World music dinner show


This is a new addition to our festival and it’s going to be something very special!

Join us for a sumptuous 2 course dinner (alternate drop) at the top class Pacific Hotel for a unique world music experience, never presented in Cairns before.

Start the night watching the sun set in the outdoor area, with traditional and modern Hawaiian music by Kainoa Kamaka, and catch up with ukulele friends over a drink.

Next we shall be seated at our tables for dinner and a special one night only show by Candra Kirana (pronounce: Chandra Kirana)

“Indonesia’s answer to Cesaria Evora and Buena Vista Social Club”


Ibu Lina is the lead singer and band leader of Candra Kirana, keeping the orchestra together for over 30 years with band members hailing from various Indonesian islands. The orchestra consists of six band members, with each band member coming from a family of musicians and has practiced the art of Keroncong folk music since childhood. The orchestra features vocals, cak tenor ukulele, ukulele, violin, cello and double bass. Keroncong music dates back to the Portuguese sailors following the spice trade in the early 1600s. They brought their stringed instruments with them during their travels. Keroncong music tells the tales of love, yearning, beauty and melancholy as well as an appreciation of the natural environment and countryside. Festival organiser Gaby Thomasz describes the music and the orchestra as “Indonesia’s answer to Cesaria Evora and the Buena Vista Social Club”, referring to the charismatic band leader with powerful operetta like vocals and melodies, a rich history and rhythms reminiscent of South American music, but with a distinctly Indonesian flavour.

For more information and to book, follow this link

Ukulele buskers wanted!


In a bid to create even more playing opportunities for ukulele players, the festival invites ukulele players to be part of a new festival program component, the Ukulele Buskers Walk.

The festival has been able to secure four exclusive buskers locations along  Shields St in  the Cairns CBD between 25 and 28 August for approved ukulele buskers.

This will be a great opportunity for ukulele players of all ages to share the joy of ukulele with locals and tourists, bring life to the CBD, and get everyone into the spirit of the Cairns Ukulele Festival!

For more information and to apply, please follow this link. 

Arriving early?


Are you arriving early in the festival week? Great! There’s lots to see and do!

Cairns is a wonderful base from where you can explore the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s oldest rainforest, the tropical Tablelands and more!

We’re pleased to announce the Australian Ukulele Teachers and Leaders Association development day held Thursday August 25th. This is a great opportunity for those who teach or lead groups around the country to share and learn from each other. Head over to our web site for further details and to register your interest.  

There are also two ukulele jam sessions:

Far North Ukes has a jam at the Trinity Beach Sports Club on Tuesday the morning of Tuesday the 23rd of August and the Holloways Ukulele Group has their regular Wednesday jam at Strait on the Beach at 6pm on the 24th.

If you’re still looking for accommodation, please consider our festival partners, Cairns Hilton and the Pacific Hotel. They are offering special deals for festival attendees. 

A reminder:

If you wish to dine at Mondo Restaurant and enjoy our Maton Songwriters on the Waterfront session held Thursday evening 25th of August at 5pm, please make sure you book early. Last year, the restaurant was fully booked and we’ve been informed bookings are already rolling in. Follow this link for more details. 

Introducing: Kainoa Kamaka


Thanks to the generous support of KoAloha Ukuleles, the festival is thrilled to introduce Kainoa Kamaka, a Hawaiian born and bred entertainer whose video of Johnny B. Goode on ukulele recently went viral on Facebook. Kainoa shall be performing traditional Hawaiian music during the world music dinner evening on Friday the 26th of August as well as plenty of other party music throughout the festival.

13076649_10153647162167339_7243147326587064226_nKainoa has been an entertainer for over 20 years and credits his success to his parents. His mother is a talented hula dancer and father a gifted musician, a relationship that resulted in Kainoa’s entertainer instincts and on-stage charisma.  In 1993, Kainoa moved to the island of Kaua’i and started ‘Kainoa Ohana’, singing and playing the ‘ukulele with an amazing group of guys!  Kainoa Ohana soon became Kaua’i’s most popular band and had a cameo appearance in the 1998 Harrison Ford movie “Six Days, Seven Nights.” During a recent visit to Hawaii, Kainoa reconnected with his friend Greg Gabaylo who invited him to judge Johnny Kai’s “Brown Bags to Stardom” talent show contest along with other Hawai’i entertainers: Living Legend, Kimo Kahoano and Hawaiian Vocalist Kekoa Kane.  Each judge was asked to do one act and Kainoa performed his ‘Johnny B. Goode’ routine.  The performance was video recorded and shared on social media.  The video went viral and was shared on Stephanie Lum’s, Hawaii News Now anchor, social media page and on Hawaii local news.  This performance has led to a new relationship between Kainoa and the KoAloha ‘Ukulele family, an opportunity of which he is both excited and honoured to be a part of!