FES­TI­VAL SUC­CESS Ute Muster crowd es­ti­mated at 15,500

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - DENI UTE MUSTER 2017 - By DE­LANEY COUROUPIS

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.

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