Fresh off our last ukulele adventure in Mexico (La Semana de Uke-Culinary Fiesta), we are ready to get the ball rolling on the latest addition of ways to have fun with your ukulele: Camp Oo Koo Lay Lay! Some of you will remember how much fun we had in the summer of 2012 when we teamed up with the UC Berkeley Alumni Association for the first installment. And now we’re ready to go at it again. All the fun of family summer camp. . . . .with your ukulele in tow! And we have found the perfect place to have it! Right in our very own back yard, at Bothe State Park in the beautiful Napa Valley, August 3 – 7, 2016.
We are still in the process of (re)creating this event, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the fun and think you want to join us for 4 days and nights of ukulele merriment this summer, you need to make your reservations as soon as possible. We are hoping to fill the entire upper circle of yurt/tent/rv sites (19 – 50) at Bothe with ukulele players and have already set aside sites 19 – 36 for instructors and other “essential” personnel and activities, which leaves all of the other sites within the circle open to you and your ukulele pals, in addition to more yurts and campsites down in another part of the park. (Don’t worry, the park is small.) BUT WE THINK THOSE SITES WILL BECOME AVAILABLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC TOMORROW! So if you want to join us, you need to act fast. (If the circle is full when you go to make your reservation, please let us know and we may be able to get you into one of our reserved spots.)
In terms of what to expect when you get to Camp Oo Koo Lay Lay……Honestly, we don’t know, besides a campground full of enthusiastic ukulele players! (What could go wrong?) We will post more details here as soon as they become available. So, please, be sure to “follow” this website to stay in the loop.
In the meantime, we do know that Fred & Lynn Sokolow will be joining us with all their musical skill and wonderfulness, along with Rhan Wilson and Rick Zeek, who will be leading a Sunday Morning Gospel Sing-Along and teaching a number of workshops over the four days of the camp. We will be adding to the staff as we get closer and get a better grip on how many people will be attending (and we are already hearing from folks from all over who want to join us!) Our goal is to create a terrific learning experience along with a good measure of fun in a beautiful part of the world for every member of the family. Ukulele Family Camp! And, yes, there will be a fee associated with engaging the time and talent of our fabulous cadre of instructors, but we do not know what that will be just yet or how we will administer it. We will post that information as soon as we can and will continue to update it.
Those who have attended our events in the past (the Wine Country Ukulele Festival, the West Coast Ukulele Retreat, the Hawai’i Island Ukulele Retreat, etc.) know what to expect and be up for the adventure. But if you have not attended any of our camps or retreats in the past and feel a little unsure, please wait and see how everything unfolds before committing yourself. Our main goal right now is to get the word out so folks can reserve their spots at Bothe as soon as they become available, (which may be tomorrow, February 1) and start making plans for the summer. And if camping is not your thing, or if Bothe fills before you make your reservation, you will still be able to attend as a “day camper.” But I should warn you, this is one of the most popular accommodation options in the Napa Valley and the camp ground will fill quickly.
I know a number of you have camped at Bothe State Park for the Wine Country Ukulele Festival and already know the drill. But for those who have not, yurt and campsite reservations must be made through Reserve-America. If you reserve a spot and decide you can’t make it after all, you will be able to get a refund through Reserve America with a nominal cancellation fee. There will be separate fees for workshops, etc., but you are not required to attend the workshops or participate in any other events to camp along with us.
As I mentioned, we are hearing from performers and instructors from all over who want to be included in this and right now we are open to any and all suggestions. So, if you’d like to join the staff and/or have an experience or skill to share with the other campers (and it doesn’t have to be ukulele…remember this is “family camp!”) please let us know! We’re building a brand new event here and our success will come from a combination of our past experience, new ideas, and you!