Here’s John Low’s take on the recently resurrected Northside Jam. John gives an insight into how COVID restrictions have changed the way jams are run.

After six months or so in enforced recess, the inaugural BUMS 2020 Northside Jam involved fifty lucky ticket holders and a certain number of necessary BUMS volunteers. It was run at the Northern Suburbs Bowls Club, Wavell Heights, in the usual 7:00 to 9:00 pm timeslot.

Tickets were available two weeks prior to the event, with BUMS financial members getting the first chance to book their seat. All available tickets were gone by the end of the week.

Room upgrade

The jam was not held in the usual bar area, but in a larger room opposite the bar. This function room had two major advantages over the usual venue. It boasted a stage at one end of the room that allowed jam participants to see the set leaders, and have an unimpeded view of the screen. Secondly, it provided additional space to allow social distancing.

Management processes

Jo Kunde and her assistants handled the entry process well, with minimal delays, given the necessity of recording of attendees’ details imposed on us by our COVID-safe plan.

The jam itself started ten minutes late due to some delays in the setting up of the sound and recording equipment. There seemed to be a last-minute rush, and I felt concerned about the piles of instrument and microphone cables littering the area of the steps leading to the stage. Although people accessing the stage were urged not to traverse this area, some did, and it was indeed fortunate that nobody suffered a fall.

Jam sets

The first set was led by Spare Parts who, together with Caroline Haig for some of the songs, provided a Beatles set of familiar perennial favourites. They finished with the (non-Beatles) ‘Monster Mash’, adding a nice Halloween-feel to the evening. This first set lasted barely 30 minutes, and I personally would have liked to see a couple of extra songs in there.

At this stage I would congratulate John Henderson who did an excellent job of scrolling the music, video recording the performances while occasionally playing his ukulele – multi-tasking indeed.

The second set featured Hans and Rowena who gave their usual polished performance with a nice balance between Rowena’s vocals and ukulele and Hans on guitar. Yes, I know – an instrument from the dark side. But we ukulele players are a broad church. The songs provided a contrast between the familiar and the less well-known, and were enthusiastically received and played.

For the third set, featuring Andrew and Adrian, Adrian had his first outing on the ubass. Adrian is to be congratulated on his bass playing, and sometimes (by his own admission) ‘interpretations’ of a bass line.  Well done anyway, Adrian. As a struggling bass player myself, I know what a challenging time that can be.

Unfortunately, the acoustic balance provided by the sound system was less than satisfactory due to technical issues. But this failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the attendees as a first time out “smelling the flowers” of a springtime uke jam. Andrew’s energetic delivery was well-received.

Snapshots of the October 2020 Northside Jam

COVID-safe jams

This Northside Jam was an experiment in social distancing and holding COVID-safe public events – just to see how such events would go – with a view to opening up BUMS’ regular jam venues in the near future. Unfortunately, visuals and attendance requirements did not suit some, and those comments will be passed on to the management committee for future consideration in these changing times.

In summary, I would like to congratulate Peter Grace and his band of merry volunteers, in putting on a wonderful evening’s entertainment in a COVID-safe environment for ukulele players bereft of jams over the last few months.

Looking ahead

The room used at the Bowls Club was fit for purpose, with the raised stage area and its general layout, and should be retained for future jams at that venue.

However, I suggest those running future jams should ensure that:

  • system set-ups are done in a timely way to avoid a last-minute rush that delays starting times
  • sound checks are carried out with all performers (if possible) prior to the official start of the evening to ensure a balance between those on stage leading the jam, and those in the audience (for whom the jam has been organised after all), and that set leaders are aware they are leading a jam, and not entertaining an audience.
  • more attention be paid to covering or securing cables and leads in the performing area.

UPDATED 30 September 2021

BUMS Inc are keeping a close eye on the latest directives from Qld Health. We need your cooperation to ensure our jams are COVID-safe events. Due to the constantly changing directives we are going ahead with masked events when required as this seems to be the new ‘normal’.

Checking In and Contact Tracing

You are now required to check in to the venue where the jam is being held using the Check In Queensland App. Find out why, where to get it and how to use it here

Our friendly BUMS door greeters will also check you off the jam door list as you enter the room.


