The 37th annual Gympie Music Muster has wrapped up for another year after more than 1700 volunteers, working around 15,000 hours, built a once-in-a-lifetime Muster experience.
The biggest not-for-profit festival of its kind in the country ran from August 23-26, 2018 and raised more than $153,000 for charity and community groups with the Muster’s grass-roots passion for giving back to regional Australia growing stronger.
Early reports suggest around $25,000 was raised for this year’s official charity partner Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia across the four days, with the Muster’s own Biggest Ever Bloke’s Lunch event a sellout. A further $128,000 was donated to more than 30 local community groups.
“The PCFA have been overwhelmed by the support and success of this year’s Muster,” PCFA spokesperson Peter Duffy said.
“The Muster board, staff, Apex, volunteers and entertainers have been fantastic. In addition, to the broader Muster community and crowd who have been so generous, we say thank you. Men in regional Australia are disproportionately affected by prostate cancer, so the opportunity to raise awareness in this community has been invaluable.
“The funds raised will help PCFA to continue to provide research, awareness and support to the men and families affected by prostate cancer.”
The 2018 festival also saw increased sales of four-day passes, with an aggregate audience of 22,000 patrons. Muster-goers enjoyed three days of warmth and sunny skies, with light rain on the Sunday a welcome break to the dry spell.
A mix of iconic crowd favourites and new program elements kept audiences happy, with The Wolfe Brothers, John Williamson, Travis Collins and Lee Kernaghan bringing record crowds to the Muster hill on Friday. Crowds packed into the festival’s new workshops and panels, and rocked out to the newly-expanded Blues program.
“With a program that we tried to pack with variety, it’s difficult to pick just a few highlights,” Program Director Jeff Chandler said.
“However, some were just so outstanding that they were simply the talk of the festival: undoubtedly Lee Kernaghan’s main stage performance to a massive crowd on the hill will go down as one of the most memorable of his career, while the highly entertaining Melbourne Ska Orchestra had the audience dancing like never before seen at the Muster.
“The Vox Guitar Jam set a high bar for all future jams with unforgettable performances by Albert Lee, Tim Gaze, Ian Moss, Troy Cassar-Daley, Minnie Marks and Lloyd Speigel, who, in my opinion, was one of the real ‘finds’ of the festival for many patrons.
“Despite a wet start to the last day of the festival, the finale, which featured some of the biggest stars on the line-up performing ‘Songs I Wish I’d Written’, was definitely one of the most memorable ends to the event patrons have witnessed.”