The end of the 2018-2019 financial year is on our doorstep … and BUMS Inc membership fees of $50 will be due on 1 July 2019.
Payment Options are described on


For new members … the bargain of the year is pay for the 2019-2020 financial year in May 2019 and get May & June free! Download the membership application form today. And visit our Membership Payments webpage for advice on how to pay.

What’s in it for you?

Membership fees are used to maintain our performance and jam audio visual gear, hire venues, offer jams, concerts and workshops, and run our biennial ukulele festival, SPRUKE.

And FOR YOU, it means …

  • Free entry to BUMS Inc monthly jams
  • Discounts at a range of BUMS Inc workshops and concerts – See the workshops coming up in May (baritone) and June (strumming, bluegrass) 2019.
  • The right to vote at general meetings, and to nominate for positions on the society’s management committee
  • Eligibility to be promoted on our ukulele performers and ukulele teachers web pages
  • Eligibility to sell your old uke via our website or social media when you upgrade your uke.


Please note that as incorporated body, our management committee has a legislated responsibility to keep accurate up-to-date membership records. Help us to get it right.

Please complete a BUMS Membership Renewal Form to confirm your contact details. If you renew by bank transfer, and email your renewal form to with your transaction record. Or, if you renew at a jam, fill in a renewal form at the members’ sign-in desk.

McCarthy's Celtic Music Session now at the Brat Cave in Wooloongabba from Thursday 2 May 2019

The Toowong Twin Sessions have renamed to McCarthy’s Celtic Music Session, to honour their Irish Australian founder and mentor, Brendan Williams. Along with the name change they have a new home at The Brat Cave, Wooloongabba, every Thursday from 5 to 10 PM.

The Open Session will start around 5:30 – 6:00 and finish after 9:00pm. Expect to enjoy performances beforehand and after. The early section of the session still nurtures all comers including beginners on D tuned ukulele. Read more about that here. The repertoire is Celtic but now also includes BUMS style Ukulele Club Music & Contemporary Acoustic too.

McCarthy’s Celtic Music Session are inviting all BUMS members to the first session in their new venue. There’ll be lots of beautiful, stirring music, amazing food, beverages and hospitality. Bring your ukulele and join in. No preparation necessary for the opening.

DATE: Thursday 2 May 2019.
VENUE: The Brat Cave, 47 Balaclava St, Wooloongabba
TIME: Arrive any time from 5:00.

RSVP via their Facebook event “McCarthy’s Celtic Session – New Location!” if you are coming. While you are there, share the love and give their new Facebook page McCarthy’s Celtic Music Session a LIKE.👍

The Celtic sessions have a new home at the Brat Cave in Wooloongabba.

The Brat Cave is an uber-cool warehouse in Woolloongabba and home of Brat Haus, where patrons can enjoy Brisbane’s best German sausages, drink beer and now play uke. This grotto in the Gabba is furnished with retro chairs, lounges and tall tables with natural lighting highlighting the colourful wall mural.

As well having a lively Celtic session you can kick back with a beer (there’s six beers on tap) and bratwurst – spicy, mild, cheese, chicken and firewurst – on a freshly baked bread roll generously topped with sauerkraut and fried onions….. Or a pretzel with plain, cheese or cheese and garlic on offer.


Amanda & Zoè’s Birthday Extravaganza

This year, two of our BUMS Festival Group (BFG) members, Amanda Allwood and Zoë Watson, celebrated their birthdays at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival.

BUMS had a large number of performers and workshop presenters at SCUF this year. Hypnotonics, the BFG, Donna & Derek Farrell, Girt By C, Miss Elm, The CAGE, Duke Uke’m, Free Range chUKES, Kine Kool, Mama Juju, The Cage, Hint of Rosemary, Duo-Ver, The Inconvenience Store, Ukulele Saints, Vic Kena, and members of Redlands City Ukes!

Amanda and Zoe’s birthday was the perfect opportunity for many of them to get together at the local to share the celebration.

Amanda & Zoe’s birthday extravaganza

I was humbled by the sheer number of BUMS and others who wished us well, sang us happy birthday and even used Happy Birthday as their sound check song! Thank you one and all for making it a day to remember!” said Amanda.


