19 years plus: Muster legend wants his ashes spread on site
PADDY Longton is quick to get emotional when he talks about how much the Gympie Music Muster means to him.
The 19-year Muster veteran was one of the first ever to set up camp at Poulsen's paddock, before it even became a part of the festival grounds.
He has camped there ever since, and even has plans to remain a part of the legendary festival after he passes on.
GYMPIE MUSTER 2018
"Our first camp was over on Blue Moon swamp, and we had that much water running through the camp I wanted to go somewhere else to find a better spot, so I drove into the paddock here and there were only three or four people," Mr Longton said.
"I looked at this spot and I said 'this is us', and I've been here ever since.
"There was still long grass here, I went over to the forestry and asked them how much I owed them for camping and they told me they didn't own the paddock, I owed the owners money.
"I get goosebumps when I think about the history here ... my plan's been laid out, signed sealed and delivered, for my ashes to be spread here, so it means a fair bit."
The proud owner of 'Paddy's Bar and Grill', Mr Longton's 'Wall of Legends' and quirky features continue to attract campers from all over.
Mr Longton said he was most thankful for the friendship of fellow veterans and neighbours Bill and Linda Gaiter and Ron Boyland, as well as the community they had built up over the years.
"It's more than the muster, this four weeks that we spend here before we go inside is the muster to us.
"Every muster person in my phone has 'muster' written after their name, and when I give them a call they'll pick up and say 'Hi Paddy Muster'."
Ed Kelleher has had the Muster on his bucket list for almost two decades, and finally journeyed from West Wyalong in New South Wales to make his dream a reality this year.
"It's probably higher on the list than Tamworth, this is my first country music festival," Mr Kelleher said.
"The last music show I went to see was Keith Urban in Narrabri, and it was Suzie Quatro in the '70s before that.
"It feels incredible to be here, especially with the great mates I have."