The sun set on the 38th Gympie Music Muster Sunday after four balmy days of mate-ship, world-class music and making a difference for this year’s charity partner the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Queensland (RFDS).
Living up to its name as Australia’s largest charity festival, Muster-goers dug deep, raising awareness and much needed funds for critical RFDS rural mental health programs.
While donated dollars are still being tallied, it was the event’s Funky Shirt Friday initiative which really had people talking.
Encouraged to wear funky shirts, make new friends over a free cuppa at the Nescafé stall and stop in at Lady Memphis’ pop-up Barber Shop, this year’s onsite initiatives were all designed to start a conversation around mental health.
TradeMutt co-founder, Daniel Allan said the social enterprise’s mission is to make this invisible issue impossible to ignore and with more than 320 boldly designed tradie shirts sold during the festival, it was mission accomplished.
“The response at Muster was absolutely unbelievable. We aim to start important conversations around mental health, and we saw it all happening here at Muster this weekend,” he said.
Also stripping away the stigma around mental health was the #GetNaked4Muster photo competition, which called for festival goers to don their ‘birthday suit’ on the notion that it takes just as much guts to take your gear off as it does to talk about mental health.
Judged by The Naked Farmer himself, Ben Brooksby, Emma Palmblad took out the comp with her naked photograph set to feature as ‘Ms August’ in the 2020 Naked Farmer calendar.
“It has been very hard watching farmers suffer from mental health, but raising awareness and helping people understand that they are not alone has helped a lot,” said Toowoomba-based Ms Palmblad.
The weekend’s diverse music program saw Muster favourites Kacey Chambers and The McClymonts draw thousands to the main stage, where international headliner, Chase Rice also belted out his Billboard-charting tunes.
“The Australian crowds have been amazing. The party atmosphere around here is probably the craziest I’ve ever seen. I didn’t expect it,” said Rice, who performed his only Australian show on Saturday night.
Unearthing talent like The McClymonts, Brooke Schubert and Mark O’Shea, the 28th Muster Talent Search Open winner, Ruby Gilbert, and Junior winner, Felicity Kircher, scored themselves an incredible prize pack on Sunday, including an all expenses paid trip to Nashville.
Limited early-bird tickets for the 2020 Gympie Music Muster are on sale now.