INTERSTATE Gympie Muster fans have accused organisers of a "greedy money grab" after being told they will have to pay an extra $1000 to secure a roped off area big enough to accommodate 10 couples in the days leading up to this year's event.
Though organisers said yesterday there had not been any changes to the fees for camping at the Muster in the last two years, Victorian Muster fan Pam Bourke said she had been told that roping off an area big enough to accommodate her group from August 8-18 would this year cost an additional $1000.
The Bourkes have travelled up to Queensland for the Muster for the past 12 years and believe they typify many festival attendees.
"We travel from Portland and Warrnambool, south-west Victoria, a journey in excess of 2000km, to enjoy your community's iconic festival," Mrs Bourke said.
"Along the way we have gathered together a band of devoted followers, in excess of 20 adults.
"Naturally, coming from such a distance, we all want to camp together.
"This year that privilege will cost us $1000 plus, via the rope-off scheme (36m per rope-off permit).
"This money, in addition to our season pass, allows us the privilege of roping off a very small area early in August, which we cannot camp on until August 18.
"Each rope-off area barely gives enough room for one car and one caravan.
"We have 10 couples, hence our need for 10 permits.
"My question to the Gympie community is: does the community want the festival to continue? If they do then they need to put a stop to this greedy grab for money."
The Muster office yesterday issued this statement in relation to Mrs Bourke's complaint:
"The 2012 Optus Gympie Music Muster rope-off is not a new introduction and has been in place for a number of years.
"The only difference is that this year the Muster office will be administering the rope-off permits on behalf of the landowner.
"The sites remain as 36 square metres, as they have in the past, and are the same price as the 2011 event."
But Mrs Bourke said she had been at the last two Musters and her entire group had only had to pay National Parks $5/day to rope off the area they needed to camp opposite Swill Hill.
"This is just extortion," she said.
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