In line with Qld Health Roadmap to easing restrictions – Stage 2 and Restrictions for Impacted Areas (No. 18) Direction Brisbane is classified as a high-risk impacted area. BUMS Inc is holding events and jams with the following mask protocols.

  • Please wear your mask (unless you have a lawful reason not to) at all times when seated, playing, entering, exiting, chatting or moving around at the jam or venue.
  • Masks can only be removed when eating or drinking. You must be seated.
  • Please stay 1.5m apart where possible and use the hand sanitiser provided.
  • Set leaders will remove their mask while performing, and don when finished. Performers not singing will stay masked.

Please check in to Coorparoo Bowls Club using the Check In QLD app on entering downstairs, maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene; Above all please stay home if you feel unwell.

Additional health and safety measures that apply to our jams:

  • There is a limit on the number of people at a jam.
  • You must have a ticket to attend; available through Trybooking.
  • We keep a register of each ticket holder for contact tracing.
  • We manage a defined venue or space according to the latest directives.
  • You must be seated and maintain social distancing of 1.5m apart.
  • We control the flow of people moving in and out of the venue.

Check the latest guidelines from Queensland Health.

If you are playing with friends at home please stay safe and follow the latest guidelines. Face Masks- How to wear, use and change.


Jams in this new era of social distancing and keeping COVID-safe, are a bit different and we ask all of our community to please keep these rules in mind.
1. Please don’t come if you are unwell. LINK: What is COVID 19 and Keeping Our Community Safe
2. Numbers are limited and tickets are made available through TryBooking. If you come without a ticket it is likely you will not be able to participate in the jam.
3. There are clearly marked entry and exit to the venue. On entry, please sanitise your hands.
4. Check in at entrance with your ticket.
5. Wash your hands. Use your own hand sanitiser at the event or use that provided. Clean your ukulele and any other equipment you bring.
6. Chairs will be provided and will be 1.5m apart.
7. Please sit down throughout the jam. Please don’t move the chairs unless you are with a family member.
8. We may need to turn people away if too many turn up.
9. If we can’t manage the crowd, we may have to stop the event.
10. If the jam is outdoors we will tape off an area to define the COVID-safe zone.


Currently only Coorparoo, Westside, Ferny Grove and Northside jams are meeting.

There are NO beginner classes before any of the jams.

You MUST have a ticket to attend; once the venue capacity is reached there are no more tickets available however all jams have a waiting list so you can be contacted IF a ticket becomes available.

Coorparoo Jam – Coorparoo Bowls Club
Westside Jam – Rosemount Community Centre
Ferny Grove Jam – Ferny Grove Sports and Community Sports Club
Northside Jam – Northern Suburbs Bowls Club
Deception Bay Jam – Maota Fono- Samoan Meeting House 

Read more about what it took to plan our first COVID safe Jam in this post.

Related Links

What is COVID 19 and Keeping Our Community Safe

QR Code Tips

Trybooking Tips

If you have any other enquires about jams, QR codes or Trybooking please contact Jo Kunde via



What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new form of coronavirus. It was first reported in December 2019 in China and has since been declared a pandemic.
Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:

  • fever
  • a cough
  • sore throat
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath

Anyone who has fever (or history of fever) OR acute respiratory symptoms (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath) should see a doctor immediately. There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection and there is currently no vaccine for COVID-19 novel coronavirus.

Transmission of COVID-19

It is currently understood that COVID-19 spreads in the following ways:

  • Direct contact with a person while they are infectious
  • Direct or indirect contact with respiratory droplets (such as when a person coughs, sneezes or sings)
  • Direct contact with objects and surfaces which are contaminated by respiratory droplets

Current medical advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that COVID-19 is not an airborne virus. As such, the WHO does not consider air conditioning to be a factor in spreading COVID-19 at this time.

