Ukulele Hooley Festival 2018 line up

In 2018 another amazing line up of ukulele stars is taking shape; with both new faces to the festival, and some old friends joining us for what promises to be a memorable experience for all who attend.

Casey McGill

Casey MacGill performs music that swings. He plays boogie-woogie, swing, and stride piano, blows lyrical cornet, but his most unique instrumental voice is a 6 string tenor ukulele.

Casey grew up in Southern California and has pursued his musical passion well over 40 years. He studied music at Pasadena City College with Gary Foster, lessons with Warne Marsh, further studies at Cal State LA with Buddy Collette in addition to the classical music curriculum.

MacGill has performed on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show, the movie Frances, and was in the original cast of the Broadway show Swing!, opening the show playing the uke and contributing five tunes to the score.

He and his bands have toured in Australia, Japan, played swing camps in England, France, Italy, Sweden, and South Korea.

He teaches at ukulele camps; for Centrum in Port Townsend, the Wine Country Ukulele Festival in St. Helena, CA, and others.

You can find his music on CD Baby and lots of clips on YouTube.

Minnie and the Illywhackers

Vintage Ukulele Swing and Good Time Music.

Normally you would have to cruise the clubs of New York and San Francisco for the pleasure of hearing this vintage Americana sound. However, Minnie and the Illywhackers have their feet rooted firmly in the Dublin music scene. Vaudevillian influenced singer and ukulele player Angie McLaughlin draws on the talents of her exSick and Indigent Song Club band mates Shane McGrath (guitar, mandolin), Christian Volkmann (double bass, harmonica), Sheila Sullivan (fiddle) and Marco Francescangeli (Saxophone) to perform her original material. Her songs sit comfortably in their set alongside forgotten classics from the first half of the 20th century.

Echoes of swing, Hawaiian, gospel, jazz and blues are evident in the tunes which are performed with inventive arrangements. McLaughlin is both playful and passionate in her performance and with excellent musicians to back her up The Illywhackers are a truly joyous live experience.

Les Poupées Gonflées

A French female trio in the tradition of the French best Swing Cabaret.

From Swing to Tango, from Django to French Cancan… They deliver their beautiful and celestial vocal harmonies, with Ukulele, Accordion, UBass and Funny Percussions.

Polka dot dresses, high heeled shoes, red lipstick and whatever you do they’ll play footsie with your ears.
With their original silly songs and shady tunes, “Les Poupées Gonflées” offer the best show to make you feel like in an “Oh so chic” Parisian Cabaret.

They sing and play in France and cross the frontiers! (Versailles Jazz Festival, Paris Ukulele Festival, Poitou Ukulele Festival, Villeneuve-Le-Comte Ukulele Festival ), England (Winchester Ukulele Festival, Ukulele festival of great Britain) Spain (Saragossa, Barcelona), Belgium (Ukulele sur Meuse), Ireland (Ukulele Hooley festival), Czech Republic (Cihelna Festival, Czech Ukulele Festival)…


RITA BRAGA is a singer, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Lisbon, based in Porto.

She performs solo and sometimes collaboratively an unusual repertoire of songs in over ten languages, as well as original compositions and soundtracks.

Over the last decade she has toured across Europe, the US, Brazil and Australia. She also has a background in the visual arts doing illustration and animation, hosts unpredictable cabarets, graduated in Music Sciences.

From time to time, she receives insight from cartoon personalities in her dreams (such as Bugs Bunny) on how to conduct her career.

Winin Boys

The wonderful Winin Boys, are from Gent in Belgium and play popular music from the 1920s and 1930s, ragtime, blues, Tin Pan Alley and accordion music with ukulele, mandolin, steel guitar and bass. Whether it’s at full speed or at a slower tempo, it is always con mucho gusto.

Frederik Goossens is on the ukulele, a hot number on YouTube for uke addicts without any doubt!

The Winin Boys are regulars at the Ukulele Hooley and we are delighted to have them back again this year. We promise a real treat, it’s not to be missed!!


Dublin Ukulele Collective

The Dublin Ukulele Collective (DUC) is a thirty-five plus piece ukulele harmony band with a high feel-good-factor and watching them perform, the fun is obvious.

Members range in age up to 70+ and they perform a diverse repertoire of songs which reflects their age span.

