As the new year dawns, we turn our attention to the most fabulous holiday of the year, the Ukulele World Congress! UWC brings our love of this mighty instrument, and the love of family and friends, to that humble field on Plum Creek Road. The reach of this gathering has circled the world! Its influence has made festivals different, spawn smaller versions of it, and helped people find a hidden musician inside themselves they didn’t know existed. Everybody who supports this gathering should be proud of this.
In much the same way this gathering organically became what it is, the idea of a field fund was born. The early UWC’s had only the Christmas lights to see the performers on the stage at the open mic. You can date pictures by the darkness of the stage. J. Keven Wolf and Tim Clark, on their own, decided to add the flood lights to the stage. It was a good idea in more ways than one!
It was easy to see UWC was growing fast. It was clear the second field needed to be put into service. The only way to it from the stage field was two small, narrow, and rotting bridges. After calls between Seeso, Tim, Mike Hater, and myself, Thom Pallozola, we decided to see if we could finance the building of a bridge across the creek. The Field Fund became a reality! UWC 5 was the first one with a plea for public funding, and was answered with enough contributions to build the bridge (Tim contributed a second bridge), and to add a couple more porta-potties!
From its’ glimmer of an idea to where we are now, we have improved the field with the bridges, the stairs up the stage ( yes, we used to climb onto the stage!), the “Green Room” bench, the barricades, a stage repair, a very special wedding on the field, and last years building the shelter to house the workings of the gathering. There are now 7 porta-potties in the stage field and we added three to the second field last year! The porta-potties are getting cleaned during the week. Now, we have a large dumpster, gas to cut the fields, plus , we put down a load of rock to make a driveway into the second field camping area.
For #10, we’d like to run electricity to the shelter. It will help with the cooking on Friday and Saturday nights, make the lights easier to run, and we could have a coffee maker running over there. It would do away with the big extension cables that are run each year to that area.
Some of the funds will be used for the Thursday night Cocktail Party at the Dawgpound. It will be easier to just buy what is needed for the party than to ask people to bring specific items. There is a really super upgrade to the party this year. We will have two restaurants set up for food! We have some amazing chefs in our family. Lynette Jolicoeur is planning on a seafood boil. She will have Jon Martin as her Sous Chef. Bhat Phaiphet is going to open a Thai restaurant. Sally Cardinal will be his Sous Chef. Mim and her son, Nolan Jeppson will be manning the nonalcoholic bar. Ken Middleton and Jonathan Piercy will be behind the Tiki bar! The restaurants will be serving small plate style of their specialty. If any food is left over, it will be at the Friday Pot Luck meal in the party tent.
The remaining funds will be for the other expenses of the gathering: porta-potties, dumpsters, gas, and any other expenses that are part of the day to day operation. If you look at music festivals around the country, you’ll see price tags of $30 to well over $100 to attend. We don’t charge anything to come to the Ukulele World Congress. It is through the generous donation to the field funds that keep this event going. It has grown so large that without this fund there would be no UWC. If you can’t come to the party on Thursday, please specify that your donation is for the general funds.
Here is hoping for a great campaign! You folks make this the show it is! Please donate!