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.

Garry and Bruce ‘at the office’, Coorparoo, 2010

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.

Sammy & Danny, QPAC, 2008

Sammy & Danny, QPAC, 2008


Tony Richardson, Christine Heinrich, Joe Banks, Kahiwa Sebire, Brisbane’s Big Ukulele Jam, 2011

Kahiwa Sebire, , Kirsty Gillespie, Bruce Uhlhorn, Ross Clark, Brisbane’s Big Ukulele Jam, 2011

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.






Heading to The Planting at Woodford this weekend?

Pack your ukulele! Tony and Cath are back!

Tony Richardson and Cath McCourt are running workshops and a jam at Cooper’s Bar.

10 am Sat 29 April – Blues Workshop
10 am Sun 30 April – Fingerpicking & Circle of 5ths
2 pm Sun 30 April – Jam

Fire destroys iconic school. Students of Dalby State School need your help.

Queensland’s fourth oldest school, Dalby State School, burnt down on ANZAC Day.

Principal Mona Anau is working with the community to get the school back on its feet.
Photo: Mick Doyle, Dalby Herald

As a school of excellence in music, the loss of the entire music block is a devastating blow.
The school music department urgently needs to replace its instruments to continue the children’s music education.

If you have any spare instruments, particularly ukuleles and guitars, please donate them to the school.

Donations can be left at:
Rural Aid
3/8 Colebard St
East Acacia Ridge
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Monday to Friday




We’re thrilled to announce that we’re running a FREE Absolute Beginners Ukulele Bootcamp for BUMS Inc members only, on three consecutive Wednesday evenings in May.

We’re starting again, and taking it slower.

Remember, we cover a lot of material in each session, and most people won’t master each skill within a session. You need to be able to commit to practising at least 10 minutes a day, most days of the week to maximize the benefits of bootcamp. The detailed notes and homework material we provide will give you suggestions for structuring your practices.

Wednesday 17, 24 and 31 May 2017
Nundah Brisbane City Council Library
1 Bage Street Nundah

Arrive 6:45 pm for a 7:00 pm start.
Session goes from 7:00-8:30 pm.
And we have to be out by 9:00 pm.

The course is specifically for Absolute Beginners. (Players who know more than C, F & G7 please don’t apply.) Group size limited to 10-12 participants.

Register by emailing you name and contact details to

Registrations close on Friday 12 May.

You must be a BUMS Inc member to attend. Information about joining BUMS Inc is available from our Membership web page.

Expressions of interest are still open for people who would like to be part of a new  performance band at Coorparoo. It was great to have approximately eight uke players of varying degrees of expertise register their names, instruments and voices. Many have happily made suggestions for playlists which we will gradually work through.

It is an exciting time for all involved as we approach our first rehearsal on May 10 2017. Band practice will be every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month 7-9 pm at Coorparoo Bowls Club. Hopefully we will be able to secure a few performance opportunities along the way! Stay tuned!

If you would like to still be involved contact Charmaine Matthews  by emailing to register your details.

Members of BUMS Inc are invited to attend the Bony Mountain Music Festival (Little Festival in the Bush). It is a family festival and a real community event.

The festival kicks off Monday 11 September with a week of walk ups. September 15-16-17 is the main weekend of the festival.  The Bony Mountain Music Festival features:
•    Busking competition with $500 worth of prizes
•    A Fairy Cave, Pirate Cave and Treasure Hunt for the youngest festival goers
•    Bluegrass bands, country artists, and bush balladeers
•    Pirates, pipe bands, and celtic dancers.
•    Local Choirs from nearby Wheatvale School

BUMS are invited for the entire week or just the weekend, whatever suits your schedule. There are opportunities for BUMS Inc performing groups to have featured spots over the weekend. Their  community really enjoy ukulele groups and there is much interest in learning the instrument. If any BUMS Inc members would like to go to the festival to perform or conduct teaching sessions or demonstrations please contact Keryn Henderson (BUMS Inc Gigmeister) by emailing to register your interest in attending.

Check out the Bony Mountain Music Festival website for more details on camping, artists or how to get there.
For more information contact Norma O’Hara Murphy- 07-46674 604 or by email

The BUMS Coorparoo-based band is sad to be losing its guiding lights in 2017. A core group of The Bottom Line — Amanda, Cath, Lindsay and Mark — wish to focus on playing together as the performing group Anything Goes. The Bottom Line, an incarnation of the BUMS Big Band (BBB), practices at the Coorparoo Bowls Club on Wednesday nights.

Amanda Allwood joined BUMS in 2010, and Mark Bradshaw in 2011. They have been members of the Coorparoo group since the BUMS Big Band was established by Milton Scully to perform at our first ukulele festival — Brisbane’s Big Ukulele Jam in 2011. After the festival, Judy Holdaway, Jane Jacobs and John Henderson took over from Milton in 2012.

Members of the BUMS Big Band that performed at Brisbane’s Big Uke Jam on the QPAC Green in 2011.

Cath McCourt joined the BUMS Big Band in 2011, and Lindsay Ball in 2012. Later, Lindsay took over from Jane and Judy helping John lead the band. Available members of the band performed at our sister festival, Newkuleke, and the Cairns Ukulele Festival in 2012, and at Redlands, Blackall and Cairns in 2013.


In 2012, available members of the Big Band (Cath, Judy, Narelle, Amanda, Lindsay, Chris and John) represented BUMS Inc at our sister festival, Newkulele.


With the help of Benhur, the Big Band put together a credible entry for the festival video competition.

The BUMS Big Band and was at full strength for SPRUKE 2013 under Lindsay and Cath’s expert and enthusiastic artistic direction. After the roaring success of their SPRUKE performance, the group had a hectic local schedule of community performances.