Within are a seriously talented range of Dublin musicians including; experienced choir harmonisers, sexy middle-aged rockers and electric teenage funksters.

Expect upbeat, fun and rhythmic songs with loads of harmonies and a little nostalgia including songs from; Elbow, Cold Play, Radiohead, Talking Heads, Amy Winehouse, Erazure, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Jason Mraz and more. DUC is very much an audience join-in band.

The Jive Aces

Renowned worldwide for their high-energy spectacular showmanship, their viral video “Bring Me Sunshine” and for being the first live band to reach the final rounds of “Britain’s Got Talent”, The Jive Aces have firmly established themselves the UK’s No.1 Jive & Swing band.

The live show includes classics like “When You’re Smiling”, “Mack The Knife” and “Sing, Sing, Sing”, plus originals such as “La Dolce Vita” taken from their various albums.

The in-demand sextet average 300 shows a year and have worked with Van Morrison, Keely Smith and performed for HM the Queen. They headlined and sold-out the Royal Albert Hall and thousands of festivals, theatres, dance halls, etc, in 35 countries, including Buckingham Palace for the Coronation Festival, Trafalgar Square for the Olympics and major theatre tours in the USA.

The new albums “Diggin’ The Roots Vol.1 Rockin’ Rhythm & Blues” and “Vol.2: Hot Jazz” are a journey into the two branches of music that makes up the Jive Aces signature sound, proving that vintage music is very much timelessly
The Jive Aces wowed the judges on Britain’s Got Talent with their show-stopping version of “I Wanna Be Like You”, which famously cheered up a grumpy Simon Cowell. Their BGT appearances were seen by over 20 million.

Their most popular music video, “Bring Me Sunshine”, is a viral hit with nearly 3 million views on Youtube and has won seven film festival awards. It’s so uplifting it’s actually been prescribed by a doctor!

They’ve made hundreds of media appearances, including a residency on BBC Radio London and TV shows such as “The Alan Titchmarsh Show”, “Strictly Come Dancing”, “Children in Need” and “Good Day Los Angeles”



The Ukulele Uff Trio is comprised of Chris ‘Ukulele’ Uff on ukulele, Dave Searson on guitar and ‘Brother’ Bill Leach on Hawaiian guitar. They specialise in obscure and wonderful 1920s/30s jazz, Tin Pan Alley songs and traditional Hawaiian music, performed with a skill and authenticity that is rare today.

The trio started as all good trios do, as a duo. Uff and Dave first met while still at school in Liverpool, where a mutual interest in music led to the formation of various musical projects, mainly with Uff on bass and Dave on drums or guitar. When Uff discovered the ukulele there was no stopping him. He practised day and night for years developing his own original style, until he felt ready to unleash his talents upon the world. Dave in the meantime had honed his technique of ragtime and swing guitar. Uff and Dave appeared on the ukulele scene overnight, when footage from their debut performance in a variety show at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall was uploaded to YouTube to much acclaim in 2012. Since then their high energy, skilled playing and relaxed stage presence has earned them a reputation as top entertainers around the World.

In 2014 Uff and Dave teamed up with lap steel virtuoso ‘Brother’ Bill Leach, who brought with him hair raising renditions of jazz age Hawaiian classics and beautiful traditional melodies brought over from his native Runcorn.

Fitting in perfectly with Uff and Dave’s nimble finger work, the group now sound better than ever! Towards the end of the year they released their first CD to much acclaim.


Track Dogs

Sun-shiny songs thriving on dark themes behind irresistible rhythms

Made up of two Irishmen, an Englishman and an American the band came together in 2011 to create their unique brand of acoustic music; a veritable 4 x 4 of voices and instruments identified by the fusion of styles which include folk, latino, amerciana, bluegrass and, dare we say it…pop.

The four international “madrileños” (Garrett Wall, Dave Mooney, Howard Brown & Robbie K. Jones) whose artistic names derives from the dark subterranean world of New York’s subway system, present their fourth album “Kansas City Out Groove” in March 2018.

In 2017 they were invited to Kansas City to showcase at Folk Alliance International, the largest gathering of folk and acoustic musicians in the world, and from this musical experience comes the title to their new work. It was here also that they met The Barefoot Movement, from Nashville, who have collaborated with them on the track “Gonna Get My Way”.

