The Muster kicks off
"YOU meet people you wouldn't meet anywhere else," was the ringing endorsement from one camper at the Gympie Muster.
"You travel thousands of kilometres and you hear music you wouldn't hear anywhere else in the world," the young recurring Muster fan said.
And thousands shared his enthusiasm yesterday, as Muster Town emerged from the previously peaceful Amamoor Creek forest.
Early performers blew the forest's famous yowies away for the once-a-year extravaganza which this year emphasises the amazing depth and variety of Australian musical talent in country and closely linked, cross-over musical genres.
Despite threatening clouds, weather forecasts continued to improve yesterday, with today now predicted to have a chance of showers.
Temperatures today are likely to stay in the mild range from 15 to 21 degrees.
And the skies, though not likely to be completely clear, will be bright enough to give us a UV alert, with a high index predicted between 8.50am and 2.50pm.
Festival director Jeff Chandler says the whole idea of the festival this year is to make life easy for patrons, as they take in a feast of predominantly Australian talent across all seven major venues (not counting the informal performances at camp sites around the grounds).
And, organisers say, a lot of that talent will come from the Muster patrons themselves, as people just like us work on their talents, or find their talents at The Workshop.
Whatever your music or dance interests, even if it only boils down to showing off or having a laugh, you can learn a performance skill and, if you stick with it, you can be among the performers on the Main Stage.
You can learn everything from line dancing, guitar and ukulele to harmonica and song writing.
The people who have penned some of our better known tunes will be among those helping out at the song writing workshops.
"You can catch a bus from the Fraser Coast, Bundaberg, Nambour or Noosa, so you don't have to worry about driving.
"And if you need a tent, you can hire one from us.
"There are no excuses this year for not having a fantastic Muster experience.
"Come and party with us," he said, noting that thousands had already taken his advice.
Children's entertainment will also help make life easy for parents.
Their big show, Discover Australia with Paully, also at The Workshop, will feature an entertaining and educational journey through Australia's rich history and culture, with heaps of audience involvement.
It is hosted by Paul Grierson, of the band, Simply Bushed, with performances today for an hour from 3.30pm, from 4pm tomorrow and 10.30am on Sunday.
The Workshop is an unlicensed venue.