessional lecturer at the University of Guelph, and is Director of Engagement for Ukulele in the Classroom as part of the James Hill Music Team.

 

Instructional Video

Performance Video

AARON KEIM

No stranger to the ukulele world, Aaron has been teaching ukulele techniques and performing at festivals since 2004. As an educator with a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and a master’s degree in Musicology, his true talents lie in his ability to adapt instruction to fit a wide range of learners and learning styles. Aaron is an ambassador for old time folk music in the ukulele world, adapting banjo and guitar techniques to the ukulele (including playing in the “clawhammer” tradition). His YouTube instructional videos have gained a worldwide following and have led to teaching and performing opportunities in N. America, Europe and Australia.  Aaron is also a luthier, building instruments for Mya-Moe ukuleles 2011-2018 and as Beansprout Musical Instruments since 2007 and performs with his wife Nicole in the duo The Quiet American.

 

Instructional Video

Performance Video

NEIL CHIN

Award-winning artist and Maui, HI native Neal Chin, has been both an ‘ukulele educator and performer over the course of his musical career of 20 years. His clear and direct enthusiasm for music has come to life in countless workshops, concerts, and private instruction. Since then he has been nominated for the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for ‘Ukulele Album of the Year two years consecutively for ‘Ukulele Paintings and The Spotless Mind in 2017 & 2018, started his own ‘ukulele practice, and has toured across the US. Neal currently lives, teaches, and performs in Seattle, WA. 

Here's Neil performing "You Are the Sunshine of My Life"!

BEN HASSENGER
2020 Uke Fest Camp Coordinator

Ben Hassenger’s 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.

Ben now works as a music facilitator with Special Education children, teaches ukulele to students and teachers in Michigan school systems, seniors at Prime Time in East Lansing, as well as group and individual ukulele lessons at Elderly Instruments, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Michigan State University’s Community Music School. He plays guitar and ukulele in the bands Blue Jello and The Ukulele Kings and is the cofounder of the Lansing (MI) Area Ukulele Group and the organizer of the Mighty Uke Day festival, Interlochen’s Uketoberfest, and the Midwest Uke Camp in Olivet . He 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’s a fun and involving teaching artist with a variety of original songs about dogs, food, love, Michigan, and the other important things in life.

“Ben Hassenger has the ability to teach music and particularly the ukulele in a fun, thoughtful, and thorough way. His students learn quickly and his classrooms are always filled with smiling faces and positive energy. Ben is most definitely the ‘minister of morale’ at the festival. His upbeat personality and positive attitude add so much to the weekend and make everyone feel at home and welcome.” —Gerald Ross 

Here's Ben performing "Deer Lake Road" with The Ukulele Kings!

Friday
3 – 6 pm: Arrival and check in.
Follow signs to check-in. Please unload and then return your car to the main lot immediately. If you need your car nearby for disability or health reasons, please request a special parking permit.
6 – 7 pm: Friday Welcome Dinner
7 – 8 pm: Orientation and meet the teachers
8 – 10:30 pm: Group Ukulele Strum with Ben Hassenger and Cynthia Kinnunen
10:30 pm: Late Night Snack & Jams

Saturday
8:30 – 9:30 am: Breakfast
9:30 – 1 pm: Workshops
1 – 2 pm: Buffet Lunch
2 – 5:45 pm: Workshops
6 – 7 pm: Dinner
8 – 10:30 pm: Instructor Concert
10:30 pm: Late Night Snack & Jams

Sunday
8:30 – 9:30 am: Breakfast
9:30 – 1 pm: Workshops
1 – 2 pm: Buffet Lunch
2 – 5:45 pm: Workshops
6 – 7 pm: Dinner
8 – 10:30 pm: Student Cabaret (Open Mic)
10:30 pm: Late Night Snack & Jams

Monday
9:30am: Monday Farewell Breakfast  

Tuition includes all classes and activities, dances, concerts, and meals. Lodging is additional, see below. Work exchange and youth scholarships are available.

Adult: $555
Youth 13-25: $435
Child 5-12: $375

Children under 5 attend for free. Campers under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. We offer a limited number of Parent/Spouse registrations (for those accompanying a full participant) at a rate of $375 which includes meals, and evening dances/concerts, but no classes. 

We recommend online registration. If someone else registered you and paid for you, only that person may view and edit your registration. If you prefer to pay by check or with a credit card by phone, please call (845) 246-2121 to register.