The BUMS Big Band at full strength for SPRUKE 2013.

Lindsay remembers, “We really had a crazy time of it in 2013, performing 15 gigs in the year, including travelling to the Blackall and Cairns festivals. It was something of a baptism by fire, but the hard work we all put into practising for our performances helped us all to become rather good ukulele players very quickly. If you want to improve, there’s no better way than to join a performing group.”

To meet the growing demand for community performances in the Brisbane area, a Brisbane northside band, NUMB BUMS, was formed in 2014. With the establishment of NUMB BUMS, the remaining members of the Big Band, under Amanda and Cath’s guidance, and Lindsay’s dedicated direction, continued to provide entertainment at local events, including a memorable performance on the green at QPAC for Australia Day, 2014. The band developed a sophisticated repertoire, and continued to fly the BUMS flag in a smaller group known as The Bottom Line. They performed at festivals at Redlands, the Blue Mountains and Newcastle, culminating in a Friday night performance at SPRUKE 2015.

A larger group of Big Band members (Julie, Cath, Nina, Chrissy, Amanda, our guest drummer, Narelle, Phil, Lindsay, and Jack) performed as The Bottom Line at the Blue Mountains Ukulele Festival in 2014.

In explaining his decision to step down as the leader of the Coorparoo band, Lindsay said, “Given my work commitments, I realised I had time to devote to only one band, and I decided Anything Goes was it. After several years playing together in The Bottom Line, it felt like it was time for us all to move on to other things. Anything Goes is looking forward to challenging our skills with festival performances at the Sunshine Coast, SPRUKE and Neurum Creek this year, and we hope to be helping out at BUMS jams as well.”

We asked each of the departing members for their impressions of their time with The Bottom Line.

Amanda remembers, “The Big Band formed in 2011, as a bunch of enthusiasts determined to improve their playing and put on a show. Spurred on by the fearless leadership of Milton Scully (whose belief in us never wavered) we practised for months! Performing on the lawn outside QPAC as part of the inaugural BUMS Ukulele Festival in 2011 will always be a highlight for me! We were very well received and even had some young dancers on the lawn grooving to the smooth sounds of “Bridal Train” and “Blueberry Hill”.

Cath had this to say. “I heard that the Big Band’s bass player was leaving to go to Germany and thought I’d put up my hand to be a part of an exciting group, where having fun was the draw card. I knew we could venture further afield and try for other festivals and we got to show other states that Brisbane is up there with the rest of them.”

Mark has fond memories, too. “I’ve had no formal musical training of any kind. After joining the Big Band in 2011, I performed a few small shows. It really helped me to tackle more complicated musical work, and my confidence grew. After a break, I rejoined The Bottom Line in 2015. Later, I was invited to join Anything Goes and we have gone from strength to strength.

“The friendships that I have made in the bands have improved my life and have given me something to look forward to every week. I have been wonderfully blessed. I now have friends for life — and my music ability continues to improve. I hope to do many more shows with Anything Goes. I’m looking forward to seeing where the ukulele will take me in coming years. Without BUMS and the other members of Anything Goes, my musical abilities would never have gotten out of the garden shed!”

Lindsay said, “Being a part of the BUMS Big Band, and then The Bottom Line has taken me from a ukulele newbie to a confident performer. I have made wonderful friends, and discovered musical talents I didn’t know I had. There’s nothing like the buzz you get from performing for an audience and seeing people singing along, tapping their feet or dancing as you play and sing.

I’d like to thank all the members of the The Bottom Line who have helped me over the years, and who have worked so hard to make the band a success. In particular, thank you to Leeanne Horne, Julie Sharpe, Narelle Burke, Tammy Somerwil, Sue Gleed, Marg Otto, Chan Hoo and Jack Fitzwalter for their efforts over the past three years.”

Lindsay, Amanda, Cath and Mark at Newkulele 2016.

“As President, I would like to add my many thanks to all the members that have partaken in the BUMS Big Band and The Bottom Line over the years. I truly believe this band has made a great impact on the growth of BUMS and has shown many other ukulele clubs around Australia what a great organization we are. I have enjoyed and admired your musicality, standard of excellence and confidence in performing. On behalf of all BUMS members many thanks for taking us on the journey with you and best wishes on what lays ahead.”
Ian Phillips














Generous BUMS members contributed to the Music Therapy Program for Sheltered by Grace Homelessness Shelter at Meadowbrook. Thank you all!

Delivery of the Ten Forge Ukulele, eggs and Cabasa moves the project to reality with considerable assistance and donations from Paul Morris of Morris Music and the Forge supplier. Each concert Ukulele has taken the name of a famous ukulele aficionado. Introducing George, John, Paul, Pink, Warren, Suzi, Bruce, Eric, Taylor, Barack who will soon be delivering joy to residents at the shelter.

Vic Kena is excited to be able to start the music sessions. The program’s effectiveness will be measured to support its continuity and growth beyond Sheltered by Grace. It aims to assist otherwise homeless and destitute residents to achieve feelings of achievement and self-worth, relieve stress, reduce anxiety and provide a positive experience so that they are more able to cope with life and consequently assist them to find more permanent homes.

105,000 people are homeless in Australia on any night. Homelessness is an issue potentially affecting many amongst us. Its causes include family breakdown, domestic violence, drugs, alcohol, mental health, inability to work, and just bad luck. Sheltered by Grace is a self-funded not for profit enterprise founded by Jason and Lisa Loakes seeking to transform the lives of affected individuals. Sheltered by Grace is operated by a team of volunteers and provides up to 5,800 safe bed nights per year.

Sheltered by Grace links: