Ukuleles in the Time of COVID: No fest this year… but here’s a video Smile

Members of the Morristown Uke Jam play on the Green to conclude the 2019 NJ Uke Fest. Photo by Kevin Coughlin


Ukuleles always bring a smile. There should be lots of smiles this weekend in Morris Township.

Unfortunately, the pandemic canceled the Folk Project’s 2020 New Jersey Uke Fest.

So here is the next best thing: Video highlights from the first seven years of the festival…and something new.

ukefest 2017 logoMembers of the Morristown Uke Jam recorded a song for a dear friend who lost a loved one to COVID-19, and then was hospitalized herself with the illness.

Maintaining social distancing, the performers recorded their parts individually, at home. Then the tracks were shared over the internet and baked together, like a ukulele layer cake.

The song’s message of hope and gratitude has special resonance for me. I, too, caught the coronavirus.

I am grateful to be here. I am grateful for wonderful friends and family, who checked in on me, brought food and encouragement, and helped keep Morristown Green running when I barely had energy to walk. You are precious beyond words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Charlie Chaplin wrote the music. The lyrics still ring true.  This goes out to anyone who is hurting:

Video: Smile


And here is a playlist of happy tunes from previous NJ Uke Fests:

Click icon on top right to toggle through videos:


The 2019 NJ Uke Fest: Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click/hover on images for captions:

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