The second Bushman Ukulele Luau turned out to be an intimate crowd again with a few more attendees than last year. Those who did come were treated to some great informal and impromptu performances Saturday by Zoe who flew in from Toronto, Jodi Mathews, Wade Johnston (who Julia Nunes has dubbed “The Boy Me”), and DaveDaveDave who flew in from Ft. Myers. This moved from the stage at the Bushman Brewhouse to what turned into Zoe’s communal cabin to continued well into the night.
John Hall, the owner of Bushman, mistakenly judged that no one was coming and had almost canceled the Luau a few days before. This unfortunately brought the attendance numbers down, but didn’t hamper the enthusiasm any. The venue this year was a defunct golf course clubhouse that John has turned into a fine little music, food and drink venue, as well as the new home of the Bushman company. Its only fault is lack of decent stage lighting, which hopefully John will correct before next year.
John also noted that he’ll be charging a small fee next year for the Luau. This is not to make money off this labor of love, but to set up a registration system so numbers are known before hand and arrangements can be better made to accommodate everyone and coordinate seminars. About time. Oh, was that a yellow journalism on my part?
The Luau is followed next month by the Ukulele World Congress, nearby in Needmore, Indiana on Plum Creek Rd. This is being billed as the “Burning Man of Ukuleles.” It runs June 5th until squatter’s laws are enforced. Camping is encouraged, but there are also hotels nearby. Info at 812-988-6760.
The UWC was prompted by fans of Mainland Ukes, owned by Mike Hater and his wife Tookta, both former Bushman employees who were downsized last summer. Mike was the luthier who finished all the Bushman ukes. He and Tookta opened shop in Nashville recently to much acclaim. His ukes are produced in the same factory in China as the Bushmans to vintage Martin specs, and have a distinctive rope binding that draws a lot of attention. Interestingly, the entire Luau showed up at Mainland Friday and Saturday to try out Mike’s new ukes.
Pictures from the event…