Learn to smile again, at the New Jersey Uke Fest, Aug. 24-25

NJ Uke Fest 2018 poster


From the Folk Project:

Join us for the 2018 New Jersey Uke Fest, the Folk Project’s sixth annual ukulele festival!

The festival will be held at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey in Whippany, NJ, on Friday, Aug. 24 and Saturday, Aug. 25, with an outdoor jam on the Morristown Green on Sunday, Aug. 26.

We will have everything you’ve come to expect from a uke fest: Concerts, workshops, vendors, open mics, jams and more!

Performers include Victoria Vox, Abe Lagrimas Jr., Gracie Terzian, and The Aloha Boys and Alan Distajo, all of whom also will be presenting workshops.

We are also happy to include Marc Dutton, Debi Velasco, Tyler St. Clare, Mihal Gross, Dave Kleiner and FiL Wisneski as additional workshop presenters.

A Full Fest ticket is a full immersion into the world of ukulele, starting with a concert on Friday evening; then on Saturday, six hours of workshops, a second concert in the evening, and still time for jamming on Sunday.

A Saturday Full Day ticket allows you to join us for all the workshops and the evening concert. A Workshops-Only ticket gives you a chance to learn from some of the best ukulele instructors around. A Concerts-Only ticket gives the non-player the opportunity to participate in the uke-tastic event that is the New Jersey Uke Fest!


Victoria Vox

Victoria Vox is a ukulele-innovating, award-winning songwriter and performer of engaging chansons tinged with jazz crossed with pop mixed with folk. Victoria’s newly released 10th album, Colorful Heart, is whimsical, eclectic, and full of heart.

Victoria Vox
Victoria Vox

Victoria’s melodic and cleverly written songs may incorporate a loop pedal and bass effect on her ukulele or improvisational solos on her unique “mouth-trumpet,” making her a veritable one-woman band. Victoria’s motto, “Have Uke, Will Travel,” has taken her all over the world, performing her original music. She has also opened for Jackson Browne, Tom Chapin, Leo Kottke, and Cheryl Wheeler. Originally from Green Bay, WI, Victoria studied at the Berklee College of Music and joins us from Costa Mesa, CA, by way of France, England, Nashville, and Baltimore.

Abe Lagrimas Jr.

Abe Lagrimas Jr.
Abe Lagrimas Jr.

Abe Lagrimas Jr. is a musician, composer, educator, and author who plays the drums, vibraphone, and ukulele. As a solo ukulele artist, Abe is a Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award (Hawaii Music Award) recipient and has released multiple albums. Abe studied at Berklee College of Music and has worked with artists such as Eric Marienthal, Eric Reed, Kamasi Washington, Dontae Winslow, Barbara Morrison, Michelle Coltrane, Jake Shimabukuro, and Kenny Endo. He has toured internationally. As an educator, Abe has authored Jazz Ukulele: Comping, Soloing, Chord Melodies and the first ukulele ensemble curriculum for school music programs.


Gracie Terzian

Gracie Terzian
Gracie Terzian

Gracie Terzian is a singer, songwriter, ukulelist, and actor on stage and screen whose recently released debut EP, Saints and Poets, reflects a “cool, sophisticated surface” of jazz as “a deep-dyed romantic tells her tales of modern love with quiet delicacy and an inborn musicality.” A native of the Washington, DC area now living in New York City, Gracie is known in ukulele circles for playing unusual instruments, including the harp-ukulele and electric ukulele. Gracie’s songs reveal her as an assured vocalist, singing with a clarity and precision that never obscures her genuine warmth.

The Aloha Boys with Alan Distajo

The Aloha Boys and Alan Distajo
The Aloha Boys and Alan Distajo

The Aloha Boys, Glen Hirabayashi and Irv Queja, joined by Alan Distajo, love to kanikapila or play an acoustic down-home, backyard-style Hawai’ian music, a style which includes everything from the very traditional to contemporary songs and styles. Originally from Hawai’i, they joined musical forces in the Washington D.C. area in 1996 while playing music for their children at Halau O ‘Aulani, a school of Hawai’ian culture. The Aloha Boys’ voices blend in a nahenahe (soft pleasant) style. Their music, performed around the world, brings them and their audience back to a lifestyle that is unique and precious to Hawai’i.


Workshops, Vendors, and the Open Mic Contest

Workshops being offered this year range from Blues and Jazz all the way to the Beatles and Hawaiian music. There will be technique workshops on chord shapes and melodies, harmony, and theory. Many of our workshops will be able to accommodate all levels of players from the barest beginners through the most accomplished players.

Other non-musical workshops include tattooing your ukulele and uke maintenance. For the non-ukulele players who accompany uke players whereever they go, hula and lei making workshops will be offered.

We turn the lobby of the Ukrainian Center into a vendor marketplace showcasing all things ukulele, including ukulele straps, capos, tuners, poi balls, hula dolls, jewelry to wear while performing and of course, ukuleles. The Ukulele Kids Club will be joining us to help spread the word of all the good they do with music therapy in hospitals nationwide.

One of the best-loved events that we have at the New Jersey Uke Fest is the Lunch Time Open Mic Contest. While enjoying lunch, attendees are given the opportunity to participate in an Open Mic Contest. The winner of the contest will get to perform a song during the Saturday evening Concert.


Full Festival:
Advance (through Aug. 23): $122
Door: $132
Full Festival (Fri/Sat Concerts, Workshops, lunch)

Saturday Full Day (Workshops, Sat Concert, lunch)

Workshops Only (Workshops, lunch)
Advance: $92
Door: $102

Friday Concert
Advance: $20

Saturday Concert
Advance: $20

All attendees to the New Jersey Uke Fest are welcome to join the performers and staff for Saturday lunch and dinner. Both will be a hot buffet available as either meat or vegan. (Lunch is included with a ticket purchase; dinner is optional $18.) Those who wish to bring their own food are also welcome.

General Schedule:


7:00-7:30pm pre-fest performance by members of the Morristown Uke Jam

7:30-10:00pm – Concert featuring Abe Lagrimas Jr. and Gracie Terzian

10:00-11:00pm – Play-along jam


8:15-9:15am Registration

9:15-Noon – Workshops

Noon to 1:00pm – Lunch and Open Mic Contest

1:00-5:30pm – Workshops

5:30-7:30pm – Dinner Break

7:30-10:30pm – Concert featuring Victoria Vox and The Aloha Boys and Alan Distajo, and the Open Mic Contest Winner


10:30am Jammin’ on the Green with the Morristown Uke Jam Meet-up Group

All Friday and Saturday events take place indoors at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey, 60C North Jefferson Road, Whippany, NJ

Sponsors and Vendors

The Folk Project, Morristown Uke Jam, Morristown Inn, Kala Ukuleles, Strumstick, Sam Ash, Morris Arts, Funky Frets, Dewdrop Ukuleles, The Hug Strap, Shubb Capos, DR The Handmade Strings, Mara Levine Jewelry, Leis & Things

The Folk Project is a non-profit 501C Corporation whose mission  is to present high-caliber folk music performances, dances and instructional workshops for the public and members; to encourage development of musicianship, performance, and dance skills in the Northern New Jersey area and provide interesting social and learning activities relating to traditional and participatory folk music and dance.

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