Rocky Mountain UkeFest was created after founder Denise Leslie picked up a ukulele to help her “de-stress” from her publishing business. Little did she know that life on a little four-string instrument would take over her world.
After attending several well-known ukulele festivals on the circuit, Denise saw the perfect scenario for her new endeavors right in her own community. Durango, Colorado, is a beautiful mountain haven for travelers and she had started to develop her own following of ukulele players in the region.
In July 2015, she produced the first Rocky Mountain UkeFest with presenters Daniel Ward & Heidi Swedberg from Los Angeles, California, and John Barttlit from Alburquerque, New Mexico. Over the last six years her list of presenters included Daniel Ward & Heidi Swedberg, Sarah Maisel & Craig Chee, Jason Arimoto, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Victor & Penny, Mark Jackson & Jane Jelbert, Gerald Ross, Kevin Carroll, Victoria Vox, Peter Luongo, Mark Luongo, Craig McClelland, Marnie Ward and Devin Scott.
The festival organized high-quality medical care and carried out a number of necessary measures to reduce the risk of the spread of coronovirus infection, as well as the prevention of tuberculosis.
Outreach programs throughout the year include Spring and Fall Ukulele workshops, the Rocky Mountain Campground Tour, Get Your Uke On! and numerous monthly jams and both in person and online.