There are 5 key ways we can all help stop the spread of viruses

    1. Stay home if you’re sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested.
    2. Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rubs.
    3. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing.
    4. Avoid touching your face, nose and mouth. And avoid shaking hands.
    5. Keep 1.5 metres away from others as much as you can — think two big steps

Vulnerable groups

Based on what is known about coronaviruses, Queensland Health has identified those most at risk of serious infection are:

    • people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer)
    • elderly people
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
    • people with chronic medical conditions
    • people in group residential settings
    • people in detention facilities

Keeping Our Community Safe

BUMS Inc has developed a set of COVID-safe guidelines for any gathering of our members. We follow these guidelines in designing our events, jams and band rehearsals. We need your cooperation to ensure we keep our community COVID-safe.

The health and safety measures that apply to our jams

  • The total capacity to be controlled.
  • Ticketing through Trybooking.
  • Patron contact tracing- using Guest Track QR codes.
  • A defined area allocated-venue.
  • Our audience being seated- People from the same household can sit together and groups of households kept separate.
  • Ability to control the flow of audience movement in and out of the venue.

If you have any questions about Trybooking, or Guest Track QR codes please check these posts first.
Trybooking Tips
QR Code Tips

Any further enquiries please contact Jo Kunde via

It’s been six months of longing to get back to together. At last after so many considerations and lots of planning BUMS Inc held its first face to face live jam post lockdown.

This first jam was held at Deception Bay in a truly unique open air venue the Maota Fono Samoan Meeting House. Set in a park with a tropical garden around it the ‘house’ provided great acoustics, shelter and air circulation. Although it would have to have been one of the windiest days this year, which provided a few challenges, the sun was shining and we were all there to have a good time.

The support crew and performers arrived early to clean and set up the venue in line with the BUMS COVID Safe Guidelines. There was plenty of joking as they got to work sanitizing all the chairs, tables and toilets, and setting up the gear. Our COVID marshals double checked all the chairs were set at the correct distance and the bunting which delineated the space also provided a festive air. The meet and greet and exit was were set up with sanitisers, wipes, check in lists, and surveys and soon all was ready to welcome our jammers.

COVID Marshal Jennie keeping her distance from John.

Forty BUMS members snapped up the tickets when they became available on Trybooking in just four days. There were smiles all round as they started to file in while the band completed their sound checks. For nine of our players it was a new experience, as new associate members they had never attended a live face to face BUMS jam before. It was wonderful to see folks so happy to be out and playing again.

By the time one o’clock came around The Ukulele Saints with Leanne Williams were ready to go, and Peter got the jam started. We enjoyed three sets with great to sing-a-long songs, with something for everyone from classic rock & roll, folk to this century pop songs.

Peter Ransom stepped up to the open mic to perform a ditty from 1906 “Shine On Harvest Moon” with we all joined in the parts we knew. The Saints were also joined by Karen Neundorf for “Riptide” and John Henderson for “Budapest”.

New member Cecilia with Peter and Karen who performed on the day.

It was lovely to see everyone catching up and chatting to new members in the breaks between sets. The two hours went very quickly and final rousing version of the BUMS favourite “Stray Cat Strut” with cat calls and meowing closed the jam.

As always we had plenty of helpers who volunteered to sanitize and pack up the chairs. There were surveys to complete which have provided the BUMS committee with some valuable feedback. Yes it was very windy, which was challenging for the microphones and performers, and the screen was hard to see for some, but the good news is 90% of our respondents said they’d come again to Deception Bay Jam.

“Happy to be back”

“Great effort – thanks for putting it on”

The happy smiling faces said it all; playing ukes and singing together makes you feel good. It was a red letter day which gives us all hope that more of our regular jams can start again soon.

Many thanks go to Peter Grace who did his due diligence and more to get this first jam going in a venue which fulfilled all the requirements to make a COVID safe event. You can read more about that in this post Planning A Safe Jam. Also many thanks to the support team who made it happen on the day.

Ukulele Saints, Peter Grace, Chris Slater, John Low and Frank Buckley joined by Leanne Williams with John Henderson on projector duties.

Missed out on this jam?

BUMS Inc financial members, then associate members are offered first chance for tickets. If any are available after that they will be then offered to our mailing list. You can find out how to become a BUMS member here or join free with associate membership until the end of 2020 here .

Subscribe to our newsletter here.

Big farewell wave from our jam players.