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We are delighted to announce the return of the two-day Nanaimo Ukulele Festival on Friday June 9th & Saturday June 10th, 2023 to be held at Holy Trinity Church, 6234 Spartan Road, Nanaimo

To kick off the festival there will be a music filled concert on Friday evening with some great tunes from talented Canadian artist Manitoba Hal (now based in Nova Scotia) and Transit Lounge, featuring Cynthia Kinnunen and Ben Coulson, from Guelph

On Saturday, choose from workshops that promise to inspire you. Mingle with fellow ukesters, make new friends and learn new skills from Manitoba Hal, Cynthia Kinnunen and your two local JHUI qualified ukulele teachers, Carol Johns and Liz DeBarros

We wind up the day with the ever popular Sing & Strum with the Revolving Doors

There will be workshops offered to satisfy every level of player from Absolute Beginner (how do I hold this?) to Advanced

Workshop topics will be announced on March 1st, 2023 when concert and workshop tickets will go on sale. Click link below for more information


Concert tickets are $25       Workshop tickets are $30 for each workshop

If you attend a workshop, the Sing and Strum is free to attend

Sing and Strum only is $10

Morning workshops

Start Me Up;  CAFGD System for Beginners; Chord Hand Uke

Afternoon Workshops

Rhythm is Going to Get You; Five Notes to Change Your Life; Chord Twins


Canadian blues artist Manitoba Hal is a ukulele master and singer-songwriter. He is known for his expressive voice and mastery of his instrument; his trusty baritone ukulele; Manitoba Hal takes his audience from the deep south to the islands with songs that are mournful, hopeful, silly, romantic and introspective. His original songs have become modern classics and his take on standards and popular blues songs of the past have brought him to festival stages worldwide.

He began his career as a guitarist but began to play the ukulele when he inherited a 1955 Martin uke from his beloved grandfather who told him “you can have it if you learn to play it”. And so, he did, continuing to master the tiny instrument, proving that the ukulele can be small but mighty as he pulls out powerful riffs and melodies adding background beats with looping technology showcasing the blues in all its passion and groove.



Based in Guelph, Ontario, Cynthia offers engaging instruction and support to students of all ages, with a focus on adult learners. This includes piano and ‘ukulele lessons, classes, workshops, and the Royal City Ukulele Ensemble program. She is the Founder and Director of the Royal City Uke Fest, Guelph’s annual ‘ukulele festival.

Cynthia has been a sessional lecturer at the University of Guelph, and is a contract part-time faculty member at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Music. She is a Level 3 graduate of the James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI) Teacher Certification Program, has served as a clinician in the program, and has worked for James Hill as part of his Uketropolis team, supporting a global network of engaged music teachers and learners. Cynthia remains connected with Uketropolis as a volunteer JHUI program mentor.


Featuring Cynthia Kinnunen on ukulele and Ben Coulson on Ubass. With a love of everything from rockabilly to old-timey tunes, pop, folk and some trusty rock & roll for good measure, this ‘ukulele/bass duo will keep you entertained in those in-between moments, easing you into the next leg of your journey.






Carol started playing the ukulele in 2011 with the Harbour City Seniors Nordli group. She has been involved in organizing the ukulele festivals in Nanaimo since 2014. Carol plays the tenor and baritone ukulele and plays and performs regularly with the Folk ‘n Oldies group where she is the musical director. Carol also mentors two Ukulele in the Classroom groups with the Nanaimo seniors program. She is a Certified Level 3  James Hill Ukulele Initiative (JHUI) ukulele teacher.




A resident of Parksville, Liz has been playing the ukulele since 2011  and has a collection of sopranos, tenors, and baritone ukuleles. She has been on the Festival  team since 2017. She also sings, plays the UBass, bass guitar and sometimes even drums in local band, Revolving Doors, who will be leading the Sing and Strum. Liz is a certified Level 3 teacher the James Hill Ukulele Initiative Teaching Program. Liz taught at Arbutus Music School for two years and now teaches Group Lessons and gives Workshops in Parksville. www.ukelessonsliz.com