Confusion in muster camp
FOR the past three decades without fail, Gympie Music Muster stalwarts Dan and Shirley Rowlands have called Amamoor Creek State Forest Park campgrounds their home for the three months leading up to the festival.
This year would have been their 30th.
While road and park closures have kept the retired couple from claiming their coveted camping spot on Slim Dusty Drive, they have a great concern about festival organisers’ plans to use their prime spot to accommodate entertainers.
Mr Rowlands, 72, said there was going be a lot of unhappy campers this year because of the campground closures.
“It’s not the artists that we go for anymore, it’s the atmosphere – camping and friendships are why we still go. The music is secondary.”
EARLY bird Muster campers have begun to rope off their sites now parts of Amamoor Creek campgrounds have been re-opened up to the public.
People have been accessing the Muster site via back roads.
However, Slim Dusty Drive is still off limits due to an access culvert washed away during major flooding in January.
Apex Muster chairman Glenn Smith said some of Slim Dusty Drive would be taken over and allocated for entertainer accommodation due to changes to the backstage of the festival’s Main Stage.
“I know it will probably be at the expense of a few of our loyal patrons but the bottom line is we have got to ensure our artists are comfortable when they perform at the Muster,” he said.
Mr Rowlands said he feared a backlash from unhappy campers who end up losing their spots to former Slim Dusty Drive campers forced to relocate.
He said they would be terribly disappointed to miss their 30th Muster, when his wife’s heart attack in 2009 didn’t stop them from attending their 28th.
Shirley’s medical condition – diabetes – means they can’t camp far from the amenities block.
“We’re probably going to end up in someone else’s camp,” Mr Rowlands said. “There’s going to be a mad over-flow.”
Muster fan Angela Dalgleish mirrored the Rowlands’ concerns on the Gympie Music Muster Facebook wall.
“So used to going up and getting our camp site early and paying for three months, now we have to wait and hope nobody pinches our site, its a unwritten law, you never take anybody’s campsite. Hope you all remember that,” she wrote.
Mr Rowlands said he knew a lot of disappointed people who had travelled distances to rope off and were forced to turn back.
“Many decided not to go this year but changed their minds just because it is our 30th year,” he said.
“You know I named Slim Dusty Drive. We originally camped up the hill and I put up a sign that said ‘Dusty – drive slow’. I added Slim and it became Slim Dusty Drive then when we moved to the lower camp I took the name with us.”