The 6th annual Ukekopelli Festival kicked off last Friday, Sept. 27 at the African American Performing Arts Center with a concert featuring the hit music of the Beatles.
"The only festival that was anywhere near here was in Reno, Nevada," Gary Wells, one of the organizers said. "So, the local clubs, the local people that I knew, we decided we could have one ourselves."
The theme was chosen because this year is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' eleventh studio album "Abbey Road," which Wells said defined rock and roll at the time of its release.
Performers at the concert included Brooke Adams, who played the entire "Abbey Road" album, and Bete-lele, who also performed Beatles covers.
Alex Wells, a volunteer at the event and the son of festival organizer Gary Wells, said the band Bete-lele had to be booked three years prior to the event this weekend, adding that they are in fairly high demand.
"They are definitely some of the best performers we’ve had on this stage. Super interactive," Alex said. "It was really fun to hear them have the whole crowd sing along because that’s not something that generally gets to happen a whole lot here."
Wells said he is involved with the event because he is "genetically obligated" — his dad is an organizer. His girlfriend, Mckenna Roberts, has also volunteered at Ukekopelli for the past three years.
"I honestly think this is one of the best concerts that we’ve had. It’s definitely the most interactive its been," Roberts said. "It was really amazing that the organizer found a band that was specifically a ukulele band that plays Beatles songs, considering that the festival's theme this year was the Beatles."
The festival continued all weekend with Sunday as the last day. It included workshops for both experienced ukulele players as well as beginners and those simply interested in the instrument.
"People don’t understand that ukulele music can be whatever you want it to be," Wells said.
Full coverage of the concert can be found on the Daily Lobo YouTube page and at dailylobo.com.
Multimedia reporter Jose Couvillion contributed to this article.
Makayla Grijalva is the managing editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @MakaylaEliboria