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Mandorah Ukulele and Folk Festival (MUFF)

What do Neil Armstrong, Marilyn Monroe and Warren Buffett and Darwin local Kirstene Ost all have in common? A love for the ukulele.

After Armstrong landed back on Earth from his trip to the Moon he was quarantined with the rest of the Apollo 11 crew for 21 days and passed the time playing the uke. Monroe was the strumming songstress in Some Like It Hot, and billionaire Buffett was rumoured to have picked up the instrument to impress a gal in his youth – and stuck with it long after she rejected him.

Ost only picked up the uke three years ago, joking it was a mid-life crisis which drove her off the musical deep-end.

“I needed a dose of joy in my life and I’d talked about the uke to my partner,” she says.

“He bought one for my birthday and since then I haven’t put it down.”

Ost isn’t the only uke fan in the Top End. The annual Mandorah Ukulele and Folk Festival (MUFF) increases in popularity each year.

“It’s a really casual festival,” Ost says.

“There’re kids running around everywhere and a stage set under a glorious banyan tree.

“It’s the type of festival where there’s someone on stage and half the crowd is strumming along, or they play a certain song and suddenly there’s 200 people up dancing.”

Headlining the event is the "world's most dangerous uke show", Ukulele Death Squad, plus Benhur and the Tiny Love Orchestra, Mirrabooka, Azo Bel and AJ Leonard.

On stage over the two-day festival you can see local favourites, including Ben Evolent, Jigsaw Collective, Stevie Jean, Serina Pech, Dave Garnham, Ali Mills and Tracey Bunn.

The 2018 festival features fun for the whole family with the Burning Circus entertaining the kids and Firestone Tours teaching spear throwing.

If you’ve been looking for an excuse to pick up a new hobby, MUFF is the best time to learn a couple of chords on the uke.

“I think what I really love is that it’s so easy to learn a few chords. Once you know a few chords you can play so many songs and it gives you such a good excuse to sing,” Ost says.

Sat 30 Jun – Sun 1 Jul | Cox Country Club, Wagait Beach | See the event listing

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