In 1982, the Webb Brothers, a trio based in Gympie, Queensland won a Golden Guitar at the Tamworth Country Music Festival for their song ‘Who Put the Roo in the Stew?’. To celebrate the occasion, the Apex Club of Gympie threw a fund-raising party at the winners' 100-year old property in Thornside. The dinner and ball on that Saturday evening was followed by a show with selected acts on the following day.

The main stage for the show was by no means a five-star structure. Bush timber and tarpaulins loaned by Queensland rail covered the stage. Makeshift toilets and showers were set up, and drinking water had to be trucked to the venue. A season pass would go for $20 and it cost the organizers all of $9,600, which nonetheless yielded a profit of $12,000 for charity. The first National Country Music Muster was off to a good start.

After proving its viability over three years, the Apex Club, which still operates the Muster today, decided that larger, permanent facilities were needed to enable the festival to sustain its growth. The Amamoor Creek State Forest Park, owned by the Queensland Forestry Department was selected and the 1985 Muster was held in that location. With over 50 hectares of well-planned camping facilities complete with amenities, towering gum trees and placid lagoons, it was the perfect site for all the activities that would eventually make the Muster one of Australia's largest country music festivals. As the event grew in popularity and attendance, the organizers added more activities which now include the Bundaberg Rum Crowbar, a late night power-packed show; the Muster Club and the Talent Search which features many surfacing country artists.

The Muster is operated for charity, as it has been from the beginning. In 1993, when Australia was reeling from a severe drought, the Club started the Rural Aid Appeal which annually raises up to $100,000 for a designated major charity by selling specially produced CDs and merchandise. Since the start, the Muster has raised over $14 million. Some of the charities that have benefited from this are Diabetes Australia, the Leukaemia Foundation, the Melanoma Foundation, Transplant Australia and many more. For the 2011 event, the designated charity is the Starlight Foundation which seeks to brighten the lives of children who are seriously sick and in hospital.

The 2011 Gympie Muster will start on Tuesday, August 23 and will last until Sunday, August 28

Montgomery Gentry,Kasey Chambers, John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley,Lee Kernaghan, Doc Walker (CAN), Adam Brand, Beccy Cole, Ash Grunwald, Jace Everett (USA), Adam Harvey, Boy & Bear, Graeme Connors, James Blundell, Shane Nicholson, James Reyne, Ross Wilson, Bryan White (USA), Sunny Cowgirls, Eugene Hideaway Bridges (USA), Catherine Britt, Bill Chambers, McAlister Kemp, Lowrider, Jasmine Rae, Alvin Youngblood Hart (USA), head up a star-studded lineup of artists who will perform an exciting mix of traditional and modern country music. 10 stages and 8 bars set up at the festival will feature folk, bluegrass, ballads, gospel, blues, bush poetry, line dancing, rock 'n roll and even a celebrity guest debate.

For the over 25,000 people who attend the Muster, 50 community groups and 2,000 volunteers will assist the organizers in making sure that everyone derives every drop of enjoyment that the festival has to offer.

For more information, visit their website Gympie Muster