Players from 27 Merseyside ukulele bands will take part in a ‘megabusk’ to celebrate World Ukulele Day on Sunday, February 2. All funds raised will go to Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.
The singalong session at 3pm on the John Lewis steps will be the highlight of a day of free ukulele gigs on busking pitches throughout Liverpool ONE and inside the Bierkeller bar, where there will also be an afterparty hosted by radio DJ Janice Long.
Shoppers are being invited to come along and join in the fun by singing along to three megabusk songs: Three Little Birds, You are My Sunshine, and Stand By Me – and of course dig deep and donate towards a good cause.
Organisers the Merseyside Ukulele Group, made up of bands from across the region, say they want to spread the wellbeing, connection and joy that playing music together can bring.
Among those set to take part is community band Florence and the Ukes, set up just six months ago at the Florence Institute in Toxteth in a bid to encourage wellbeing through music in Liverpool 8.
Its members will join some of Liverpool’s best-known established ukulele bands for the megabusk, including local music festival favourites the Splintered Ukes, the D’Ukes of Hazzard, known for their weekly uke jams in Ma Egerton’s pub, The Secret Ukulele Band from Crosby, Wirral acts the Broken Strings and the Two of Us, and Liverpool Ukulele Orchestra which has been going for more than a decade.
The ukulele has a proud history in Liverpool with Beatle George Harrison once writing: “Everybnody should have and play a ‘uke, it’s so simple to carry with you and it is one instrument you can’t play and not laugh.”
Florence and the Ukes founders Denise Buchanon and Helen Tweedle say they have witnessed players going from strength to strength, with some too shy to sing or play in public at first, now finding a new lease of life through the band.
Helen said: “We’re really looking forward to World Ukulele Day, it’s a great idea to get everyone together and raise money for a good cause. We’ve only been going for six months but in that time it’s been wonderful to see our members grow in their musical ability and confidence.”
The 2020 World Ukulele Day megabusk follows a similar event in Liverpool last year when 100 players from 10 bands took part, raising more than £3,000 for Clatterbridge Cancer Charity.
Also signed up to take part in this year’s event are Ukulele Club Liverpool which runs classes in Aigburth; the Northern Ukes and the MaD Ukes both from Maghull; Liverpool band Cat People; the Bowie Ukes based at the Bowring Park Pub in Huyton, and the Travelling Wannabes who are based at Stamps in Crosby. Lining up too are the Ormskirk Ukulele Band; Palacefields Ukulele Group; League of Welldoers; Uke n Dream; Ukes Alive; Quay Notes; The Idle Ukes; Visionz, and the YinYanBand, set up two years ago to bring wellbeing to Liverpool office workers.
Solo artists include Ukulele Uff, Miss Stan, Sydney F Smith, Jensen Parker, and Michael McTigue.
Peter Norman, drummer with Liverpool band the Splintered Ukes, is organising the event with other bands who are all part of the Merseyside Ukulele Group. Pete, from Old Roan said: “We wanted to bring together as many Merseyside ukulele bands as we could to celebrate World Ukulele Day. We had 10 bands last year and it’s grown to 27 this year which is just brilliant.
“It’s going to be a fantastic fun day of music, to help raise money for a wonderful cause, and hopefully encourage more people to pick up a ukulele and play.”
Janice Long, who got involved as the Splintered Ukes played at her wedding, said: “I’m made up to be supporting Liverpool’s World Ukulele Day celebrations.
“There will be events going on around the globe and this is set to be one that the city will remember.
“There’s something really special about the ukulele that brings joy and puts a smile on people’s faces. It’s brilliant that so many people are going to be involved, I can’t wait!”
Performances will take place at busking locations in and around the Liverpool One shopping and leisure complex, and inside the Bierkeller from 1pm.
All 27 bands will join together for the singalong, on the John Lewis steps leading down from Chavasse Park, at 3pm.
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