Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival
August 15-18, 2024
Lake Country Fairgrounds
1381 Fairgrounds Road, Two Harbors, MN
(Still inside the Silver Creek Township)
Stay tuned to this page as details for the 2024 Silver Creek International Carnival unfold.
We wanted to get the date listed so folks can secure their hotel reservations. The 2024 Carnival will be from Thursday, August 15th – Sunday, August 18th in 2024.
The 2023 Silver Creek International Carnival was a huge success!
It was held on August 17-20, 2023. You can still go to our Carnival Details page and download the materials.
The Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival (SCIUC) was founded in 2011 as a way to bring together ukulele players for fun and education. The Two Harbors Ukulele Group hosts this annual Carnival. It really is a labor of love from a whole lot of volunteers (who put in a lot of hours), most of whom are ukulele players. This is a weekend designed to give you plenty of opportunity to spend time playing your ukulele and develop friendships with people from all over the world.
Admission to the Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival is free!
As always, admission for the Carnival is free. The only costs involved may be for SCIUC T-shirts, caps, the Saturday evening catered dinner, or camping or lodging expenses.
We have never charged an admission price to the Carnival since it was started in 2011. The Carnival is funded by the money donated to the Two Harbors Ukulele Group when they perform, from sponsors and grants, and from donations made by people who freely contribute to help make this annual event continue year after year.
We offer workshops, open mic, beginner lessons, mini concerts, and practices for our Mass Ukulele Group (M.U.G.) music, which will be featured in the free Saturday afternoon concert that is open to the general public. This year we have a few more concerts scheduled by some really talented musicians.
The Carnival provides opportunities to build friendships with fellow ukulele players from all over the world. There is something about singing and playing together that opens the heart. Take advantage of this by meeting others, sharing music around the camp fire or open mic, or your own small group.
The Carnival brings together some of the friendliest folks who come back year after year. There is something magic about 200 folks playing and singing together! Be inspired by others who play at a higher skill level. Exposing yourself to different playing styles is really a lot of fun!
At the 2023 Carnival, we had a rare opportunity to take a series of progressive classes with Chris Russell to really get immersed in the ukulele. Chris did an outstanding job of teaching. He created a 71 page Beginner’s Book and 38 videos that are linked inside of the book. You can still download the book by going to the Carnival Details page.
In 2022, we outgrew the Silver Creek Music Pavilion facility and in 2023 we moved the Carnival to the Lake County Fairgrounds, which is still located in the Silver Creek township (so we don’t have to change the name!).
The 2023 Carnival Featured:
Victoria Vox is an award-winning, ukulele-toting, performing songwriter. With a passion for writing songs since she was 10 years old, she went on to graduate with a degree in Songwriting from the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA). In 2003, she traded in her guitar for the ukulele as her main accompaniment and took the stage name Victoria Vox (Latin for voice). Her acoustic music style shifted to chanson tinged with jazz, which, over the years, has settled in nicely with her pop songwriting flair.
Over the years, she continued to evolve and reinvent her sound. She now performs mostly as a one-woman-band, incorporating a loop pedal and bass effect on her Low G ukulele.
Vox, who also plays the trumpet, is more known for her “mouth trumpet”; a Jazz-era vocal technique emulating the sound of a horn. This odd and quirky talent, nonetheless, landed her on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2009 where she was invited to blow her own horn.
Vox has performed across the U.S. (including Hawaii and Alaska), Western Europe, and Down Under (N.Z. and Australia). She also teaches workshops for ukulele and songwriting at festivals.
Victoria will be performed in our outdoor Thursday evening concert, taught a workshop on Friday and Saturday, performed in our Saturday afternoon concert, and performed in a wonderful full concert on Saturday evening.
Devin Scott & Ally McNatt
Armed with a ukulele and a big, unexpected, voice, Devin Scott effortlessly entertains audiences of all ages. Performing everything from old time classics to new pop, Devin aims to include everyone of his listeners.
