Surprise funding boost helps cement Muster’s future

A SHOCK funding boost for the Gympie Music Muster will see the event through next year and beyond, according to board chairman Glenn Smith.

The Federal Government yesterday announced up to $450,000 would go towards improving the Muster site.

It was a significant shot in the arm that came as a welcome surprise to Mr Smith.

He said the organisation had initially applied for the funding at the beginning of the year.

However, with the changes following the federal election in September, the board thought what was a likely grant had become a pipe dream.

Then, yesterday, an unexpected press release detailing the grant's success instantly gave a kickstart to plans for next year's Muster. "We didn't even see it coming," Mr Smith said.

"It's fantastic news from the Muster front - that's for sure.

"This is going to help us rebuild."

In accordance with the initial pre-2013 floods grant application, the Community Development Grants Program funding will be used to improve facilities at the Amamoor State Forest site.

Repairs to the Main Stage, improvements to disability access and installation of three new portable amenities blocks will be possible thanks to the funding.

Mr Smith said the grant would free up other Muster funds through building facilities the Muster would usually pay to rent.

"It's a good start to the 2014 Muster," Mr Smith said.

Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss said the new facilities for the "significant tourist drawcard", provided through the Community

Development Grants Program, would add to the "experience that visitors and locals enjoy at the event".

The funding follows a $300,000 interest-free loan from the Gympie Regional Council that Mr Smith said brought the event back to "operational".

He said the next funds, including from sponsors, would need to be generated and that money would go towards the event's operations.

He said the site was also still suffering $368,000 in flood damage, so any money contributed or saved would help with vital repairs.

Mr Smith said with 2014 tickets already on sale, the surprise grant and prospects for an "exciting" Australian headline act, it was "happy days" at Muster headquarters once again.

Gympie Times

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