Royal seal of approval for Huddersfield ukulele festival

As hundreds of music lovers descend into Huddersfield to enjoy The Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (GNUF) – the popular event will also see another memorable moment taking centre stage.

For the voluntary organisation behind GNUF will be presented with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service from Vice Lord Lieutenant Tim Hare during the two-day festival.

The incredible award will mark a milestone moment for the organisation during its sixth event with organisers anticipating that this year’s festival will be the biggest since it first launched in 2013.

GNUF’s tireless producer and director, Mary Agnes Krell, will be on-hand to receive the award alongside her hard-working colleagues.

“We are absolutely overwhelmed with this award, we just cannot believe that our festival and organisation has been given the Royal seal of approval,” said Mary, who originally hails from California in the US.

“It is a testament to the hard-working volunteers we have who work around the clock to run GNUF and bring something amazing to West Yorkshire. We couldn’t be happier to receive such a prestigious honour.”

GNUF is no stranger to receiving top accolades either, having been crowned the ‘Best Ukulele Festival’ winner in the Uke Magazine Awards in 2017.

And the group received the ‘Epic Award’ from Voluntary Arts on May 3rd, after being shortlisted alongside 32 other organisations in England.

“It’s been an amazing year for good news about our organisation and the festival. The Epic Award was just the icing on the cake in preparation for our event. We are so excited about our upcoming event and it’s definitely going to be one to remember,” added Mary, a ukulele player and digital artist living in Hebden Bridge.

“We have artists from all over the world and people coming from every quarter of the globe such as Alaska, Australia and South America.”

Since first launching five years ago in Pontefract, the original plan was for the festival to be held in a different town each year.

But since staging it in Huddersfield in 2014, the organisers have never looked back and it’s become an annual fixture in the town.

The festival is much more than a ukulele gathering too – it invites some of the most exciting musicians from all over the world to perform such as Lancashire’s Andy Eastwood, British parodist Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer and Dutch YouTube sensation Natasha Ghosh.

And there will be a special welcome for Huddersfield-based Iain Glencross, a local GP, who will be showcasing his talents on the ukulele.

Workshops to refine ukulele skills, find out about English folk music or learn more about sustainability will also be taking place as well as on-going entertaining shows including cabaret and performing arts.

The festival will be showing its support for anti-plastic waste too, by using reusable containers and not single-use plastics at its food and drinks stall.

Mary, 45, added: “There’s so much happening at this year’s festival that we can’t wait for the town of Huddersfield to enjoy. It’s going to be a spectacular way to spend a few days promoting some of the most exciting musical talent from across the globe.”

The festival will be mostly staged at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Queen Street, Huddersfield. There will also be free, live music at Vinyl Tap in John William Street, as well as other events and gigs at The Head of Steam in St George’s Square, Cambridge Hotel in Clare Hill and The Sportsman in Saint John’s Road.

And, it might already be sold out, but there will be a pre-event festival party held at Magic Rock Brewing on May 10th, to kickstart the official festival which runs from May 11th-13th.

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