Esquimalt Ukulele Festival

Thursday, May 23, 2019 - 18:00 to Sunday, May 26, 2019 - 13:30
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May 23, 2019 - 6:00PM to May 26, 2019 - 1:30PM

Esquimalt Recreation is hosting our region’s annual Ukulele Festival (formerly Larsen Music Ukulele Week). This year’s 8th annual festival promises to be the best event to date! Purchase a festival pass to access all festival activities, $60 per person (only 50 passes available) through Esquimalt Recreation at 250-412-8500 or online.  In addition to festival passes, tickets to the Strum Along & the Gala Concert can be purchased separately, so there will be plenty of strumming for everyone!

We encourage everyone to join us for the FREE Ukulele Love-In in Memorial Park, the festival’s closing concert, on Sunday, May 26.



Festival Schedule 

DateStart TimeEventLocationTickets
Thu May 237:00pmStrum Along with Diamond Tooth MollyEsquimalt Rec Centre
Fri May 247:00pmGala Concert featuring the Island UkulelesEsquimalt Rec Centre
Sat May 2510:00am-3:00pmUkulele Workshops  Esquimalt Rec Centre
Sat May 2510:00am-3:00pmOpen HouseEsquimalt Rec CentreFREE
Sat May 257:00pm-9:00pmMovie Night, Stanley's GigEsquimalt Rec Centre
Sun May 271:30pmFREE! Ukulele Love-In Community EventEsquimalt Rec CentreFREE

Event Pricing 

Festival Access Pass                    Includes admission to all events and complimentary Souveinr Songbook

Gala Concert with Island Ukuleles

$10.00/person OR Included with your Festival Access Pass

Ukulele Workshop SeriesOpen to Festival Access Pass Holders only 
Strum Along with Diamond Tooth Molly$10.00/person OR Included with your Festival Access Pass
Ukulele Love-In Community EventFREE 


2018 Artists/Faculty

***Please check back for 2019 featured Artists & Faculty***

Jessica Benini 
Performer, Songwriter, Teacher
Festival Host

Jessica has been performing and teaching for years and has accumulated many accolades, including being nominated for Best Live Act at the 2012 Vancouver Island Music Awards, Vocal Performance of the Year at the 2014 Vancouver Island Music Awards and third place in the 2010 Islands Folk Festival songwriting competition. Her style is a blending of folk, roots, blues, pop and country and she brings a unique energy to her performances. She has taught for many years at Larsen Music. Although she is now based in Vancouver she still comes over to the island for her establish music students. She produced the ukulele festival last year and we are pleased that she is hosting the festival again this year.

Douglas Hensley 
Performer, Recording Artist, Teacher

Doug earned his Bachelor of Music and Master of Music in Classical Guitar Performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Since 2001 he has served with the Victoria Symphony and POV on guitar, lute, theorbo, mandolin and banjo. He is co-founder and co-director of the Continuum Consort, which has explored repertoire from 12th century Cantigas de Santa Maria to 21st century works written for the ensemble. He has performed on three continents and recorded for several record labels and independent releases . A member of the faculty of the Victoria Conservatory of Music, he teaches guitar, lute, ukulele, mandolin, and banjo, as well as beginner ukulele classes for kids and adults. He also plays and teaches a number of classical Persian instruments.

Anna Lyman 
Performer, Recording Artist, Teacher

Anna is Latin-American and has a Bachelor of Music degree from Vancouver Island University majoring in jazz vocal performance and minoring in jazz guitar. She has studied ukulele in Hawaii with ukulele master Benny Chong among others. Together with her husband Steve Sutton she performs in the duo Jazzalele, which won the prize for the ensemble category in the 2012 Vancouver Ukulele Festival. She also co-founded both the Nanaimo Ukulele Circle and the Nanaimo Aloha Ukulele Festival as well as founding the Nanaimo Ukulele Orchestra and the Victoria Ukulele Orchestra. She has composed many original works in jazz, Latin and rhythm & blues. She teaches private classes in downtown Victoria and also teaches at the Victoria Conservatory of Music Westhills in Langford.

Molly Raher Newman 
Performer, Artist, Actor, Teacher

Molly is an artist, actor, and multi-instrumentalist. She has played with the Celtic band Rig-A-Jig for many years as well as other groups. She has played characters as diverse as Diamond Tooth Gertie in Dawson Creek (hence the moniker Diamond Tooth Molly – yes she has a diamond in her tooth) to famed Victoria artist Emily Carr. As well as writing and painting in water colour, acrylic and oil she can play twenty musical instruments including the ukulele. In the local ukulele community she is known for her ukulele classes at the James Bay New Horizons and her twice a month strum alongs.

Steve Sutton 
Performer, Teacher

Steve is an accomplished bass, guitar and ukulele player. A native of Nanaimo, he obtained an Associate Of Music degree from Malaspina University College and then a Bachelors degree from the University of Victoria. He has studied ukulele in Hawaii from the ukulele master Kimo Hussey and has played on stage with him many times. Steve has been playing gigs since he was a student and has played with many famous musicians. He makes up one half of the duo Jazzalele with his wife Anna Lyman. Together they founded the Nanaimo Ukulele Circle and the Aloha Nanaimo Ukulele Festival. Steve teaches bass, guitar and ukulele at Tom Lee Music in Langford.

Saturday Ukulele Workshops  

Workshop is for Festival Pass Holders Only

Location: Esquimalt Recreation Centre

***NOTE: 2018 schedule below. Please check back for 2019 schedule.***

10:30amDoug HensleyChord Choreography
11:30amJessica BeniniSongwriting With Your Uke
1:30pmAnna LymanThe Wonder of Uke - Standout Strategies
2:30pmSteve SuttonFinger Picking Demystified

Open House 

10:00am-3:00pm with tea/coffee from 12:00-1:30pm

In the Esquimalt Recreation Centre Atrium, visit vendor booths:

Saturday Open House  

FREE! Open to Public

Location: Esquimalt Recreation Centre

***NOTE: 2018 schedule below. Please check back for 2019 schedule.***


Vendor Booths:

  • Lonetree Guitars & Ukuleles
  • Tapestry Music
  • Tempo Trend
12:00pm-1:30pmTea & Coffee Served in Atrium
12:00pm-1:30pmJam Sessions 


The Esquimalt Ukulele Festival is made possible thanks to the generous contributions of the event sponsors. We encourage the community to show their appreciation by supporting these businesses.