I have a confession to make. I grew up in Gympie and I never went to the Country Music Muster. First of all I just want to let you all know that I was glad to flee my home town after finishing High School. I use to tell people that I grew up in a town 3o minutes North West of Noosa hoping that they would not figure it out. Gymie was known as ‘Hell Town’ while I was growing up, it was where you would go if you wanted to die. An article was published in 1997 about how many gun owners and murders happened in a year compared to other cities. It was high. We even did a school project about our lovely home town. Moving on…
The Country Music Muster brings grey nomads from all around Australia to the area up to three weeks prior to the event. The week leading up to the Muster, Gympie gets busier and the Muster site at Amamoor State Forest starts to fill the camping spaces ready for the four-day music event. This year it was the weekend of the 22, 23, 24 & 25th August.
One of Roy’s workmates, Cliff mentioned in passing while they were in PNG together working that he would like to go the Muster. It doesn’t take much convincing to get Roy to see some country music plus we didn’t make it last year. So this year we made the trip back to my old stomping ground with Cliff in tow to get a little bit country.
My Dream Car or Farm Ute.
Cliff and Roy have a go at the XXXX shuffle board to win stubby coolers for their beers. Mean while we discovered that beer tickets are given out in $1 denominations so buying $50 worth of tickets tends to fill your pocket. Thank goodness I did not have to bear the responsibility of caring them.
Going to any festival you start to get to know what you need to take. Like extra loo paper if you are going to a one day event. A seat/rug if you know it’s a chilled event or plenty of water when it’s going to be killer hot. The toilets at any event will always bring up an element of question for any gal. Are their enough, how dirty are they really going to be and will there be toilet paper left late in the night. Well the toilets at the Muster gave me a little bit of education. It turns out that I was Muster Virgin – yep I had never been before and its a common saying among veterans of the Muster. I don’t like the term it sound tacky – but it was plastered on the back of most toilet doors. I do like something to read while I am in there like stories from past years like the ones at Woodford.
Another really weird thing at the Muster was the sea of empty chairs at the main stage. Honesty it was just bizarre, no where have I ever seen people stake there claim to a spot for a whole day just to watch a bit of music when they felt like it. Turns out that the main stage was packed for about 2 hours on dark and then the crowd dispersed. Where I come from you take your chair with you at all times not leave it their to claim your space. Seems a bit, I don’t know how to say it really. Strange, could be the word, or just rude and lazy. For those of you who go to festivals imagine people putting their chairs into place once the gates open just so they could sit down for who ever was playing at 5pm that day. That could be 5 – 7 – 10 hours of empty chairs. We had to sit at the front on the grass which is not a problem to watch a guy perform to a sea of empty chairs. RUDE!
Moving on to a better subject – FOOD. Cliff tried a Moroccan wrap with harissa that was just to spicy for Roy even. I thought it was not possible. A few doors down was a place selling those silly curly potatoes that has the best mark-up ever. One potato =50c + batter 20c + a stick, packaging, napkin 50c = $1.20. Well for a smacking $8 you can try a Chip Dog Slinky, yes that is what it was called. We had never really seen one of those before so we though to give it a go. A hot dog with potato around the outside. It was nothing to write home about, the potato was crunchy and it was just a hot dog in the middle. Sauce was definitely important.
Cliff has weird can crushing skills.
The boys standing next to one of the bar workers in his JD shirt and hat.
Not sure why people would want to wear a full animal suit at a country muster. I swear this is Dorothy the dinosaur eating Roy. Or is another dinosaur I don’t know about?
The day drew to a close with the temperature plummeting as the sun set over the site. We headed back to get more jumpers and jackets to stay warm and to pass by Cliff’s campsite. The campsites through the event were the poshest I have ever seen. Huge caravans, camper-trailers, four dome tent construction things and all campsites had a bar or their own campfire.
Cliff’s campfire for the night. You can buy a metal ring on arrival to the Muster for $5.
A group of young fella’s getting another drink in before they head back into the festival around their bar. Each year the muster has a competition for the best campsite. One of the key aspects obviously to having a winning site is to have a bar at your camp. These boys had the fanciest bar but they all slept in swags, love it.
Big fire pits in the bar areas keeping the punters warm.
Cliff & Roy having a late night James Squire at the bar.
The audience of the Round Mountain Girls watching intently.
The Round Mountain Girls
8.30pm the biggest crowd we saw all day at the main stage. The chairs were even full! Below we did end up finding a group of gals running a muck in their cow outfits. Made me smile.
We are planning to come back again next year and camp. Well that depends on how cold it is, this year on the Friday it was -1’c at the site and heated up to a sunburn 28’c. I am sure our tee-pee tent would do the trick along with a good campfire.
The atmosphere of the Muster is really unique people are polite, clean and generally there to have a great time. It has a really great vibe and for those who have ever been to Woodford, the Muster is even more chilled out. It’s in a great space (Amamoor State Forest) and you will meet at least five new friends each day to have a drink with. I totally recommend everyone to get their cowboy boots and hats on and visit the muster at least for a day.