The FIUL, International Ukulele Festival of Lerrain was the first ukulele festival I’ve attended which didn’t take place in Paris, which, for a countryside dweller like myself, was just perfect. Here are some highlights of the weekend.
Meylie Mellow and Rel-Bar, the organisers of the festival have done a great job making ukulele players attending the festival very welcome. Upon arrival, all ukulele players who had registered on their site received a bag containing items that would help them look and sound good on stage (a set of strings from Aquila, a thick and neatly laid-out songbook, a toothbrush, toothpaste, mascara, and other things, including some deodorant to make sure our playing didn’t stink). It’s worth mentioning that the bag was a world tour in itself with products from France, Italy, New-Zealand, the US and Germany.
The whole village of Lerrain seemed to have been converted to the ukulele before we all arrived. Gardens, walls, signs, everything spoke of the ukulele.
The FIUL started out at the campsite where a crowd of ukulele players joined to play songs from the FIUL songbook.
Xavier, a French ukulele player, has found a cunning plan to fight stage fright…
The whole festival was very laid back which is something I really liked. Whether you were a party goer or a shy ukulele player, you had your place at the FIUL.
My friend Guillaume and I especially enjoyed playing in the old wash-house which gave a very good acoustic rendering. We met with a really nice little group (special mention to Frédérique and Vincent) and started playing together.
Herman Vandecauter captivated his audience there when he played several beautiful classical pieces. I was so focused on listening that I forgot to film while he played.
On the other side of the street, ukulele players could register to play open stage. Various YouTube ukulele players from Europe and the US performed.
Gus and Fin, the famous ukulele duo from Scotland warmed up the crowd with their wild strumming and cool vocal harmonies. Here are a couple of songs they played:
I’d like to end this post by thanking Meylie Mellow and Rel-Bar for organising this festival which I really enjoyed. I hope there will be more FIUL‘s in the years to come.