The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another festival, with the Gympie Music Muster being the latest calendar event to admit defeat and call off its 2020 edition.

The event was set to return to the Amamoor State Forest in late August this year. However, organisers revealed that proceeding with the event is no longer a feasible option, despite the likelihood of restrictions on social gatherings being less strict by that time.

“While restrictions on movement and gatherings may ease by August, it has become clear that moving forward with the Muster this year is just not tenable or responsible,” said Muster Chairman Greg Cavanagh.

The festival was set to welcome a stack of local artists, including John Williamson, Beccy Cole and Travis Collins and more, and its cancellation is undoubtedly a blow to country music in Australia.

“This decision was made with a heavy heart, but following consultation with government and health officials, we know it is the right one and in the best interests of our artists, patrons, staff, contractors, volunteers and the community at large.

Cavanagh says the team are “confident the Gympie Muster can weather this storm and will be back bigger and better for our 40th-year celebrations in 2021.”

While punters won’t get to see the 2020 lineup this year, organisers have revealed a plan to announce a special lineup for the 2021 event which will include amalgamating this year’s acts onto next year’s bill.

“We are working hard to deliver a wonderful celebration of our resilience and incredible live, original music for our 40th year,” said Programmer Emily Murphy. “The line-up will include Australian icons and Muster favourites with a few surprises in store!”

“We are also looking at innovative and sustainable ways to support and bring the community together for a small slice of Muster throughout the next 12 months as restrictions continue to ease.”

Gympie Music Muster organisers will email all patrons who have purchased tickets to advise that all festival and camping tickets can be used at the 2021 event, or refunded if that is the preferred option.

Dates for the new festival are Thursday, August 26 to Sunday, August 29, 2021, in Queensland’s stunning Sunshine Coast hinterland, for the 40th-anniversary edition.

“The Gympie Muster is an iconic event that has helped shape this region for 39 years,” said Gympie’s Mayor Glen Hartwig. “Its loss this year will be keenly felt by the community but the right decision has been made. The Council is 100% behind Muster and we look forward to celebrating together next year.”

Check out CMC’s wrap of the 2016 Gympie Music Muster:

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