By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – The second annual Ukulele Festival is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 9, in the loft of the Arcadia Round Barn. Eighteen ukulele acts are set to perform at the venue located on historic U.S. Route 66. (107 E. Highway 66).
“The show will also feature ‘The Big Ole’ Uke Band,’ with players collaborating for a group arrangement to start about 2 p.m.,” said Joe Baxter, music coordinator at the Round Barn.
The first ukulele festival, held in June 2018, drew one of the largest musical event crowds ever at the barn, Baxter said.
Baxter, a singer-songwriter, and guitar and mandolin player, said he “succumbed to the enthusiasm surrounding the festival and is now preparing some ukulele tunes so he too can be part of the program,” according to the press release.
‘Ukulele’ is the traditional Hawaiian name given to a small instrument called the machete (machete de braga), which was originally developed in the Madeira Islands of Portugal. A member of the guitar family, the machete is a descendent of the early European and Middle Eastern stringed instruments (such as the lute) that goes by several different names including the cavaquinho, braguinha, manchhete and cavaco.
The weekend live music lineup at the barn will begin on Saturday, June 8, with a Morning Music concert by Norman singer-songwriter J.L. Jones. Morning Music is from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Saturday in the downstairs museum of the Round Barn.
Sitting above a terrace overlooking the Deep Fork River, the Round Barn has been a center of community activity for over a century.
Built by William Harrison “Big Bill” Odor in 1898, the barn stands 60 feet in diameter and 43 feet high with a local red Permian rock foundation. Over the next 25 years, barn dances drew crowds and musicians to Arcadia from and wide.
Odor reportedly compared the barn’s acoustics with those of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and it became a popular music center as Arcadia developed.
After U.S. Highway 66 was constructed through Arcadia in 1928, travelers along the Mother Road soon made the barn a Route 66 landmark.
In 1977, the barn was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Major restoration efforts began when the Arcadia Historical Society acquired the property in 1988.
Admission is free to all Ukulele Festival events, but donations are accepted.
The Round Barn is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and is owned and managed by the nonprofit Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society. It is located six miles east of Interstate 35 on Historic Route 66 and the parking lot is on the north side of the barn.
For event updates, visit the Ukulele Festival Facebook page.