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30th Muster gets back to its roots

The Webb Brothers, Marius, Berard and Fabian, at their Thornside property, Widgee, where the Gympie Muster was first held.
The Webb Brothers, Marius, Berard and Fabian, at their Thornside property, Widgee, where the Gympie Muster was first held. Craig Warhurst

WITH 2011 marking the Gympie Muster’s 30th birthday, this year’s festival will pay tribute to its history and heritage by returning to its country roots.

That will include the reinstatement of the original Muster Ball that started the event in 1982.

Some might say it has come full circle, but it has taken three decades for the festival to grow and evolve into the Optus Gympie Music Muster it is now.

It all started in 1982 after country music trio The Webb Brothers picked up a Golden Guitar for their hit song Who Put The Roo In The Stew? at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.

They decided a celebration was called for.

With the help of the local Apex Club of Gympie, a celebratory fund-raiser was planned and held on the Webbs’ Thornside property at Widgee.

A ball and dinner on the Saturday night was followed by a selection of acts on the Sunday.

This was essentially the first Muster and had all you would expect from a one-off concert event designed as a trophy win celebration.

A main stage was built out of bush timber and borrowed Queensland Rail tarpaulins.

Showers were jam tins with holes punched into them and drop-hole toilets sufficed.

Drinking water was trucked to the site and patrons could buy a season pass for just $20.

All up $9600 was spent on entertainment – about 2% of today’s budget – and a couple of thousand people attended. The Apex Club generated a surplus of about $12,000 for charity.

The first Muster was deemed a roaring success and so began its journey.

The event grew quickly and in 1985 the Muster was first held at Amamoor Creek State Forest Park.

The 30th Gympie Muster will honour its heritage by returning to its country roots with a line-up of entertainment guaranteed to please country music fans.

The Gympie Music Muster is held from August 23 to 28.

Topics:  gympie music muster heritage history

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