It was a boot-scootin’, dust kickin’, fun lovin’ time at Gympie Music Muster (22-25 August).
The weather was perfect and although someone will always mention the 2007 floods where people got jammed in and had to party or get out, the skies will always deliver quality memory-making material.
Kasey Chambers and band complete with her Dad, Bill Chambers, regaled a full hillside with many songs from album ‘The Captain’ – celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year with a national tour. The sound was amazing and the nostalgia deep.
Also steeped in Muster history are acts like James Blundell and The McClymonts – previous winners of the Gympie Muster Talent Search. This year’s crowned winner is alt-country sweetheart Ruby Gilbert, thrilled to be on her way to Nashville and playing a set at Muster 2020.
Twangs a-plenty were rocking out all weekend, in all the ways. Hayseed Dixie were in fine form ripping up original manuscripts of rock classics and weaving them into tightly chewable straws of bluegrass.
Songwriters crooned, guitar techs tuned, Colt Seavers rocked it and 8 Ball Aitken plonked it straight in the pocket. Harmony favourites, The Wilson Pickers, assembled a stunning line-up of melded voices and string plucking, while The Fergies – touted as real ones to watch – tore up the Grove stage.
Micki Free, suggested by some as the last real rock star, repped for both America and First Nations everywhere – closing out the Blues Tent on Saturday night following Caiti Baker, Jeff Lang and Renée Geyer.
Saturday night’s Main Stage event featured the country debut material of Andrew Farriss (INXS) and his band the Rainmakers, as well as James Blundell, Felicity Urquhart, The McClymonts and Chase Rice – USA country heavyweight.
Bush ballads, bush poetry were up with the birds and the broomstick family vs mop family, in the gardens at the entrance to the Grove made for plenty of happy snapping. The festival grounds were loaded with visual art: old guitars, farm scenes, car parts, quotes by celebrities and motivational plaques to help punters stay in the best of spirits.
There is space here to feel all the feels in Amamoor Forest – in the fresh air of the Mary Valley.
No matter what stage of the life cycle you’re at: whether you’re a fish and chips, woodfired-pizza or storytelling connoisseur, or a fan of both kinds of music (country and western) - Gympie Music Muster truly has something for everyone.