September 20, 2019
Nanango’s annual Heritage Country Music Muster provided a welcome boost to the town’s economy last week.
While attendance figures were a bit lower than usual, the four-day event still filled the Cairns Street showgrounds with caravans.
CBD traders also reported an above-average weekend.
Show Society president Les Schloss said some regulars had called the showgrounds to advise they couldn’t attend the Muster this year due to drought.
They either had to stay home to feed their stock or watch out for bushfires, Les said.
He thought this was understandable and – like everybody – hoped the drought would end soon.
In the meantime, the crowd that did attend was able to enjoy four almost non-stop days of amateur and professional country music talent that ran from last Thursday through to Sunday.
This year’s Muster was officially opened on Friday morning by representatives from the Nanango Show Society and the Muster’s major sponsor, Nanango’s Heritage Bank.
Les said the Muster was celebrating its 18th birthday this year, so in a sense it could be said to have “come of age”.
During those years it had grown from an event that attracted a few hundred guests back in 2003 to one that now reliably attracts several thousand a year.
It has also won a firm place on Australia’s annual Music Muster circuit.
Wendy Zerbst, chair of the Heritage Nanango Community Fund, welcomed the crowd and said she hoped they enjoyed this year’s event.
Wendy said Heritage recognised the great economic boost the Muster provided to Nanango and the South Burnett, and was proud to help the Show Society bring it to ever-widening audience.
After this, South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell and Deputy Mayor Kathy Duff hoisted the Australian flag in the main ring while the audience sang the national anthem.
This year’s entertainment line-up included well-known country music artists such as Anthony Taylor, Jeff Brown, Paul McCloud, Keith Jamieson and Alisha Smith.
They were joined by Diane Lindsay and Pete Simpson, Brian Leeton, John O’Dea, Dean Perrett, Sharon Heaslip, Kira Rodrigues, Tom Maxwell, Graham Rodger and the Lindsay Waddington Band.
These invited artists performed on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday, which packed most of the parking near the Showground.
They were supported on Thursday by a walk-up artist evening concert, and a well-attended Gospel Morning concert on Sunday.
Those who got up early on Friday and Sunday morning could also enjoy Bush Poetry breakfasts led by Gary Fogarty, Murray Hartin and Neil McCarthy.
In between, guests could browse stands set up around the grounds to purchase everything from music CDs to country clothing and bric-a-brac.
Show Society officials told southburnett.com.au they were very pleased with the turnout and looked forward to an even bigger and better Muster next year.