Frank Skinner, Bruno Mars and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam have all helped boost the revival of the ukulele – now children across York will have the chance to see what all the fuss is about.
The city's festival calendar this year will bring the small guitar-like instrument into the spotlight, with organisers hoping to involve young people.
The York Ukulele Festival, being launched for the first time in York this year, will be on June 15 and feature a day of events including performances in St Sampsons Square and workshops around the city.
It is being staged by Red Cow Music, of Goodramgate, with support from City of York Council and Visit York.
Organiser Steve Morrison, a director of Red Cow Music, who has been in the music business in York since 1979, said the ukulele, most commonly known as George Formby's instrument of choice, had enjoyed a dramatic revival, becoming "the biggest-selling instrument in the world".
"We sold thousands and thousands of them last year," he said. "We are expecting a lot of people at this event, and want to make schools, colleges and ukulele groups aware they can take part."
Steve has himself taught about 600 people, aged from eight to 80, and from all walks of life.
“It is quite an easy instrument to play,” he said. “It is very mobile, doesn't cost a lot of money – anything from about £18 up to £1000 – and there is a massive range.”
“This is the first time this has been done,” added Steve, whose son Miles, 23, also works for Red Cow Music and will be involved in the festival.
“We will have performances from schools, ukulele groups and we are hoping for the odd celebrity. We will also have workshops in different areas of the city, and in the evening we are having a ukulele show at the Black Swan on Peasholme Green where we want people to bring their ukulele and just have fun.”
Hundreds of people took part in a ukulele flashmob event last year in the centre of York, which is home to a number of ukulele groups including the Ukulele Sunshine Revival, which meets at the Golden Ball pub, Cromwell Road, the Ukulele Society from York St John University and the Grand Old Uke of York.
Further details of the day's events will be released nearer the time. To get involved contact Red Cow Music on 01904 674440 or through the website at www.redcowmusic.co.uk