Amazingly, the Brisbane Ukulele Musicians Society Inc (affectionately known as BUMS) — that turns ten this May — continues to ride high on the wave of the 21st Century ukulele revival. A tiny ripple begun by Sammy Lovejoy’s email invitation to a ukulele gathering on Wednesday 2 May 2007 at the Tiki Bar in Newstead, is now a torrent of ukulele activities. The trickle of enthusiastic musicians seeking to expand their musical repertoire, has risen with the ukulele tide to an all-time high of over 300 voting musicians and 20 young associate members. Each month, BUMS jams are awash with new and continuing members, visitors and the occasional celebrity.
Thanks to the foresight of past President, Bruce Uhlhorn and Treasurer, Garry Collins, the small informal gathering of like-minded musicians is now an incorporated body boasting six jams each month, three adult and one junior community band, several workshops per year and a biennial festival.
BUMS of today owe a huge debt of gratitude to the original Performing BUMS (of which there were too many to name separately), who sought paid gigs to finance their altruistic vision of sharing the uke-love through well-resourced jam venues and community bands. BUMS are also very grateful to Coorparoo Bowls Club for giving us our first home base, and Guitar Brothers and Music Express for the raffles prizes in the early days. Throughout it all, Blair Marks continues to ensure that BUMS always sound their best.
The first BUMS performance was at the Stitches Comedy festival at QPAC in 2008. With a taste for the thrill of performing, leading members established The Performing BUMS. The group’s inclusive and encouraging philosophy saw BUMS musicians grow in confidence, performing local gigs and representing the Brisbane uke scene at the Cairns and Melbourne ukulele festivals from 2009.
The first festival run by the Society was the 2011 Brisbane’s Big Ukulele Jam. The Performing BUMS and The BUMS Big Band featured in the main concert held at the Melbourne Street Green outside QPAC.
The BUMS Big Band, a Coorparoo-based community band started by Milton Scully, assumed the main performing responsibilities of BUMS following their success our first ukulele festival — Brisbane’s Big Uke Jam.
Individual members of The Performing BUMS, encouraged broader member involvement with smaller bands such as YellowBird (Geoff Smith & Cesca Lejeune), Bumsteaders (Tony Richardson), (Two-, Three- or) Four-Drink Limit (Milton Scully & Bruce Uhlhorn), and Brisbane Uketet (Garry Collins).
Each year, BUMS Inc bands bring ukulele-based entertainment to about 20 community and charity events in the Brisbane area, and our musicians perform regularly at Queensland and interstate ukulele festivals. All of these endeavours are made possible by the generous support of local music stores like Binary Music, Music 440, Guitar Brothers, Arties Music and most of all Morris Brothers Music Store.
In addition to this sea of BUMS, a few of our crew row their own canoes at additional uke groups and jams — Trevor Gollagher at Carindale, George Mroz and Stephen Sandilands at Bulimba, George Mroz at Browns Plains, and Max Borchardt at Toowong.
In our 10th birthday year, we’re thrilled to hosting SPRUKE — 2017, to coincide with the Brisbane Festival’s, signature event, RiverFire. Our inspiring three-day event is jam-packed with music making — renowned international, interstate and local ukologists, all levels of ukulele workshops, open mics, jams and all-day concerts. David Megarrity (of Tyrone & Lesley) who bestowed the acronym BUMS upon the Society, will help us celebrate a decade of ukulele by MCing the Friday evening concert. Let’s flood the River City with the thundering crescendo of ukin’ fun and frivolity.