Muster needs our help to remain viable
THE Muster is calling on community support to help bolster the iconic event in 2014 and keep it viable into the future.
General manager Jeff Chandler (pictured) said early bird ticket sales had sold well and momentum for the Gympie Music Muster was building but the organisation needed community support to be able to survive in competitive times.
Competition for patronage at music festivals has never been greater with new festivals starting up all around the state.
Even large commercial festivals like the Big Day out, which has this year been cancelled, are struggling.
Mr Chandler said this year's Muster was getting back to basics.
"Charity is front and centre," Mr Chandler said.
"We are looking after our own community, looking after farmers and Australian artists.
"The Muster is about the experience more than anything else.
"We are a charity fundraiser that delivers music as the entertainment and it's a great camping experience."
Muster board chairman Jonathan Weller and board member Nathan O'Neill echoed Mr Chandler's sentiments.
THEY said the Muster was the biggest charitable music event in the country but only survived because of local volunteers.
"The community is very important to us," Mr Weller said.
"We are competing against festivals that are businesses but our charity and having the community at heart is what sets us apart."
Mr Weller said the Muster has had a few bad years and a recent public forum was held for community groups to open communication lines and keep closer relationships with community stakeholders.
Gympie Regional Council has also helped out the Muster this year offering them a $300,000 loan.
Mr O'Neill said the council's support was a positive move because the event is an economic driver for Gympie.
"There is a lot of people putting in personal time to make sure this event keeps going because it is very important to Gympie," he said.
"The Muster is here to stay and we will do everything in our power keep it going but the community needs to get behind it.
"If we don't get community behind the event there might not be an event.
"The Big Day out is off but the Muster is still kicking on," he said.
For ticket information go to http://www.muster.com.au.