HOYLAKE'S fifth annual Summer Strum ukulele festival has been hailed a huge success after record crowds turned out for this year's event.

A roaming audience of 2,500 people turned out to enjoy the fun family atmosphere and foot stomping ukulele tunes ranging from covers of the Rolling Stones to Madonna and Fatboy Slim, plus original songs at Hoylake Rugby Club last weekend.

More than 350 musicians, making up 57 acts performed as the sun shone down on the event, which aims spread wellbeing in the community through music.

Summer Strum festival organiser Pat Ross-Davies from Hoylake, a musician with Wirral band Broken Strings, said: "It has truly been our best year yet.

"The variety and quality of all the acts was just brilliant, everyone pulled out all the stops and there were some truly amazing performances, creating so many wonderful moments and memories to look back on."

Among the highlights were ukulele arrangements of Queen's Don't stop me now and Tina Turner's River deep, mountain high and a storming dance set from Saturday headliners the Splintered Ukes.

Sunday headliners the D'Ukes of Hazzard got the crowd singing along to Madonna's True Blue and Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff, after hosting a morning Toast 'n' Jam session with around a hundred audience members joining in classics such as Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues.

The event, which has been held annually since 2015, was in aid of Wirral Mind and Wirral Hospice St John's.

A busking bus was parked up where musicians could video themselves playing and post the results on social media with the hashtag #summerstrum5.

Other acts included the Secret Ukulele Band from Waterloo, Ukulele Club Liverpool, Wirral Ukulele Fanatics, Scotland's the Small-town Splitters, Grab it and Bang from Manchester, Jefferson Milkfloat, Ukuleighties, Chester Ukes, Sebukulele from Paris, Neston Strummers, the YinYanBand, Fragile Lucy and Grateful Fred's Ukelear Deterrent.

Pat Ross-Davies continued: "We were blown away by the reaction from the crowd, the atmosphere was absolutely fantastic, it was great to see so many people getting involved, singing, dancing and clapping along.

"It was wonderful to see all ages enjoying the music, from age three to ninety-three.

"Our goal is to spread wellbeing in the community and we are overjoyed that we have certainly done that and put smiles on so many faces."

Co-organiser Emma Owen from Birkenhead, who also plays with Broken Strings and duo The Two Of Us, helped found the festival with Pat five years ago.

She said: “We are honoured so many wonderful people came to play, listen and join in.

“A huge thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers, traders and partners including our hosts Hoylake Rugby Club, who helped make this a massive success.

“We’ve already had people enquiring about next year so we are excited to get on with planning that, once we have taken a breath!”

Among the performers John Griffiths of the Secret Ukulele Band from Waterloo, said: “This year’s Summer Strum was better than ever! The quality and variety of the bands was unbelievable, and the audience were tremendous! I don’t know how they’ll top it next year, but I know they will!”

Dave Cornett, band leader of the D’Ukes of Hazzard said: “The ukulele scene is like a big family, we all look out for each other and support each other’s bands, so this is the highlight of the year for most of us. It’s a joy to be able to get together and celebrate and share our love of music in such a wonderful fun setting.”

Frontman with the Splintered Ukes Lewis Dinsdale, Headteacher at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School in School Lane, Litherland, said the band enjoyed their own Glastonbury moment headlining on Saturday night.

He said: "What a weekend. This is always the highlight of the year for us and this year was no exception!

“The quality of the bands and the sense of pure enjoyment by all who attended was awesome! The whole focus of the weekend was wellbeing, looking out for each other, and that was what made it so special.

“Taking to the mainstage this year was truly an honour for us in the Splintered Ukes and we were blown away by the reaction to our set on Saturday evening - it genuinely felt like Hoylake Rugby Club had become our little corner of Glastonbury!

“The power of the ukulele cannot be underestimated; as a force for good, to bring people together, to heal and sooth and to help lift spirits.

“Anyone who didn't attend or missed out - see you at Summer Strum 6 in 2020. We. Cannot. Wait!"

Rosie Wright of Wirral Ukulele Fanatics, Mersey Belles and her Cilla Black tribute act Cilla's Back, also delivered a children’s workshops.

She said: "We had oodles of fun, it was great to get the kids singing, strumming and dancing – just like the adults!

"Ukulele is a great introduction for children to learn an instrument, and is a excellent confidence builder too. Summer Strum gives them a chance to see what a fun social community music can bring to their lives.”

Elaine Kinsella of Ukulele Club Liverpool said: “Summer Strum just keeps on getting better. There is always a refreshingly brilliant collection of new tunes and ukulele arrangements to hear each year.

"It really is a perfect community festival and a great way to bring people together over the common interest of the underdog of all instruments, the ukulele."

You can see pictures and videos from the event on Summer Strum’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To find out more about Summer Strum visit