The Story of Australian Country Music
A Tribute to Buddy
A Tribute to Jimmy
A Tribute to Reg
A Tribute to Shirley
A Tribute to Slim
– Slim, Chronicler of the Bush
A Tribute to Smoky
A Tribute to Tex
– Tex Morton White Guitars
A Tribute to The McKean Sisters
Arch Kerr pioneer record producer
Australia's College of Country Music
Bicentennial Concert 1970
The Big Golden Guitar
Birth of the Golden Guitars
Brief History of the Golden Guitar Awards
Brief History of Star Maker
The Buddy Bishop Story
Country Music Capital Meets Music City
Country Music Hands of Fame
Country Music Media
Country Music Roll of Renown
First The Song
Ghosts of Tamworth
Golden Guitar Memories
Golden Guitar Pioneers
Golden Guitar Winners Tally
THE GYMPIE MUSTER
The Hadley Records Story
History of the College of Country Music
How the CMAA Was Born
How Tamworth became Country Music Capital
How the College of Country Music Works
The John Minson Story
Narrative! Narrative! Narrative!
Origins of the Tamworth Country Music Festival
Radio Ranch & Spurs
Sources and Resources
Stairway to Stardom
The Story of Maton Guitars
Tamworth, We've Done Us Proud
What is Country Music
For more information
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It's been described as the quintessential Aussie event and with the towering gums and leisurely lagoons of beautiful Amamoor Creek State Forest Park near Gympie in Queensland it's the perfect setting for more than 25,000 people who flock to the Optus Gympie Music Muster each year in the last week of August. The Muster attracts fans from all corners of the nation to see the stars and legends (and would be stars!), of Australian country music on the main Muster stage. And there's 13 other on-site venues too, including folk, alt-country, bush poetry, country dance, Talent Search, workshops, international film festival, art auctions, not to mention a full-on Blues program.
Photo: an aerial shot of Gympie '05.
A Gympie Apex Club project, the Muster operates under the very professional direction of one of the founding group, Brian Sansom who has been involved in the event since it's inception in 1982.
But the Muster is more than just a spectacular celebration of music - over 50 community groups and 2000 volunteers annually help Apex stage this non-profit community-based festival to raise funds for charities Australia-wide. Since it's inception, the Muster has raised over $10M for charities and the Muster's Rural Aid Appeal annually raises up to $100,000 for it's nominated charity.
History of the event
In January 1982, Gympie based country music trio, the Webb Brothers, picked up a Top Selling Golden Guitar for "Who Put The Roo In The Stew?" at the Country Music Awards in Tamworth. With the help of the local Apex Club of Gympie (always ready for a party), a celebratory fund-raiser was held on the Webb's 100-year old property at Thornside. A ball and dinner on the Saturday night was followed by a selection of acts on the Sunday.
The Muster's first Main Stage built out of bush timber and borrowed Queensland Rail tarpaulins. The showers were jam tins with hole punched into them, drop hole toilets sufficed, drinking water was trucked to the site and patrons could buy a season pass for just $20. Announcers from 4KQ compered the show and SEQ Television produced a special program commemorating the event. All up $9,600 was spent on entertainment (which is about two-percent of today's budget), a couple of thousand people attended and the club generated a surplus of around $12,000 for charity. The first Muster was deemed a roaring success.
Photo: a classic Gympie "main stage" crowd...
After three years, the event had grown significantly. The Club decided that another site was essential - permanent facilities could be established to ensure the ongoing growth of the event. The site chosen was an area of land owned by the Queensland Forestry Department. It was agreed that the site have a multiple use as a State Forest Park which would utilise the Muster's facilities The 1985 Muster was held for the first time at Amamoor Creek State Forest Park. As the event grew and more and more patrons attended, Muster organisers developed other activities and facilities, including the infamous CrowBar, Muster Club and the Talent Search.
In 1993, Australia was suffering the worst drought on record. The Club decided to commit all funds raised to support the national drought appeal. As a result, the Rural Aid Appeal was initiated. The Appeal annually raises funds for a major charity each year through the sale of compilation CDs and a range of specially designed merchandise.
The Gympie Apex Club Inc remains to this day, the organiser of the event, which has never failed to make a profit for the charities it supports. For over a quarter of a century this phenomenal festival has made a significant difference, by giving something back to rural and regional Australia.
In 2009 after a number of years of support by Hyundai and then Toyota, the Gympie Muster is now seeking a new name sponsor. However they have acquired a new major supporting sponsor, camping and outdoor leisure company, BCF Australia.
Contact the Optus Gympie Music Muster Office by phoning 07 5482 2099 or via their website www.muster.com.au.