You may pay in full, or hold your place with a tuition deposit of $150 per person when you register. If making a deposit, full payment is due no later than Friday, Apr 30, 2021 (4 weeks before camp begins). A $25 charge will be added to any remaining balance after this date to cover additional administrative costs, and full payment, rather than a deposit, will be required for any new registrations after this date.

Partial refunds are available until 2 weeks before camp begins. We retain $50 per person for cancellations up to Friday, Apr 30, 2021 (4 weeks before camp begins). We retain $150 per person for cancellations made between Friday, Apr 30, 2021 and Friday, May 14, 2021. We retain the full registration amount for cancellations after Friday, May 14, 2021 (2 weeks before camp begins).

All meals are included in the camp price. You may select omnivore, no red meat, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free meals. 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.

Enjoy the full Ashokan experience and choose comfortable onsite lodging during registration. 

LONGHOUSE BUNKS: Rooms hold up to 24 people and are designated women, men, or mixed 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 towelsThere are light quilts in each private room.

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

A limited number of work exchange positions are available to partially defray the cost of the camp. 

Indicate your top 3 choices of work exchange positions during registration. If registering before the full payment deadline, make a deposit of $150 to hold your registration. If you receive a work exchange position, your balance will be adjusted before your final payment is due. When registering after the full payment deadline, pay in full at checkout and your award will be in the form of a refund. Contact us by phone (845) 246-2121, or email office@ashokan.org for details.

Breakfast and Lunch Preparation (Discount: $140)

Saturday & Sunday from 7:30–8:30am and from 11:30am–12:30pm. Monday from 8:00-9:00am. Shift may include dining hall set up & kitchen cleanup.

Breakfast and Lunch Clean Up (Discount: $140)

Saturday & Sunday from 9:30–10:30am and from 2–3pm. Monday from 10–11am.

Dinner Preparation and Clean Up (Discount: $140)

Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 5–6pm and 7–8pm

Dining Hall Clean Up (Discount: $170)

Friday 7-8pm. Saturday & Sunday 9:30–10:30am, 2–3pm and 7–8pm. Monday 10am-11am.

Snack Every Night (Discount: $140)

Set out snack, replenish as needed & cleanup snacks & dining hall: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11pm – 1am

General Cleanup Crew (Discount: $140)

Every day, as needed: Sweep, mop, pickup trash, move chairs and tables; help with clean up after Saturday night
concert; and Final Clean Up on Monday 12-2pm.

Sauna (Discount: $230)

Light and tend sauna Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings beginning at 9:30 pm. Final clean up on Monday 12-2pm.

We believe in fostering a love for traditional music and dancing among young people. The future is in their hands! In addition to our child and youth pricing, anyone 25 or younger may also apply for a Youth Scholarship. Please click here to apply!

PERSONAL ITEMS: Sleeping bag or blanket and linens, towel, soap, flashlight, earplugs (for light sleepers). There are light quilts in each private room and 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 and we’ll do our best. Hand-held recorders are welcome. We don’t supply musical instruments but some can be borrowed.

CLOTHING: Prepare for wet and dry weather. Most people wear comfortable, informal clothing. You are encouraged to bring dressy, wild or fun clothing for dances and dinner, but that is up to you! Soft-soled shoes are best for most dancing. Hard smooth-soled shoes are best for clogging and step-dancing. There’s no laundry on site so bring enough clothes for the week.

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 (845) 246-2121 Wed & Thurs noon-8pm
Ashokan Center (845) 657-8333 standard business hours

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.

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.

BUS  Trailways (800)858-8555 runs buses from Port Authority terminal in Manhattan to Kingston, NY (2 hours).

TAXI  We provide one taxi pick up at the Kingston bus station at 2:40pm on the first day of camp. Contact us at least three weeks in advance for a seat in the taxi (if still available). If you arrive at a different time, or do not reserve in time you’ll need to hire your own cab. We recommend Kingston Kabs 845-331-8200. (About $45.)

RIDES AND CARPOOLING 
 If you’d like to carpool, or offer a ride, please contact our office at least one month before the program begins and we’ll help coordinate a ride.

This camp includes a Saturday night concert by our world-class staff. If you can’t make the weekend, be sure not to miss this concert. 

< Join the Uke FestFacebook Group to connect with people plan to attend and share photos and memories afterwards!

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