“It’s just more fun when people are enjoying and participating, so I try to make sure that everyone has something they can sing and dance to.”
Soon after purchasing his first ukulele, Devin began to realize the joy it gave him and others, and he has made a goal to spread that joy to as many people as he can.
“It’s so amazing to watch an entire group of people enjoy something so much together.”
Traveling around the country, teaching workshops, leading jam sessions, and singing for audiences everywhere, Devin is “living the dream” and loving sharing his talents and the ukulele with as many as he can. What ever you do don’t miss his dance party!!!
Once again Devin is glad to have Ally McNatt adding to the show with her bass and harmonies!
Devin and Ally performed in our Thursday evening concert, lead a live Facebook stream strum session on Friday at 4:00 p.m. C.S.T., performed a full concert on Friday evening, taught a M.U.G. song, and performed in our Saturday afternoon concert.
Ukester Brown (aka David Remiger) got his first ‘ukulele when he was about twelve years old and while he learned a few chords at that time he started playing it more intentionally about 30 years later when he dusted off his uke and hasn’t looked back.
His YouTube channel has over 3400 subscribers and over 350 videos with many of his videos having tutorials. His website (ukesterbrown.com) is a collection of everything ‘ukulele. The song sheets he creates mainly focus on music from the 1920’s though the 50’s and he loves to include introductions and verses that seem to have been lost.
“I feel blessed to have been able to share ukulele by teaching seminars and performing at quite a few uke festivals and clubs.”
Ukester has been coming to every Carnival since the beginning. He has been instrumental in helping us grow the event and introducing us to ukulele friends from all over the country.
Ukester performed in our Thursday evening concert, taught a workshop on Friday, taught a M.U.G. song on Saturday, performed in our Saturday afternoon concert, and lead the Sunday morning Gospel music jam with his wife Judy.
‘Petey Mack is a feller that loves the ukulele almost as much as he loves People!’
Unfortunately as of August 1st, Pete will not be able to make it to this year’s Carnival.
Here is a short note from Pete:
Howdy all my Uke family.
I am afraid I will not be able to attend the ukulele carnival with you this year. As some of you may already know, I have been dealing with severe neck problems for the last month. I have been advised by my doctor to not do any more traveling until I have everything under control and to do my best to let my neck heal.
I cannot express how devastating this news is for Denise and I as the carnival is something we look forward to each year. I know that y’all are still gonna have a blast and my hopes are to get better and see you next year!
Till then, we love y’all!
Here’s a link to a video Pete posted on where he briefly chats about not coming to the 2023 Carnival.
Pete has been a staple of the Silver Creek International Ukulele Carnival. He brings his southern charm and playfulness up north each year, adding greatly to our Carnival party atmosphere.
Pete has been live streaming on Facebook for quite a few years, attracting fans from all over the world. He has created a massive number of songs in his free downloadable song book, which he uses in his streaming so everyone can join in.
Pete has been leading strum sessions all over the world at ukulele festivals and has a tremendous number of friends because of his social media and traveling.
Pete has also been leading strum sessions at the Memphis Ukulele Flash Mob get togethers for quite a few years.
Pete’s approach to the ukulele follows his K.I.S.S. theory: keep it simple, and strum, meaning make every thing as simple as you can, and most importantly enjoy yourself. He tells all of his students that he only has one rule: Yah gotta have FUN!
Chris Russell, Ph.D.
Christopher J. Russell, Ph.D. is a music educator with degrees from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul, The University of St. Thomas, and the University of Minnesota. He has twenty-seven years of teaching experience at the secondary and elementary level.
Over the years, he has taught vocal music, music theory, music history, guitar, ukulele, and general music. As a performer, he has performed as an operatic tenor and tubist in many ensembles, and he has also served as a director for choirs, bands, musicals, and orchestras. He is also passionate about the intersection of music education and technology and blogs about that topic at techinmusiced.com in addition to the work that he does at ukestuff.info, YouTube.com/ukestuff, and YouTube.com/ukeplayalongs.