It was a great night with Queensland’s Gypsy Rumble performing at Samuel Gray’s on Saturday 30 May. Quite a crowd turned out at the restaurant. Maybe fifty BUMS stayed for the whole three-hour show, while a few others drifted slowly away.

Gypsy Rumble at Samual Grays, Mar 2019

The group presented a three terrific sets of mostly originals from their CD like ‘Ode to Gin’, ‘Drunk’, ‘Looking Away’, and ‘Hank’,and a few covers. Tim was on tenor uke and banjo, Emily on bari uke and violin, and Nick on drums, and all band members sang vocals. During the 10-min breaks between sets, we queued up for CDs and autographs.

Audience participation was encouraged, with dancing, clapping and foot-stamping throughout. The audience also had some vocal input as an African choir, when Gypsy Rumble performed ‘Diamonds on Sole of Shoes’, and a quieter one, ‘Into my Arms’. I put in a request for their GPS song, ‘Heading in Wrong Direction’, which they’d performed at Lefties, when Death Squad was in town.

Lesley Allen give Gypsy Rumble the thumbs up.

Towards end of night, it was ‘Vegetarian Christmas’, all up for dance. And we tried to do a polka to ‘Thong’.

Their final song was ‘Monkey Rumble’, with 95% of audience up on dance floor or around tables. It was followed by an encore, called ‘Son of a Bitch’?
If you miss Gypsy Rumble at Albany Creek in March, or at Kenilworth for April’s Sunshine Coast Ukulele Festival, perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to see them at SPRUKE in September.

Thank you to the owners and staff of Samual Grays for hosting the event.

Lesley Allen

Samual Grays – Great food, great service, great venue.



The BUMS Big Uke Jam at Coorparoo was attracting over 100 participants as far back as 2010.

The smallish photographic studio at the rear of ‘HOOK Ads’  was gradually becoming too small to accommodate a growing number of jam goers. By pure chance Dixie Scully was at the Coorparoo Bowls Club (CBC) one day, and to cut a longish story short, it transpired that the CBC was available for gatherings and had food and beverages available as well. Bonus!!  Without further ado BUMS moved from Bowen Hills to the Coorparoo Bowls Club, and we haven’t looked back since.

Initially members jammed downstairs in the bar area but quickly outgrew that space. When the jam regularly drew over 100 players, the committee negotiated to move upstairs.  The CBC has since become ‘BUMS HQ’ and remains the ‘flagship jam’ venue.

Bruce Uhlhorn leads the February 2010 jam downstairs at Coorparoo.

Bruce Uhlhorn, Milton Scully, Kahiwa Sebire and Garry Collins led segments of the jam. Garry created the BUMS songbooks that were used before the money earned by the Performing BUMS funded an AV set up that allowed the set leaders to project songsheets for viewing, and be amped and miced for volume. In the early days, Jimmy Hooper and Michael Madden were regular open mic performers. Eventually, Milton Scully became the main jam leader. Michael Willimott took over when Milton and Dixie joined the ‘on-the-road-again’ grey nomad brigade.

Peter McMeel introduced the 6:30 beginners group in about 2011 to cater to the growing numbers of beginners attending the jam. Many BUMS have shared the role since then, including John MacMillan, Michelle Paddy, Marg Renwood, Keryn Henderson, Garry Collins, Chrissy Heinrich, Ian Phillips, Steve Sandilands and Amanda Allwood.

In about 2013, the role of jam leader was made more manageable by inviting individuals and groups to lead a set each, instead of the jam leader being responsible for all three sets.

Now the Coorparoo jam enjoys a wide variety of set leaders and open mic performers that present a diverse range of music. The February 2019 Coorparoo Jam was no exception.

The evening began with Amanda Allwood’s 6:30 beginners group. Then Steve and Darrel filled a ‘technical difficulties’ gap in the program with an impromptu open mic performance of Cold Chisel’s song, Ita. David Pedler and Lyn Lucas began the jam proper by leading a fantastic Beatles tribute set. The Beatles songs always seem to ‘strike a chord’ with jam-goers, and this set was no exception.

