FESTIVAL SUCCESS Ute Muster crowd estimated at 15,500
The 2017 Ute Muster is being hailed as a massive success despite a slight drop in attendance numbers.
Exact ticket sales are yet to be confirmed, however organisers say this year’s event is expected to have drawn a crowd of up to 15,500 people.
Muster goers revelled in the beautiful weather conditions across Friday and Saturday, and perhaps a stiff breeze on Saturday was the only minor blight on an otherwise cracking two-day event.
Although the event’s World Records weren’t broken, organisers were rapt with the two attempts — an impressive 6,313 utes gathered on the Conargo Plains and 1,941 ‘musterers’ donned the iconic blue singlet for the record count on Saturday at lunchtime.
With plenty of sunshine and no ‘‘major hiccups’’, festival general manager Vicky Lowry said the 2017 event went ‘‘extremely well’’.
Police also praised the event, saying that overall crowd behaviour was good.
‘‘The weather was perfect, we had a happy crowd who had a good time and everything ran smoothly,’’ Mrs Lowry said.
‘‘We also had lots of families and children this year, which was great to see.’’
Mrs Lowry said planning was already underway for the 2018 Ute Muster, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the iconic event.
‘‘I’d like to give a big thankyou to the volunteers — without them, we would struggle,’’ she said.
‘‘To our loyal and new Muster patrons, thank you for making this another successful year.’’
With barely a puddle in sight after last year’s ‘mud Muster’, festival goers enjoyed two days of entertainment, including a jampacked music program, wood chopping and whip cracking demonstrations, circle work competitions, the Bull Ride spectacular and more.
Saturday afternoon saw footy fans pack the festival arena to watch the AFL Grand Final, with complete pandemonium at final siren time as Richmond fans celebrated the end of their team’s 37-year premiership drought.
The match also featured live music at the half-time break by Shannon Noll, who showcased why he is a Muster crowd favourite.
The largest crowds amassed on Friday and Saturday evenings to catch all the country music action, and it was kicked off on Friday with Jetty Road and Hurricane Fall, followed by one of Australia’s most loved singer-songwriters, Sara Storer.
The Davidson Brothers, one of Australia’s hottest bluegrass acts, were up next followed by Beccy Cole and her band playing all of her hits, interspersed with her trademark cheeky repartee with the crowd.
James Blundell and Brewn took the stage before the ‘man in the black hat’, Lee Kernaghan, closed Friday night with an almost two hour set which had the whole arena singing along.
On Saturday evening, the music once again began as the sun set with the Adam Eckersley Band and rising country star Caitlyn Shadbolt, before The McClymonts set the stage alight. Drew McAlister and Shannon Noll both performed before The Wolfe Brothers closed the Muster weekend with a bang.
Lee Kernaghan and his band members on stage at the Ute Muster on Friday night. Photo courtesy David Jackson.