Dr. Russell also serves as a technical writer and educational consultant for Flight Ukuleles, and serves as a clinician for Peripole, one of the world’s best sources for materials and instruments for music educators.
Chris taught a series of progressive beginner ukulele lessons on Friday and Saturday, and taught us a M.U.G. song.
The Flying Finn from Palo MN!
Steve Solkela can often be seen playing Accordion on a skateboard, tandem bike, stilts, or traveling the country with his 21 piece ensemble called Steve’s “Overpopulated” One-Man Band!
He specializes in Minnesota Flavored Novelty Songs; sure to bring a laugh to your life. He’s all over YouTube and Facebook with his Music, Comedy, and Stunts.
Steve studied Music at Rowan University out in New Jersey where he starred in several Operas and left that campus permanently scarred with his wacky antics.
Steve performed brilliantly in a concert on Friday evening. So much laughter and fun that people’s cheeks were getting sore!
Rhonda Laurie Smith
Rhonda Laurie grew up in New York and got her start in New York cabaret. She later embraced jazz and studied vocal jazz with the renowned Janet Lawson, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton and Judy Niemack.
Rhonda is a fellow of the prestigious Cabaret Conference at Yale. Whether swinging à la gypsy, straight-ahead jazz, cabaret, or Americana, her approach is modern and fresh, obscuring musical boundaries.
Rhonda is regularly praised for her smooth vocals and her savvy interpretation of jazz classics and of less familiar repertoire. In 2010 Rhonda released her first CD, entitled “Rhonda Laurie & Sidewalk Cafe.”
She has performed at many Twin Cities venues, including; The Dakota, Artists Quarter, Aster Cafe, Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bryant Lake Bowl, Jazz Central, Lake Harriet Bandshell, multiple Twin Cities Jazz Festivals and several Great Minnesota Ukulele Gatherings (“GMUG”). Rhonda is also an active member of the Twin Cities Ukulele Club and StrumMn.
Rhonda performed in our outdoor Thursday evening concert, and in a mini-concert on Friday morning.
Tawni VanVleet is a huge fan of The Beatles and John Prine. She has five boys, three grandchildren, is a gardener and a soap maker.
Tawni started singing for fun with her son about 10 years ago. When her son moved out, she bought a ukulele to sing with!
She took a few lessons and learned more on YouTube.
“The ukulele soothes my soul and makes me happy!”
Tawni will be performed in our outdoor Thursday evening concert, and in a mini-concert on Saturday morning.
Tawni’s YouTube channel
The Fisman Fender Band
This group is made up of some THUG members (Tobin Sobaski, Scott Gischia, Charles Finch) and Bill Devita, who is from Stevens Point, WI. Bill has been coming to the Carnival for years. A few years ago we teamed up to challenge ourselves by stretching our abilities, and play a variety of styles of music.
We choose music suggested by each member, then create our own arrangements or covers.
This year we added a couple of new THUG members – Devaney O’Brien and Steve Smith to the group. We also added Erik Gischia to the group. Erik plays drums. He is Scott’s Gischia’s son.
We have had a lot of fun collaborating, being creative, and playing together!
The Fishman Fender Band performed in the outdoor Thursday evening concert, and in a mini-concert on Saturday afternoon.
A Brief History of the Carnival
The Carnival was first held in 2011 in the Silver Creek Town Hall. In 2016 the Carnival was moved to the Silver Creek Music Pavilion building. In 2022 we decided to move to our current location at the Lake County Fairgrounds, giving us much more room and expanded camping facilities.
We used to host the gospel music as part of a Sunday church service at Gooseberry Falls State Park, but outgrew the building. We now host a Sunday morning Gospel Strum at the main Carnival facility.