You can read how my love of the ukulele was rekindled engendering a desire to join a ukulele group here. It traspired that after several spectacularly unsuccessful months endeavouring to get
someone else to start a ukulele group in Hobart it eventually dawned on me
that it would have to be me or it would not be at all. So,
the first step was to secure a suitable venue. I decided the
criteria would be free of charge, a separate room, free of charge,
centrally located, free of charge, staff who were friendly and sympathetic
to our cause and, did I mention, free of charge? Some friends I managed to
rope in and I traipsed around the Hobart pub scene and finally found all
the criteria satisfied at the Republic Bar & Cafe in North Hobart.
step was to publicise the (yet unformed) group. I set up a free internet email
account for a point of contact and then created an A4 flier...
(Actually the original flier
stated the venue, date and time of the first HUG-in. This later flier
directs people to HUG's website for information as occasionally we have to vacate the room
for paying customers! You can visit HUG's (new) website at
About 2 weeks before the first HUG-in on 28 February 2007, I put copies of
the flier on notice boards, windows, etc of music shops, cafes, the university,
and other establishments around town...and waited nervously!
Step 3 was the question of material. I decided to prepare one
songsheet for the first HUG-in. I chose a song with a simple chord
structure (C F G C7) to begin with as I had no idea of the abilities that
would turn up. The songsheet contained lyrics and chords and I took along about 10 photocopies on the first
night...as it eventuated, I had totally overtrained! The first HUG-in consisted of 3 people and 2 ukes...but it was a start!
The very next week there were 7 people and 7 ukes and HUG has continued to
grow ever since.
The first night motivated me to go further so step 4 was to set up a free group website . This
allowed me to upload a number of songsheets which the group could
download and print themselves...thus saving photocopy costs.
The website now
provides a forum for group discussion and an easy way of advising HUG-in details and upcoming events.
All HUGers can upload songsheets...a very efficient way to
distribute new material.
So HUG was established with these 4 simple steps...and a lot of faith!
And now a little about how HUG is organised (not really the right
word!) on a weekly basis.
HUG is a very relaxed group and meets for about 90
minutes every Monday night at 6:15pm. HUG-ins aren't highly structured unless there's an upcoming gig.
Each week, HUGers choose songs to play at random...it's more like jam sessions.
Everyone is welcome to introduce new songs by uploading songsheets and
advising the group. Because we meet in a pub HUGers tend to buy their own
refreshments during HUG-ins. So, because the venue is free, HUGers provide
their own refreshments and download songsheets there are no financials
attached to HUG. Which means we don't need a Treasurer!! In fact, HUG has
no 'positions' at this stage. Of course, things may progress differently
in the future. It's not how other ukulele groups work but it suits us...maybe is
a Tasmanian thing!!
One other bit of
information that may be useful...once HUG was up and running I produced
contact cards using perforated business cards stock available at most
large stationery suppliers. HUGers carry a small supply and you'd be
surprised how often in daily life enough interest is shown to hand one
over! I've also placed them in inexpensive business card holders and left
them on counters in the establishments that display the poster. I guess
you could call this step 5 but it is not essential to setting up a
group...just stops you having to continually write out the URL for
If you're looking to establish your own ukulele group and would like to
know more about my experience please
email me or
only too happy to help if I can.
what does HUG get up to beside weekly HUG-ins? The