'Tropulele' brings dash of Hawaiian charm to Coast
GRAB hold of your hula skirts, because the Coast's fourth annual ukulele festival is back again this April.
Named 'Tropulele' for its tropical theme, this year's festival has promised everything from international artists to delicious food to workshops where you can learn almost anything.
Festival director Lynne White said the event, which is expecting up to 2000 people over the April weekend, grew from a small idea her and her husband Geoff had to begin a Coast ukulele club almost 10 years ago.
"(I wanted) to start a community club where people could come along
and pick up a ukulele and have a lot of fun," Ms White said.
"It became really popular very quickly with many members of the community, some of whom have never played any instrument before.
"It grew and grew and took us all by surprise."
As a long-time musician herself, Ms White said she had a particular love for the ukulele and could easily understand the instrument's appeal.
"It's small and portable, so you can take it anywhere," she said.
"People can just learn to play a few chords and sing along, they're quite easy to learn to play.
"They're just a lot of fun."
She said singing was a big part of the now 300-member strong club, but emphasised beginners didn't need any existing singing skills to join in.
Similarly, Ms White added everyone - musician or not - was welcome to jump in and jam at the festival.
"We've got hula-dancing workshops, singing workshops, drumming and ukulele lessons as well as great concerts," she said.
"Anybody can participate in everything that's going on."
Alongside her own band, Pineapple Crush, the festival will feature ukulele legends such as Craig Chee, Sarah Maisel, Kalei Gamino and Peter Moss.
Ms White said she was looking forward to showing off all the Coast had to offer for both locals and tourists alike.