MORE than 15,500 ute and country music lovers piled into Deniliquin for the 19th annual Deni Ute Muster at the weekend.
The clouds parted and the sun shone for two days straight, making this year’s event a far cry from the muddy wonderland the showgrounds were last year, but it didn’t stop revellers from across the country from having a good time.
After weather prevented it from going ahead in 2016, the Ute Count returned in 2017, with a total of 6313 utes tallied on site.
The annual blue singlet world record attempt fell short, with 1941 people donning the iconic Deni top, short of the 3959 required to set a new benchmark.
It was clear that Richmond fans were out in force over the weekend, and the Muster came to a near standstill for the AFL grand final, which was shown on two big screens next to the main stage.
Though the muster has evolved from it’s more rowdy origins into a more family-friendly affair, it hasn’t stopped long-time participants from coming along.
The Pullman family have travelled down from Picton, in in the the MacArthur region of NSW, at least eight times, with dad Brian a regular after attending the very first Muster back in 1999.
“All up I’ve been here about 13 times,” Mr Pullman said.
“The original thing was that I came down with a mate, and it was all about promoting the area and trying to bring visitors to Deni.
“We thought why not, it was 10 bucks back in the day.
“It wasn’t really family-oriented at first, but now they’ve got heaps of stuff for the kids, they’ve found a really good balance.”
They've got heaps of stuff here for the kids now, they've found a really good balance I think.Brian Pullman
The MCG had Dami Im performing at half-time, but it was Shannon Noll who brought the house down at half-time in Deniliquin, coming on stage as a pre-cursor to his performance later in the evening.
The 42-year-old said the atmosphere was incredible.
“It was great, everyone is obviously keen into it down this way so it’s great to see,” he said.
“I think if Richmond get up today it’ll be an awesome party tonight.
“I had a bit to do with the Tigers while I was in Melbourne so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the guys.
“This is a great festival, I'd been keen for a long time to play here so I’m chuffed they got me back again.”