Entertainment

Gympie is the big name for muster

THE Gympie Music Muster is expected to be just that from now on - not the Toyota or Optus Music Muster, as it has been at times in the past.

Gympie Muster Ltd chairman Glen Smith said the withdrawal of naming rights sponsors like Optus and Toyota had previously left Muster organisers facing the cost of reprinting stationery, T-shirts and signage.

And while the Muster still valued its advertising sponsors, major sponsorship status would no longer be accompanied by naming rights.

"Toyota was a big sponsor for 10 years and people got to know it as 'The Toyota Muster.' I still get mail come through five years later for the Toyota Muster," he said.

The lack of a major sponsor had been a financial headache this year, after the withdrawal of Optus.

"It's had an impact on our numbers," Mr Smith said.

But that was balanced by the backing now promised by Tourism and Events Queensland, which had recognised the Muster as a major event for the state.

This year's Muster had been a leaner event than it had been previously, with more efficient cost controls.

And organisers had been busy since August preparing detailed reports to Tourism and Events Queensland, a necessary process in view of the new funding now available.

"We're going through the book-keeping flat chat, but that is part of the process and the first payments are going out now (from this year).

"We have some very exciting prospects and some wonderful companies have shown some very big interest in the 2014 Muster.

"The Muster tends to sell itself if people are there.

"We had some potential sponsors as guests and I know some of them are in awe.

"They couldn't believe what transpires in the Amamoor State Forest.

"We're looking at selling non-naming rights sponsorships to a range of important services - a telco, a vehicle and a bank, for example."

The problem with naming rights was that "every time we change the name, it costs us tens of thousands of dollars to change marketing and signage."

Mr Smith said the Muster had started a major restructure three years ago, with the departure of co-ordinator Brian Sansom.

"We knew our co-ordinator of 29 years wasn't going to be here," he said.

"We formed GML as a limited liability company owned by Apex, to run the Muster in its own right and protect Apex."

Mr Smith said keeping the name simple meant the Muster would be an international promotion for Gympie.

Similarly, retaining its Amamoor location was a valuable promotion for the Mary Valley.

The Muster welcomed other events, including the recent Thornside muster and the Mitchell Creek Blues Festival.

Topics:  country music gympie muster music festival sponsorship

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