MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Chase Rice took the time to meet and greet the fans during his Main Stage performance on Saturday night.
MAN OF THE PEOPLE: Chase Rice took the time to meet and greet the fans during his Main Stage performance on Saturday night. Leeroy Todd

Record bar crowds, megastar's meet'n'greet cap off Muster

FUNKY shirts, nude photos and country music were the highlights of this year's Muster with more than 15,000 people walking through the gates to party.

Muster chairman Greg Cavanagh labelled this year's event "absolutely fantastic” and the rampant success of the mental health awareness initiatives meant more were likely on their way next year.

The bars had also had a record turnout, Mr Cavanagh said, although the front gate numbers were "a little bit down”.

Not that it stopped the campers and guests from having a good time, along with first-time Musterers.

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"Every year we get a lot of newcomers... it's great to hear such positive comments about the size and scale.”

The festival's main course was served to rapturous response on Saturday night when US megastar Chase Rice delivered on his promise to make his only Australian show a memorable one.

Chase Rice performs at 2019 Gympie Muster.
Fans get a close-up of US music star Chase Rice. Leeroy Todd

Backed by a band of heavy guitars and pounding drums, Rice looked right at home under the Muster's Main Stage lights from the start of his 9:30pm set, capitalising on infectious high-energy vibes from the mosh to the hill courtesy of co-headliners The McClymonts.

Blending crowd favourites Eyes on You, Cruise and Lions with surprise covers of All the Small Things and Sweet Caroline, the hour long set had something for everyone - with Rice even making his way to the front of the crowd to sign autographs as the band played one final jam to send off Muster Saturday in style.

Rice said pre-show he had spent some time soaking in the Muster atmosphere on Friday, and was looking forward to making his short time in the country as sweet as possible.

2019 Gympie Muster - Kath Watterson and Mel Carter
Kath Watterson and Mel Carter. Joshua Preston

"We're excited to be here. We wouldn't have .... come all this way for one show if I didn't think it was going to be great,” Rice said.

"I heard (the Muster) was a bunch of rowdy people in the sticks. I came and saw it last night for myself and had a walk around.

"There's a couple of festivals in the States where it's similar to this but I've never seen some of the parties that I've seen here, it's pretty intense and I appreciate that, I like it.”

Rice said he'd been lapping up the Australian country music flavour at the Muster, giving a shoutout to Crowbar act Kaylens Rain and their song Firefly Summer.

Music lovers were not the only winners at this year's event.

Chase Rice performs at the 2019 Gympie Muster.
Chase Rice lights up the Main Stage in front of a packed house. Leeroy Todd

Funky Shirt Friday was a fundraising boon for mental health. More than 320 "boldly designed” tradie shirts sold during the Muster and TradeMutt co-founder Daniel Allen said it was mission accomplished.

"We aim to start important conversations around mental health, and we saw it all happening here at Muster this weekend,” a Muster spokeswoman said.

The #GetNaked4Muster promotion and photo shoot was also a hit.

Judged by The Naked Farmer himself, Ben Brooksby, Toowoomba's Emma Palmblad took out the comp with her naked photograph set to feature as "Ms August” in the 2020 Naked Farmer calendar. Mr Cavanagh also wanted to make a "big shout out to the volunteers”.

”I just want Gympie to realise (the Muster) is worth $7.5 million in economic benefit to the region,” he said.