Monday, May 27, 2013

Interview w/ Utah Uke Fest organizer Ryan Taylor

The 2013 Utah Uke Fest is just a couple weeks away (June 15th)!  This year's festival features performances and workshops with Craig Chee, Daniel Hulbert, Micheal Stone, and others.  There will also be open mics and plenty of giveaways.  We're proud to be a donating sponsor once again this year!  You can find more information about the festival at

Festival organizer, Ryan Taylor was kind enough to sit down and tell me a little bit more about the Utah Uke Fest.  I hope that you enjoy the interview!

Q: What inspired you to start up this ukulele festival?
A: The closest ukulele festivals were in Colorado and Nevada, and I just thought we deserved our own. If I didn't start one, who would? I already had been teaching beginner ukulele classes for a little while and have ties to our local Arts Council, so I held my breath and leaped before I looked.

Q: Having done a little event planning in the past, I know firsthand some of the frustrations that can develop in the process.  What has been the biggest hurdle and/or challenge you've had to overcome in planning Utah's Uke Fest?
A: Spreading the word is always the hardest part. There's always something more that can be done . . . a post on Craig's List, another Press Release, more flyers to distribute . . . you could let it take over your life.

Q: Favorite moment of last year's uke fest? 
A: I loved the guest artists we had come in, Brittni Paiva, Sarah Maisel and The Quiet American. They were all great, friendly and professional, but . . . My absolute favorite part was the Open Mic Contest / Picnic. I love seeing the local talent, the cheering, the clapping, the laughing, the first-ever public performances, the ukulele veterans, giving away the prizes, meeting new people. We had a fantastic time.

Q: What part of this year's festivities are you particularly looking forward to?
A: Craig Chee is going to amazing as both a performer and a teacher, but I'd have to say I'm most looking forward to the open mic again. For me, the festival is about growing the local ukulele community, and that is what the open mic is all about.

Q: Any big plans going forward?  Where do you see this ukulele festival at 5 years down the road?
A: That's a tough one, I'd like to bring in more visiting talent for the concert, continue to offer great educational workshops and build up the ukulele community through fun participatory events.

Q: And finally, the all important or tea?
A: When I want a serious sip, I go for Cock and Bull Ginger Beer, but I mostly just have a glass of water.

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