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Gympie Music Muster's 37-year history has fundraising at its very heart

Gympie Music Muster's 37-year history has fundraising at its very heart

Email Gympie Music Muster's 37-year history has fundraising at its very heart

Posted August 25, 2018 11:24:31

A female singer performs on a large stage. Photo: Muster fans edge up to the barriers of the main stage and its natural ampitheatre. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay) Related Story: Gympie Music Muster fans set up camp weeks out Related Story: Dollars and donuts help support Mates4Mates at Gympie Muster Related Story: Drought-affected farmers visit Music Muster Map: Gympie 4570

The Gympie Music Muster is in its 37th year, and thousands of volunteers have since raised millions of dollars for charity.

This is not just any festival â€" this is the festival that gives.

In the hills of the Amamoor State Forest the basslines can be heard echoing through the thousands of campsites.

Thousands of people make their way through the gates and make a beeline to the hill in front of the main stage.

Slung over their shoulders are collapsible chairs, with one person in the group carrying a tarpaulin.

The tarp will mark their spot on the hill for the day, so as things start to heat up in the natural auditorium they know they always have their spot.

A patchwork of camp chairs and tarpaulins cover the hill in front of the Gympie Muster main stage Photo: A patchwork of camp chairs and tarpaulins cover the hill in front of the Gympie Muster main stage. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)

This is just one of the small traditions of the four-day festival, which began with the Webb Brothers throwing a party on their Thornside property in 1982.

Another tradition is supporting charity, with the original muster raising $12,000 and establishing a generous trend.

"Over the last 37 years we've raised something like $15 million for charities and for community groups," said muster organiser Lori Hoffman.

"That kind of injection of cash back into the community is really the foundation on which we're built."

A sign reading 'making a difference' Photo: The Apex Club of Gympie has been involved since the very first muster, which was a celebration of the Webb Brother's win at the Golden Guitars. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)

The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) is this year's charity partner of the muster, with money raised going to extending support services.

"We support a number of services through our prostate cancer specialist nurses. We have 47 around the country right now and we're aiming to get over 100," said Peter Duffy, Queensland president of PCFA.

"Unfortunately, one in five Australian men will get prostate cancer, there are 20,000 new cases every year."

Ms Hoffman said the decision to partner with the prostate cancer charity was an easy one.

"We're obviously a rural community, and the issues that touch rural communities are pretty consistent," she said.

"These are our communities and our men, and we want to make sure they're getting that message. They need to take care of themselves and take care of their health."

Largest fundraiser of the year

A Lions Club food van serves customers Photo: Lining the hill in front of the main stage are bars and food vendors. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)

A 1,700-strong army of sporting club, school and service organisation volunteers help transform the forest into a busting tent city.

The clubs all have their own role â€" whether it is making sure the bins get emptied or keeping music fans fed with chicken and gravy rolls.

Pam Tindall is busy peeling bananas at the Golden City Soccer Club stand, organising 27 volunteers in shifts to keep things running.

"We're selling beautiful hot potatoes and golden pancakes. Grilled bananas go on the pancakes, strawberries, anything you like!" she said.

"We love it, we've got a great spot. We can see the main stage, listen to the music. When there is nothing on the stage we can listen to the blues bar at the back."

A woman adds cream to a table filled with plates of cheesecake. Photo: Many of the catering events and functions are run by community organisations. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)

Their stand is a permanent building, with the soccer club first occupying the space in 1994.

For these clubs, schools and organisations, this event is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

"It helps us buy all th e equipment and the shirts that the players need, and if any boys or girls go to state or overseas we help them financially with the cost," Ms Tindall said.

"I've been coming since 1992 and I'm in awe every season to see how it all sets up from nothing."

Festival organiser Lori Hoffman said about 17,000 volunteer hours go into the event as it takes a town to make a muster.

"Without that support and without those people pitching in and being part of this event we wouldn't be able to do what we do," she said.

"It really is truly a grass-roots community event that is built by the community for the community.

"It gives back to the community, and you don't see a lot of events like that any more. We think that's pretty special."

  • Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift Photo: Gretta Ziller and Andrew Swift share a moment on stage at the Gympie Music Muster. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • Enjoying the muster Photo: Grant and Giorgia take a moment to talk about their favourite acts at the festival. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • Always the bridesmaid Photo: Sometimes it's because you lose a bet, sometimes it's just for the fun of it. Costumes are a common sight at the festival. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • Country music club Photo: A local country music club performs at the tavern, one of the smaller venues on the muster site. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • A couple of cans Photo: The Gympie Music Muster is spread over four days across five stages. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • If at first you don't su   cceed Photo: Over 20,000 people attend the festival each year, with around 93% of them camping on the grounds. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • Muster market city Photo: The festival site is covered in market stall and food vendors, with many run by local community organisations. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
  • Riding the rails Photo: A couple of music fans rest on the rail watching the action on the main stage. (ABC Wide Bay: Ross Kay)
Gallery: Gympie Muster 2018

Topics: country, music, arts-and-entertainment, rural-youth, human-interest, people, charities-and-community-organisations, community-and-society, gympie-4570, bundaberg-4670, qld, brisbane-4000, australia

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