Set 1 with David, Lyn and Cath.

Peter Ransom presented a surprise set for open mic with his usual eclectic but tuneful numbers from the past.

Toowong Irish Group leads Set 2.

Then Coorparoo went Irish! Peter McMeel, his mate Brendan Williams and the Toowong Irish group ran a stirring and toe tapping Irish set, as a prelude to their Celtic music workshop at Zillmere.

Peter McMeel, Geoff Dancer and Brendan Williams

The jam closed with an energetic set of contemporary popular songs by Coady & Adrian (code name Coadrian), with the indefatigable ‘Jazz Hands’ Cath McCourt on ubass.

Coadrian lead Set 3.


Cath McCourt on uBass.

The Coorparoo Jam continues to delight our members and visitors. A big thank you to all the Coorparoo regular set leaders and jam coordinators who’ve kept the ball rolling and the music playing for the past 9 years — Milton Scully, Michael Willimott, John Henderson, Lindsay Ball, Blair Marks, David Hethorn, Ian Phillips, Rob Carlyle and Max Borchardt to name a few.

And thanks to our ubass players for keeping us in time. Once the sole province of Cath McCourt, thanks to Cath’s excellent tuition and generous sharing of knowledge, we now have many ubass players to help lead sets at BUMS jams.

If you’re planning a night out on the 1st Wednesday of the month, join us at Coorparoo. Everyone is welcome! Members free, visitors $5.

And … if you don’t own a uke, you can borrow a ‘club uke’, to jam along.



On St Paddy’s Day eve, our Brisbane ukulele family were treated to a wonderful morning of Irish music to celebrate the magic of D-tuned ukulele.

Celtic Ukulele Music Workshop, March 2019

The Celtic Ukulele Workshop run by the Toowong Irish Music Session on behalf of BUMS was held at Zillmere Hall, on Saturday morning 16 March.

About 20 participants, mostly beginner level, were enjoyed 100 minutes of introductory musical study, guided by more than half a dozen enthusiastic and knowledgeable uke teachers and tutors.

The outcome was a morning of wonderful Irish Song accompanied on D-tuned ukulele. We learned the wonderful Raglan Road and Star of the County Down. The group felt another workshop soon would be great. Thank you BUMS Inc for hosting the workshop.

As a result of the March workshop, we were pleased to welcome three of the participants to their first Irish music session at our venue, Toowong Bowls Club. Everyone is welcome, regardless of levels of experience. So please come along on Thursdays between 5:30 pm and 9:00 pm.

For more information contact Pete on 0447 721 669.

Or hit us up on our Toowong Irish Music Session Facebook page.

Peter McMeel
Toowong Irish Music Session

Our first Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp for the year was held on 13 & 20 March 2019.

The March Beginners Ukulele Bootcampers hard at work.

Here’s what one of our enthusiastic Bootcampers, Eva-Maree Matson, had to say about the course.

So glad I attended Beginners Bootcamp! After struggling through countless YouTube sessions at the beginning of my uke journey, it was pure pleasure to be part of a group learning session led by patient and knowledgeable teachers, Keryn, Julie and John.

The course is really well set out, and the setting is relaxed (you do not feel pressured at all). You’ll surprise yourself, as I did, just how much you can take in if you apply yourself. And it’s such fun too with everyone playing along together!

You’re sent the course notes after attending, and I found that really helpful to reinforce what I had learnt during the session. So handy to have to refer back to as well.

I am not familiar with reading sheet music, timing, and beats etc, but Keryn and Julie explained the basics to us simply and clearly, and gave excellent tips for smoother chord progressions. By the end of the second session you’ll be equipped with a bunch of chords to take you through quite a few songs.

After such an enjoyable learning experience, I would recommend Beginners Bootcamp for anyone looking to make a strong start on the ukulele.

If you live on the northside and you’re looking for a Bootcamp closer to home, come to the FREE April Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp at Nundah. Beginners Bootcamp is specifically for ukulele players who can move smoothly amongst the basic chords like C, F & G7, and perhaps Am & G.

John and Keryn will run the April Bootcamp at the Nundah Brisbane City Council Library on two consecutive Wednesday evenings.

