Our Muster to live on


The Gympie Music Muster has turned the financial corner, with a return to profitability, or at least cost recovery.

Muster chairman Jonathan Weller thanked Gympie Regional Council for coming to the rescue last year.

The council granted the Muster a $300,000 interest free loan after three bad years left the iconic event struggling.

The financial help and an attendance in the realm of 45,000 to 50,000 will mean the Muster is here to stay, he said.

"That means it can continue to contribute $5 million each year for the Gympie region economy and $10 million for Queensland," he said.

It was also good news, he said, for the holders of the equivalent of 70 full-time jobs, directly attributable to Muster spending, according to research by Tourism and Events Queensland.

"(This year) was a make-or-break year," he said. And the Muster made it.

Mr Weller, of Gympie accountants Brown Macaulay and Warren, described this year's Muster as "awesome".

But if the Muster has made a long-awaited recovery, the same cannot yet be said for its still-recovering CEO Jeff Chandler.

Mr Chandler admitted yesterday to being still "a bit brain dead" after an intense weekend, at the climax of an intense season of Muster preparations.

"I would say we're in pretty good shape," he said yesterday.

Apex Muster chairman, Wayne Dean, whose board handles operational Muster matters, said the event had gone off like clockwork.

BACK ON TRACK: A large and enthusiastic country crowd watches Lee Kernaghan’s electric performance on Main Stage on Friday night.
BACK ON TRACK: A large and enthusiastic country crowd watches Lee Kernaghan’s electric performance on Main Stage on Friday night. Craig Warhurst

And he welcomed news from his strategic counterpart, Mr Weller, that the books were looking good too.

Mr Dean praised the incredible generosity of Muster patrons in their support for the Buy a Bale campaign, which is raising money for drought stricken farmers.

The campaign was the major Muster charity this year and raised thousands of dollars for Wide Bay farmers suffering pasture shortages.

Patrons also were effusive in their praise for the Muster and its atmosphere.

"It's hard to know exactly at this point," said Mr Chandler of the financial reality.

"We've got to look at the bills."

But things are looking good, he said.

"It's probably not for me to say exactly, but we're certainly not in the dire straits we were in over recent years."

Perfect weather gets a lot of the credit for this year's big Muster success.

But Mr Chandler says nothing else would matter if not for the Muster's volunteer army, the hundreds of people on the ground who make the whole event work.

And then we have the much larger army of Muster fans, who took the crowd to near capacity for the Amamoor forest venue.

"On Saturday we had about 15,000 people. It's a big event," he said.