Jorja and Matilda Smith at an earlier Pre Muster Party in Mary St. There will be no Pre Muster Party in the Gympie CBD this year after organisers failed to convince Gympie Regional Council to take on the public liability insurance.
Jorja and Matilda Smith at an earlier Pre Muster Party in Mary St. There will be no Pre Muster Party in the Gympie CBD this year after organisers failed to convince Gympie Regional Council to take on the public liability insurance. Renee Pilcher

Blood sweat and tears as Gympie Pre Muster party falls over

THERE will be no Pre Muster Party in the Gympie CBD this year, though some local venues have planned country music entertainment to bring the Muster "vibes” into town.

READ MORE: Gympie gets in Muster mode with Legends and Locals concert

"Gutted” Mary St businessman and Gympie Chamber of Commerce president Tony Goodman said, when asked about the decision to not hold the party, the death knell had been securing public liability insurance.

2018: It would be a shame and a mistake to let the Pre Muster Party die

He said local businesses would have planned and co-ordinated the event, but a request to Gympie Regional Council to cover the public liability was turned down. The council sponsors the Muster itself $200,000.

Power 30 Tony Goodman.
Tony Goodman outside his store in Mary St. Renee Albrecht

Public liability insurance to cover the entire street for the duration of a Pre Muster Party would have cost $600 to $1000.

A council spokeswoman said the council was approached to cover the public liability insurance costs for a pre muster event, but declined as it already provided $20,000 for Mary St events such as Winter on Mary and Gourmet and Grooves.

”This additional cost was not budgeted for,” the spokeswoman said.

"Council sponsor the Gympie Music Muster to the value of $200,000, who have also staged a pre muster event this year.

"Other business and community organisations are welcome to stage events in Mary Street or other open spaces if they have public liability.

"It is common practice for Chamber of Commerce groups to hold events within their business districts and cover the public liability insurance costs, for example the Mary Valley Chamber of Commerce held the Imbil Easter Carnival recently, including the management and cost of public liability.”

Mr Goodman said the Pre Muster Party was once a go-to event, "and then it just stopped”.

”Four years ago I tried to bring it back with buskers the full length of Mary St, hay bales around the shops to be decorated, all 40 trees in the street dressed in a 'Mustery' feel, buskers competition at Centre Stage and along the street.

Where is Percy? The mascot has disappeared after the Pre Muster parties.
Where is Percy? The mascot has disappeared after one year's Pre Muster party in Mary St. Contributed

"This happened without any funding, just a lot of hard work, rolling up our sleeves from myself and several traders to create something that would draw people in, to not only have a good time but hopefully shop as well.

"It gradually grew over the years, that the community looked forward to and many of the traders reported good sales on the day.

Tony Goodman is enjoying the pre muster on Mary Street.
Tony Goodman enjoys an earlier Pre Muster Party in Mary Street. Philippe Coquerand

"The main issue is public liability and our legal advice has been that when you do a community event across a whole street it needs what's called the Heads Insurance, as in council taking it on.

"GRC graciously offered to fund it last year as long as someone took it on the public liability other than council. I was not prepared to put myself at risk or the worry and stress, and my fellow traders or anyone for that matter, due to the many variables that could happen.

2014 Pre Muster Party Best Decorated Business: Trena and Sharla Waugh from Farmer and Sun fruit shop. Photo Patrick Woods / The Gympie Times
2014 Pre Muster Party Best Decorated Business: Trena and Sharla Waugh from Farmer and Sun fruit shop. Patrick Woods

"Many of the traders are on their knees at the moment with the retail recession that has been going on over the last six months. It would have great if we could have made it happen to give the traders some hope and a stimulus hit, but is not to be.

"Am I gutted? Yes I am. It just feels as though four years of blood, sweat and tears has just gone up in a puff of smoke and that I have let down my colleagues and the community.”