May 11, 2019
An ambitious plan to create a new music festival for the South Burnett came asunder on Friday night.
A sudden change in the weather around 9:00pm saw high winds blanket the region.
The winds destabilised the main stage for the Maidenwell Country Muster and threatened to tip over the caravans of early arrivals parked on Maidenwell’s J.A. Gorton Oval.
When the wild weather continued the following morning, organisers Nigel Squibb and John Whitely took the decision to cancel the event at 9:00am Saturday.
In a brief statement on the festival’s social media page, they said:
“Due to severe weather and for safety reasons the 2019 Maidenwell Country Muster has been closed.
“Unfortunately last night and continuing today, (with) wind gusts in excess of 25 kilometres per hour, we have received damage to the muster’s onsite set-up.
“We apologise for any inconvenience but your safety is the most important thing to us right now. All tickets will be refunded.”
On Saturday morning, barely 50 caravans remained on site and the few remaining stallholders were busy dismantling their tents.
The main stage had its roof lowered and stripped to prevent it being tipped over by a wind gust, and sections of shade cloth mounted on fencing around the main concert area were torn.
Nigel and John told southburnett.com.au they were “absolutely gutted” to have to cancel the event, but felt they had no other choice in the circumstances.
The pair said they had put three years of work into organising the event, which had shown every indication of success based on advance ticket sales.
Robyn Bliss, from the Maidenwell Rural Fire Brigade, said the town’s community groups were naturally disappointed a great fundraising opportunity had been lost, but everyone’s sympathies were with Nigel and John.
The weather change was completely unexpected and no one could have foreseen it would happen, she said.
“We’re all really upset for them.”