MACKSVILLE traditionally is a conservative community, almost stoic – but there were near gushing scenes of optimism this afternoon at the launch of the inaugural Macksville Music Muster.
The Muster will be held at the Showground from March 28-31, and the event received the perfect fillip at the promotional launch when local MP Melinda Pavey announced State funding of $20,000 to help get the party started.
In the process, Mrs Pavey outed herself as a country music fan – and the crowd lapped it up.
“You took me back to my childhood as John Denver’s Greatest Hits was my favourite tape,” the Member for Oxley said after Vanessa Sanger belted out Take Me Home, Country Road.
Vanessa has been a prime driver for the Music Muster.
She revealed originally toying with the idea of holding the Muster at her parents … “but I don’t think mum and dad want 300 caravans in their backyard”.
Vanessa performs at the launch:
Vanessa will be among a host of country music stars gracing the stage at the Muster, and Nambucca Shire mayor Rhonda Hoban said “I have a really good feeling about this event”, adding that it might become an annual fixture.
“It’s also going to be wonderful for the economy,” Rhonda said.
Monies raised at the Muster will be for the benefit of ValleyCATs – a project supported by Royal Far West which identifies and treats local children who enter school with untreated childhood development problems such as those requiring speech therapy.
“If we get the support we think we’ll get, we’ll do okay,” Rod Edwards from Macksville Rotary said.
Glen Albrecht with Vanessa:
Rod wears his heart on his sleeve for the ValleyCATs program, and said the Muster would create a pop-up community of country music fans for the duration of the festival.
They are hoping for around 300 caravans to saddle on up in the showground.
It’s a small beast to organise, but plans to feed the punters are well advanced.
“No doubt many of the campers will be self-catering, but the show society ladies will be offering home style meals and the show society men will be doing a barbecue,” Rod said.
Mrs Pavey is also an enthusiastic supporter for the Macksville Muster’s charity of choice.
“If you get that medical care at the front end of a child’s life, the outcomes can be so much better,” Mrs Pavey said.
The MP quipped that Denver’s Sunshine On My Shoulders was a personal favourite – though after other Coalition funding announcements this week for a new TAFE at Nambucca Heads and a splurge to get the Valla industrial estate started, she could be forgiven for humming It’s Raining Dollars (if not men).