Gympie Muster 2017 Liz Robertson, Debra and Rick Cheers and Bongo Robertson.
Gympie Muster 2017 Liz Robertson, Debra and Rick Cheers and Bongo Robertson. Renee Albrecht

A heartfelt thank-you to the Muster

A MUSTER fanatic, there's not a lot that would stop Bongo Robertson from making the annual trip out to Amamoor Creek State Forest.

Having spent the past 22 years coming to the festival, tragedy struck in 2013 when Bongo became seriously ill.

"He was put on life support in intensive care, and it was the only Muster he ever missed," his wife Liz said.

But while he Bongo was in for the fight of his life, something incredible happened back on-site.

"There were people that we didn't really know, but who knew of him, raised thousands and thousands of dollars for us when he was sick - and we're so grateful."

Despite Bongo downplaying the severity of his condition ('It was only a mild coma'), the incredible act of generosity has clearly moved the couple.

After a performance at the Blues and Roots tent, they wanted to thank those who helped for their support in an incredibly trying time.

To be back at the Muster again is an even more personal experience for the couple, because it's where they first met.

"Well it wasn't at the Blues bar, to be honest I can't even remember where we met here," Liz laughed.

"But we're married now, and we've got two kids - and that's because of the Muster."

Bongo originally started coming to the Muster with APEX, a key player in the festival, but it quickly became something bigger.

"It's a lot of friendships, it really is like coming home to family each year," he said.

"We bump into people every year that we've not seen for 12 months," Liz added.

"And it feels like you've only seen them five minutes ago."

The hardest part about being back at the Muster though? Since his stint in hospital, Bongo hasn't been able to have a cold beer.

"We actually had to sneak in non-alcoholic beer, because he loves beer so much," Liz said with a laugh.

"You'd definitely want to keep that on the down-low here," Bongo said.

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