BIG EVENT: Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt helped maintain the Muster's iconic role in the region when she drew a big crowd last year.
BIG EVENT: Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt helped maintain the Muster's iconic role in the region when she drew a big crowd last year. Jason Dougherty

'Damn the torpedoes' - cash tight but Muster runs 'full speed ahead'

THIS year's Gympie Music Muster will be make-or-break critical, according to executive director David Gibson.

But then it always is, Mr Gibson said.

He and festival director Melinda Wells said the region's big music event was powering ahead and getting a big job organised.

Ms Wells urged Gympie people to get behind the important regional event by volunteering and buying tickets early.

Mr Gibson was commenting on claims the Muster was in some financial difficulty and needed to a big success this year in order to survive.

He said things were no worse than usual with each year a new challenge for the iconic event.

"To be brutally honest, it is no different from last year and no different from the year before," he said.

He said more detailed comment would be available after a Muster board meeting on Tuesday.

"The board is meeting then and a whole lot of decisions are being made.

"This is a crucial event, not just for its economic benefit but for its reputational value for the region," he said.

"It will go ahead this year, but in today's world it's tough to put on a music festival and make money when you are building infrastructure from scratch every time you do it.

"What we do, to build and take down, costs a lot of money," Mr Gibson said.

"After Tuesday we'll be able to give facts and figures and a clear direction as to where the board is going with it,” Mr Gibson said.

"It's not so bad that we can't pay the bills.”

But Mr Gibson indicated the Muster was taking a long hard look at itself, to build efficiencies and cut costs, as a matter of survival.

"The board is actively engaged in delivering the 2017 Muster.

"We are looking at all aspects of the event in order to determine how to ensure its long-term sustainability.

"We're working on delivering the 2017 Muster and, like it is every year, it's tough.

"And every year is crucial.

"Each year, we put on a great event. We couldn't do it without the community.

"But we don't have a buffer.

"We need it to make money and each year we are always looking at how to save costs and make it work.”

He said constant review of operations was a necessity for the board, "because it keeps changing.”

Ms Wells said the Muster is now opening artist applications and inviting performers to put themselves forward via the online application form.

"We will spend hours sifting through hundreds of applications,” she said.

Gympie Times


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