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Country Music Muster Pulls In The Crowds

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The Nanango Country Music Muster resembled a rock concert on Saturday afternoon, with thousands packed into the amphitheatre around the stage

September 10, 2012

The Nanango Showgrounds were packed almost to capacity with a record 799 caravans at the weekend.

Their owners had travelled from all over south-east Queensland – and some from even further afield – to enjoy the 10th annual Nanango Country Music Muster which was celebrated at the Showgrounds from Thursday to Sunday.

A bumper line-up of country music talent, as well as many unknown walk-up artists, a smattering of bush poets and even some spirited gospel singers, kept the crowds entertained.

This year’s headline artists were Australian country music icons Anne Kirkpatrick and Ted Egan.

But many other top-flight performers took to the stage to share the limelight. They included the South Burnett’s own Dean Perrett and Glenn Jones, along with visiting artists Kalesti Butler, Natalie Foley, Sharon Heaslip, Ashley Cook, Ernie Constance, Col Hardy, Pete Smith, Jeff Brown, Brian Letton, Tom Maxwell and Graham Rodger.

And while the organisers said it was hard to pin down the exact number of people who came through the gates – many locals came and went during the course of the event – they said the total attendance was probably about 3000 to 3500.

If so, this makes 2012 the biggest yet and a far cry from the estimated 500 people who turned out to the first Muster back in 2002.

South Burnett bush balladeer Dean Perrett was popular with the crowd

Compere Barry Williams told the Nanango Country Music Muster was now an established part of the country music circuit and had built up a very loyal following over the past 10 years.

“There’s a very good atmosphere here,” he said

“A lot of people come for a whole week and some come for even longer. The camping at the Showground is inexpensive compared with a normal caravan park and you get great music thrown in as well.”

Although the Muster had something of the atmosphere of a rock concert on Saturday afternoon with thousands packed into the amphitheatre around the stage, the crowd was uniformly quiet, good-natured and well-behaved.

“The Muster’s audience are mostly ‘grey nomads’ who travel the country music circuit,” Barry said. “But they’re good, honest people and a really great crowd to entertain.”

But if Muster audiences are older, then will the Musters eventually die out?

“No,” Barry said. “There are always younger people coming through the ranks to join them. The people who are 40 or 50 today will probably be the next generation of Muster fans going forward.

“And in more than 10 years of doing this I haven’t seen the numbers go backwards yet.”

Ashley Cook drew a good response from this year's Nanango Muster crowds

Fans came from near and far to enjoy this year's 10th Annual Muster - including Ros Foran from Brisbane and Mary Green from Nanango

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