Cancelled: The 2020 New Jersey Uke Fest in Morris Township

NOT THIS YEAR! Social distancing precludes The New Jersey Uke Fest -- and the One Uke Wonders--from doing their thing in 2020. Photo by Susan D'Alessandro
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Toss another festival on the barbie.

The New Jersey Uke Fest will be skipping Year Eight, because of the pandemic.

“We had a great lineup,” Mark Schaffer of the nonprofit Folk Project said on Thursday. “But the public’s safety is paramount. When the corona coast is clear we’ll start playing our ukes together.”

New graduates of hula workshop perform at the 2019 NJ Uke Fest. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Even if, as everyone hopes, life regains some sense of normalcy by the weekend of Aug. 28-30, 2020, Schaffer continued, it’s uncertain how many members of the ticket-buying public will feel comfortable venturing into workshops and concert audiences again.

And signing performer contracts now, amidst such doubts, adds “tremendous financial risk” to the equation.

“It doesn’t make sense, there’s too much at risk,” he reluctantly concluded.

The annual annual event, which had been scheduled to return to the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship in Morris Township, draws upwards of 150 ukulele players and fans from across the northeast. See highlights from 2019.

Other Folk Project activities, including the Friday night Troubadour Acoustic Concert Series at the Fellowship, also have been cancelled during the coronavirus crisis. Gov. Phil Murphy has prohibited all gatherings larger than 50 people.

Still to be determined: The fate of the Folk Project’s Acoustic Getaway weekends, set for May 15-17 and again in the fall, at a retreat near Stony Point, NY.

Stay tuned for possible online musical events, Schaffer said.

While a festival of ukuleles surely would have brought much-needed cheer to our neck of the woods, Schaffer promised sunny days eventually.

“We’ll do it next year,” he said. “We’re all set.”

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