Strathmore’s 15th Annual UkeFest Returns Summer 2023

Ukefest Cathy Fink Marcy Marxer By Irene Young
UKE FEST Featured


PJ Feinstein, Director of Communications

Festival kicks off with all-day ukulele teacher training on Fri, Aug 11

(NORTH BETHESDA, MD) – Strathmore’s UkeFest celebrates its 15th anniversary this summer with five days dedicated to ukulele learning, jamming, and fun at the Music Center at Strathmore. Returning Artistic Directors Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, who also co-founded the program, will be joined by world-renowned instructors James Hill, Lil Rev, Brittni Paiva, Eve Goldberg, and Pablo Regis—plus more than 100 ukulele players of all abilities. Registration for the festival, which runs Sat-Wed, Aug 12-16, is open now at

The first UkeFest was simply a concert on the lawn featuring Fink, Marxer, and Hill. The response was so tremendous, explains Fink, that the festival quickly transformed into a multi-day musical experience with workshops, concerts, and student showcases. The ukulele, says Fink, “has the spirit of community. You have people who can just play the chords and those who can play the leads all in the same room making music together.”

Registration for Strathmore’s UkeFest includes eight hours of skill-based classes and five hours of choose-your-own special topics classes—swing, Brazilian rhythms, vocal harmony, ensemble work, and more—as well as jam sessions and admission to student and instructor showcases. The festival culminates in a free outdoor performance on the Mansion grounds in celebration of the community UkeFest has been building over 15 years.

This year’s UkeFest kicks off with a teacher training course on Fri, Aug 11, 9:30am-4pm. Hosted by Fink, Marxer, and Hill, this master class includes a full day of instruction and sharing in best practices for ukulele teachers of all levels.

“Cathy and Marcy are masterful ukulele players and teachers. They excel at bringing together amazing lineups of instructors, and UkeFest just keeps getting better every year.” says Beth Radovsky, Strathmore senior program event manager and UkeFest organizer.


Two-time Grammy Award winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals and have taught at nearly 100 music camps. Their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk. Through their long-standing relationship with the Music Center at Strathmore, Fink and Marxer continue to mentor up-and-coming artists.


James Hill is a renowned Canadian Folk Music Award-winning singer, songwriter, educator, and musician. He is the co-writer of the Ukulele in the Classroom method book series and founder of the online educational course Involved in UkeFest from the very beginning, Hill returns to Strathmore for the 15th anniversary of the festival.

Brittni Paiva is a multi-award-winning instrumentalist, whose accolades include Ukulele Album of the Year and Instrumental Composition of the Year from the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts Na Hoku Hanohano Awards. A pioneer of combining ukulele music and the loop pedal, Paiva has released multiple records and performed with Grammy Award-winning artists on her ukulele.

Renowned ukulele and harmonica player Lil Rev specializes in vaudeville-style ukulele strumming. He tours North America, teaching at music camps, festivals, and concert series as well as presenting musical history shows. Known for his Yiddish music, Lil Rev has released a series of books and workshops focusing on ukulele and harmonica instruction.

Canadian Folk Music Award nominee Eve Goldberg has performed across the U.S. and Canada, bringing her signature mixture of folk, blues, country, bluegrass, old time, and jazz to venues ranging from small house concerts to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. An accomplished songwriter and musician, Goldberg is also an experienced community music organizer who currently teaches adult ukulele classes and leads the Ukulele Orchestra of Toronto.

Pablo Regis is a cavaco player, singer, and percussionist performing Brazilian music in the DC metro area. He is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council 2018 Individual Artist Award and co-founder of EducArte, a nonprofit community group that provides diverse educational programs to the community.


Strathmore is a multidimensional, creative anchor in the community, where everyone can connect with the arts, and artists can explore their full potential.

It presents hundreds of performances, visual arts, and education programs, annually, for diverse audiences on its Montgomery County Maryland campus and in the community.

All of Strathmore’s facilities are Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accredited. 

For further information or tickets, call (301) 581-5100 or visit