The Gympie Muster: making music and a difference in regional communities

Gympie Music Muster John Williamson Run by the community, for the community, The Gympie Music Muster, which kicks off next week, is a not-for-profit charity event which has raised in excess of $15 Million for charities Australia wide since its inception.

“Depression and isolation become more prevalent, spending in regional towns decreases and the knock-on effect is widely felt,” says Muster spokesperson Lori Hoffmann. “Music festivals like the Muster help to alleviate some of that pain, by bringing like-minded people together for a mental break and giving them the chance to relax for a few days. They also help to draw money into our regional communities at a time when it’s needed most.”

Seventy-five percent of 2017 Muster-goers travelled from outside the region to attend, contributing to an overall economic impact of $6.20m for Queensland, 83% of which was felt in the greater Gympie region. “The Muster has always been about community coming together,” added Hoffmann. “And we are privileged to be able to be continue that tradition in a meaningful way again this year.”

In the lead-up to this year’s festival, the Gympie Music Muster donated 30 four-day festival tickets to Drought Aid to bring drought-affected landowners to the event, and will also shout them a feed at the Muster’s Biggest Ever Bloke’s Lunch hosted by 2018 charity partner Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia.

The Muster is a much-needed helping hand for those regional communities doing it tough. As patrons count down to the iconic event, which kicks off Thursday 23 August and runs to Sunday 26 August, the beautiful festival site in the Amamoor State Forest is all set for the packed four days.

Months of preparation by an army of dedicated volunteers have ensured that the site is ready to welcome the expected 22,000 patrons… Ms. Hoffmann said hundreds of dedicated campers had already set up for the festival, with numbers set to swell considerably in coming days. The Muster welcomes all ages and offers free entry to children under 13, making it the perfect weekend escape with the family.

Highlights of the 2018 Muster include: 37-time Golden Guitar winner and Aussie legend Lee Kernaghan will draw massive crowds when he rocks the main stage on Friday at 8.30pm. Be there on the hill with thousands of music lovers for a huge celebration of Aussie music.

The Muster’s first Roots N All Showcase featuring a swag of well renowned Australian exponents of the Americana genre. A laid-back vibe rooted in the authentic origins of country music with guitars, fiddles, mandolins and dobros, while the Talent Search is the platform for our country’s best undiscovered artists – with a trip to Nashville as the mega prize!

John Williamson will be all True Blue as he premieres songs from his brand new album, alongside some old favourites, while Beccy Cole will launch her brand new album in another one-of-a-kind experiences at the festival. Cold Chisel legend, Ian Moss, and Grammy Award-winning, Albert Lee (UK), will bring a taste of the blues to the Vox Guitar Jam, as well as to their own sets in the Blues Bar.

Adding a new flavour to the line-up this year is the Melbourne Ska Orchestra – a fun-loving, 26-piece big band. No act like this has ever graced the Muster stage before – prepare to be surprised and entertained on the Main Stage on Saturday Night. If you’re ready to take your Muster experience to the next level and lift your potential music career, you can listen in on a panel of experts chatting about how to thrive in the music industry.

The not to be missed festival finale, Songs I Wish I’d Written will see a bunch of Muster headliners including Beccy Cole, Sara Storer, Drew McAlister, Melinda Schneider and Brad Butcher  take to the stage to perform their all-time favourite songs from any genre, any era, on the Main Stage on Sunday.

Held in the Amamoor Creek State Forest in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland, two hours north of Brisbane and 40 minutes from Noosa, the Muster is the perfect way to kick back and enjoy some of the country’s best talent. An unmissable and uniquely Australian event, one ticket price gives Muster attendees free camping and multi-venue access to all performances, to experience everything Australia’s biggest country music celebration has to offer.

The Gympie Music Muster runs from Thursday 23 August to Sunday 26 August 2018. For more information and full program, visit: www.muster.com.au for details.

Image: John Williamson (supplied)

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