Deniliquin Ute Muster 29th & 30th September 2016
Review by Natasha Wyborn
20,000 die hard fans came, saw and eventually slid out of the 18th Deni Ute Muster on the weekend. No matter what the vehicle from a 100K cruiser right down to the standard suburban car, all fell victim to the mud. For a festival conceived on a swamp in the middle of the plains of the Murrumbidgee any down pour becomes an issue. Days prior to the event the region was having its heaviest rainfall in years. Confronting the punter was the mud bath starting on the road to the front gate and never left your boots for the entire festival. Many an expensive foot wear became carnage to the deluge. For the hardcore it was fun, something to play in, for the “glampers” it was an excuse to justify why they never like camping in the first place.
Driving into Deni and getting into the campsite was never a big deal in the years i have been attending. Driving the 6km journey into the entry turned into a four hour extravaganza culminating wth the organisers closing the site at 9.30pm, and small cars and caravans being diverted to a camping area in town for safely reasons.
Once settled, the focus turned to the events the muster was so famous for. The party started on Thursday and was alive and well when I drove out on Saturday night. The bull riding drew some of the countries best and performed to a packed house. Overall, despite the weather, it ran very well and the organisers need to be acknowledged for pulling it all together. A huge shout out to the volunteers that helped; from pulling out bogged 4x4s to the shuttle bus service for those needing to camp off site.
The music was what most people had come for. For the best part of the last ten years Keith Urban’s name had been thrown around as a possible headliner. Every year this proved little more than an urban myth. When announced, his presence proved an instant success, with tickets being snapped up quickly. Urban did not disappoint. The fans found their front positions from the early hours of the morning and didn’t move the whole day ensuring they claimed prime position. The audience got a prelude to the December “Ripcord tour“, with a set saturated with the new album.
ARIA award winner Buddy Goode provided humour and laughter as MC. Other highlights on stage were Queensland’s country roots duo Busby Marou, Aussie favourites Shannon Noll, James Reyne, Troy Cassar-Daley and a very radiant cancer free Catherine Britt. Muster Ambassadors The Sunny Cowgirls introduced the grog monster to an already merry crowd, and Adam Brand & The Outlaws closed the very muddy but fantastic muster.
A new fashion statement was conceived during the 2 day event with raincoats and gumboots becoming the must have fashion accessory. Overall a great show piece at the ute capitol of the world. Early bird ticket sales are already open for 2017. Judging by the way the place looked when I left it should be just about dry by then.