YORK’S first ukulele festival attracted visitors from all over the world to share a passion for the humble musical instrument now rediscovered by some of the biggest names in pop and rock.

Event organiser and York resident Steve Morrison, 56, managing director of Red Cow Music, in Goodramgate, said: “York has never had a ukulele festival and it is a large city for ukuleles.

“We are the second biggest supplier of ukuleles in the country and the rise in demand has been huge. It is relatively easy to start to play and you do not have to plug it in. It does not take up much space in the house, you can take it on holiday with you, and you can buy one for as little as £18.”

The musical instrument was famously associated with entertainer George Formby. But chart-topping bands became interested after George Harrison wrote his Beatles classic Something on one.

Now there are ukulele song books covering every form of music from classical to punk, including hits as diverse as Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan.

More than 150 people from all over the country and as far afield as New York took part in Saturday’s all day event which included the Military Wives choir singing along to songs from the shows played on the four-string instrument.

It’s name means Little Flea or Jumping Flea in Portuguese.