Session 1: Wednesday 17 April 2019
Session 2: Wednesday 24 April 2019.

Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp offers practice tips, finger dexterity drills, ear training exercises, basic music theory, and how to find clues for playing songs in sheet music. The chords used in this course include A,  A7, Am, Am7, C, C6, C7, Cmaj7, D, D7, Dm, E7, F, G, and G7.

Registrations open on 1 March 2019. Bookings are for two sessions. Arrive at 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm sharp start. Sessions run from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Bring your uke and tuner.

Please only register if you are available for both sessions. Each person must register separately. The group size is limited to 24 participants. If you miss out, please add your name to the waiting list. Registrations close 7:00 pm on Wednesday 10 April 2019. Booking into Session 1 automatically books you into Session 2.

BUMS are holding an open mic contest in the run up to our festival SPRUKE 2019

We want your act, whether a solo, group, adult or child, as long as you play ukulele. Players at any playing level are welcome to enter, you can even share the stage with up to 10 of your friends. You can be a beginner or a seasoned open mic performer. This is a popularity contest! The winner of every round will be chosen by the most votes from our jam audiences.

For even more fun there is an element of chance in the Sprukestar Quest Contest:

  • There is a random draw of the twenty (open mic) performance spots for the 10 Sprukestar Quest rounds on Monday 25 February.
  • In addition there is one random wildcard draw into semi-final 2 from all the entries not through to the semi-final rounds.

Find all the details and entry form on the Spruke Brisbane’s Ukulele Festival website.

The finalists will perform at the SPRUKE 2019 Festival Finale Concert.
The winning act will also receive a $500 Gift Voucher and the runner up act a $250 Gift Voucher.

• Read the Terms and Conditions.
• Make sure you can commit to the performance schedule. Download PDF.
• Get a photo of your act. Entrants will be required to provide a photograph of the entrant/act with his/her ukulele for publicity purposes: GIF/JPG/PNG image files accepted. Landscape orientation. File size less than 1MB.
• Complete the Entry Form with your personal details, and photo.
• Performers under the age of eighteen (18), download the “Minors Media Consent Form” sign and return via by Friday 22 February 2019.

Entries CLOSED midnight Friday 22 February 2019.

Stay tuned with winners of our open mic spots will be announce on Tuesday.

If you don’t enter please come and support the Sprukestar Quest performances, we need you in the audience to vote for your favourite act. Check out the schedule for all the rounds below.

Sprukestar Quest Performance Schedule- updated


Absolute Beginners Bootcamp was run at Bulimba BCC Library on 13 & 20 February. The course was over-subscribed, so we opened it up to the waiting list. One of our enthusiastic bootcampers, Donna Singleton, has this to say …

Why Bootcamp?

Brisbane Ukulele Bootcamps are FREE. There is your first draw card.

And, what have you got to lose? A few hours on a Wednesday night?

Session 2, Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp at Bulimba, February 2019

Three marvellous people, Keryn, Julie and John have designed classes to make it easier for people to start playing the ukulele, and not fluff around trying to mimic others. There are many videos on YouTube, but if you are not musically minded, this can be very daunting. Now you can say goodbye to the ‘daunt’.

At Bootcamp you learn basic strumming and picking techniques and how to read music notation, all in a very relaxed manner. The pace is set by the group on the night so that nobody is left behind. The song choices are varied, which is nice, and unexpected, as they all have limited chords. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and the lessons designed to give a basic understanding of how music is written and played, and how to recognise the sounds of notes and chords, and to feel rhythm. We also learned how to take care of and strengthen our fingers and hands.

We played … I use that term loosely … a few simple tunes on the first night. A pretty good achievement, I thought. We were supplied with notes and songsheets from the session for our homework. When we returned for the second class, we had all practised for different amounts of time. I tell you what though, by the end of that final class, we were playing more chords and more difficult tunes without too much pausing.

For a bunch that couldn’t play a chord at the beginning of the previous week, this was really pretty cool. For non-music teachers, these three are pretty awesome uke teachers.
I am now looking forward to the Beginners  Ukulele Bootcamp in March.

Donna Singleton

Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp

Registrations are currently open for: