Ute muster relies on families to fill ranks

ORGANISERS of the Deniliquin Ute Muster are out to prove the event is not just for Bundy-drinking, blue-singlet-clad revheads — families are welcome, too.

Event manager John Harvie predicted crowds at this year’s muster, which kicks off on Friday, would be slightly less than last year’s record of 25,000 at 20,000-22,000, thanks to the downturn in the economy.

But he said families had driven the recent growth of the festival.

“The culture has definitely changed over five years,” Mr Harvie said.

“Certainly at the start, it was a bit of a B&S-type culture and now it’s more a family culture.

“We’ve still got the ute paddock where the utes camp and the guys have an amazing time but the biggest growth is our family camp area. It’s a great family weekend.”

But party-goers will not be disappointed.

The ute and blue-singlet count will both return, with organisers hoping to beat last year’s Guinness world record of 3500 singlets.

“I would really love to get 4500,” Mr Harvie said.

“It’s going to be another great big party, just like it always is,

“I think it’s a place where people can come away for the weekend and forget all the negativeness that is around in the community at the moment and just have a lot of fun.”

This year’s music line-up will feature Icehouse, Eskimo Joe, Guy Sebastian and Adam Brand.

Among the utes on show will be one of the rarest in the world, which is about the size of a Morris Mini.

Only six Zeta utes were made in 1963 by the Lightburn company, which is better known for building washing machines and wheelbarrows.

Only three of the fibreglass utes remain — two of them in Australia.

“It’s a fairly rare ute and it’s going to be the star attraction at the exhibition,” co-ordinator David Nolte said.

“Most people would never have seen any- thing like it and probably never will again.

“This is the only chance to see it.”

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