MORE performers and an increasingly tropical venue will make for a fantastic ukulele festival in January. Island View Holiday Park operations manager Melany McCoy says they have put in new tropical gardens and are creating “a taste of Bali”.

TWICE as many performers and an increasingly exotic venue will make for a great second ukulele festival.

This summer sees a return of Opotiki’s already-famed Island View Ukulele Festival, from January 18 to 20.

Island View Holiday Park operations manager Melany McCoy reports the camp is almost booked out for the festival weekend, including with visitors from Australia.

Festival organiser Ngaio Knebel said the biennual event would feature twice as many performers in 2019.

“This is the second time we’re holding the festival and we’re having 26 performers,” she said.

“There’s a big lot of ukulele players coming from Australia.”

Three groups of players from Auckland, one from Taranaki and one from Christchurch will also take part in the festival.

“We have a full programme and on the Saturday we’ll be in the street again, as well as hold a concert at the theatre,” Mrs Knebel said.

One difference for the upcoming festival is that a “mass choir” event will be held on the Sunday morning at the holiday park.

“This will be singing only, no ukulele playing,” Mrs Knebel said.

“Anybody can join in.”

The festival will start with a welcome on the Friday afternoon, followed by a hangi.

“This is also held at the holiday park, starting at 4pm. It was pretty special last time.”

CAMP co-owner and guerilla leader Lorne Simmons catches a rest in the newly completed outdoor dining room.
Photos Sven Carlsson OB4579-03

A variety of workshops will be held during the festival, including one on playing the U-Bass, a bass ukulele.

“There will be a dozen workshops over the weekend, including beginners, but also djembe and cahon drumming.”

The Big Muffin Serious Band are the star performers of this summer’s festival.

“They only do two performances per year,” Mrs Knebel said.

At the holiday park, Ms McCoy said there had been extra investment to make the venue exotic.

“The third 40-foot container with Javanese furniture and items will be arriving next week,” she said. “We’ll now be able to complete the office.”

A completely overhauled kitchen, featuring an “ultra-modern granite bench top” and a reworked men’s bathroom are only some of the upgrades.

“We’ve put in an all-new garden, going tropical,” Ms McCoy said.

“It’s a taste of Bali at Island View.”

The camp’s “jungle village” has also been upgraded and a guerilla-themed outdoor eating space, complete with ammunition boxes, sand bags and camouflage netting has been installed.