The new album features the band’s striking line-up of 4-part harmonies, acoustic guitar, ukulele and bass alongside cajón and trumpet. The overall sound is a progression to a more robust Latin, ‘south-of-the-border’ & Americana feel having finally achieved the perfect balance between their live gigs and the best in-studio production. Early reactions to the new songs include eclectic references including Manu Chao, Calexico & Juanes.

“Track Dogs were the hit of Rochester Sweeps Festival 2016. Their close harmonies, instrumentation but above all, interaction with the audience, proved a winner.” – Doug Hudson, Director Rochester Sweeps

“Track Dogs played 2 shows at Vantastival 2016 and both were highlights of the weekend. Their unique show around 1 mic was perfect for the atmospheric smaller stage with their on-point vocal harmonies and rhythmic tribal beat. Their show as headline act for our larger stage was one of the biggest audiences of the weekend and left everyone in no doubt that this is a very very special band.” – Mark Staunton, Vantastival Festival Director

“In a battle of the stages, Track Dogs were up against festival headliner Badly Drawn Boy. Wonderfully unfazed by this, the band drew one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to the GoldenPlec Stage, cheery, Spanish-tinged acoustic proving a hit with a crowd that wanted to dance.” – Vantastival,


“This band turned out to be a total discovery, with vocal harmonies on a par with groups like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, America or the most melodic style of, for example, the Eagles mixed in with the graceful irreverence of The Pogues.” – Renacer Eléctrico Music Magazine, Spain

“Their lively, melodic music has a strong American/Latin sentiment, a strong sense of fun and an abundance of sunshine”.

““Groovy” is not a word I often use in this column, but that’s just the adjective I need to describe Madrid-based Irish band the Track Dogs…Released at the end of last year, the album is rhythmic, soulful and simply cool. This is indie-acoustic arranged with a hippie flair.The band’s music is, like the band of ex-pats, an eclectic cultural crossover. – The Irish Echo, New York

“The antidote to a bad day” – Maverick

Arklow Ukulele Players

Arklow Ukulele Players was set up in 2015 by Ronan McCauley.

Having started with 10 members the group proudly boasts a membership of nearly 90 people.

They love nothing more than to have fun making music wherever they go.

George Elmes

From Dublin, Ireland, George Elmes began the Ukulele when he discovered the wide capabilities of the instrument from the music of Roy Smeck, Herb Ohta and George Formby.

Since then, his increasingly popular Youtube videos showcasing his technical prowess on the soprano ukulele have earned him fans from all over the world. Performing mainly instrumental music of original compositions, George’s playing varies from mellow fingerpicking ballads to intense strumming pieces.

George is currently pursuing Ukulele activities in Asia with workshops and performances. He currently teaches at the Simple Things Ukulele school in Shenzhen, China.

Victor Yu, who is 12 and from Shenzhen,is one of George’s top students will be featured in George’s performance at the Hooley.

Ukulele Tuesday

Ukulele Tuesday is a weekly session in the Stag’s Head. It’s the hottest ticket in Dublin on a Tuesday night and has become one of the biggest attractions off the beaten track for both uke players and non-payers alike. Some regulars from the session are putting together a special set, just for the Hooley, merging contemporary classics with interestingly arranged medleys, to surprise and inspire the scope of the little instrument that could.

The Main Stage

Sunday 26th August, in the People’s Park, performers take to the stage

Join us in the People Park, Dun Laoghaire, for the main performance event of the festival, on Sunday 26th August.

Proceedings kick-off at midday – noon – 12pm

We will be continuing our tradition of presenting talented ukulele performers and groups from around the world.

Big Jungle Jam

A must for ukulele players – grab your uke and come along to be part of the “The Big Jungle Jam @ The Hooley“!

Festival Raffle

Try your luck in our ever popular Ukulele Hooley festival raffle, with some fabulous ukulele related prizes to win.

Retail Therapy

Check out our ukulele merchandise and instrument stalls, to find that perfect gift for you or the ukulele people in your life.

Relax in the Park

Relax in Dún Laoghaire’s magnificent People’s Park, a beautifully landscaped oasis of calm, enhanced with the sounds of ukuleles.

Children’s/Beginner’s Workshop

Children’s/Beginner’s Workshop in People’s Park, 3pm, Sunday 26th August.

Uke Factor Competition

Enjoy the ‘Uke Factor‘ competition winners, performing on the festival stage. Such a treat to experience the talent of the future.