RISE grants help bring back iconic Gympie Muster and Heart of Gold Film Festival

After two years of cancellations and dashed hopes, Gympie’s entertainment scene is set to explode with a $1.2 million injection from the Morrison Government to inspire live music enthusiasts and film buffs and lure visitors back to the region. 

A Federal Government grant of $188,300 to the Gympie Heart of Gold International Short Film Festival 2022 will bring Australia’s most heart-warming short film festival back bigger than ever with a new storytelling stage, and an immersive “future of cinema” exhibition and a regional tour, while a $1 million grant to the Gympie Music Muster will bring country greats, including Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers and John Williamson, to a tent city in Amamoor Forest allowing up to 60,000 revellers to finally let their hair down.

Funding to help regional Australia’s music and film sector recover from Covid 19 has been made available from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, Federal Member for Wide Bay and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Llew O’Brien said. 

“After two years of isolation, cancellations and fears about the recovery of our music and film industries, locals and visitors are now counting down the days until they can enjoy two of our region’s biggest and brightest events again,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Without these funds, the future of many iconic artistic, creative and musical events in regional Australia were in doubt. 

“These grants are supporting the iconic Gympie Music Muster and the Heart of Gold Film Festival to be back in Gympie this year.

“These events are essential for the arts, the economy and our community, supporting local jobs and allowing people to experience world-class musical and theatrical performances.”

Gympie Music Muster Board chairman Greg Cavanagh said he was especially excited about this year’s festival after two years of cancellations due to Covid-19. 

“Ticket sales are going very well, and we look forward to welcoming visitors from all over Australia to our festival and region. The Gympie community has been hit very hard again during the recent floods, and a successful Muster will boost spirits and provide the opportunity for local groups to raise much-needed funds,” Mr Cavanagh said.

“The RISE Grant has provided the Muster team with the opportunity to invest back into the event and entertainment industry, and we are very thankful to be able to rebuild and look forward to celebrating our belated 40th birthday in the Amamoor Creek State Forest from August 25 to 28 this year.”

Since 2006, the Heart of Gold Festival has become a significant player on the national film circuit and attracts huge audiences to Gympie every year for four days of films and events.

Heart of Gold’s grant will increase the long term sustainability of the festival. 

“Hearing of Heart of Gold Film Festival getting the RISE grant was a huge vote of confidence for us in regional Queensland,” a festival volunteer for 15 years, Robyn Bowman, said.

“It confirms our belief in the value of this festival in Gympie and the district’s calendar. It means so much to filmmakers and volunteers, and our audience. 

“After being put on the back burner during the pandemic, this grant will enable us to re-energise and try some new ideas. 

“I am grateful to our team who wrote the submission and the people who found us worthy.”

The Australian Government has provided $200 million from the RISE fund to 541 projects nationally, creating over 213,000 job opportunities across Australia and creating experiences to benefit millions in audiences.