Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Muster chair change

Harold Clapham is moving to the vice chairman's position of the Deniliquin Play on the Plains Festival Ltd, with Caroline Shand to take over as chairperson.

May 13, 2014 4:15am

The opening of the new world class stage at the 2012 Ute Muster was a highlight for Harold Clapham (right), who gave the official honours to veteran muster performer John Williamson.

Caroline Shand will take over as chairperson of Deniliquin Play on the Plains Festival Ltd at tonight’s annual general meeting.

Current chairman Harold Clapham will move to the vice chairman’s position, Meredith Whykes-Tasker will continue as treasurer and Daphne Tyndall will replace Marg Tait – who has resigned from the board – as a director.

The financial statements to be tabled at the meeting will show a strong profit for the year ended December 31, 2013.

In his chairman’s report, which will also be tabled, Mr Clapham will reflect on a year not without its challenges for the board, yet one which has further laid the foundations for ongoing success.

‘‘The 2013 Deni Ute Muster was our 15th anniversary event and was without a doubt the most successful event we have ever staged,’’ Mr Clapham said.

‘‘It showcased the development of the event from its infancy to its current position and we have laid the foundations for future generations to enjoy what is now a truly iconic Australian festival.

‘‘Everyone now knows why the Deni Ute Muster was Australia’s tourism award winner for the Best Event and Festival.’’

He said the success justified the significant expenditure on infrastructure over the previous two years, with the 2013 records made much easier to achieve at ‘‘what must now be regarded as the best outside festival venue in regional Australia’’.

Mr Clapham acknowledged the festival sponsors and volunteers, describing them as the ‘‘backbone’’ of the event, adding ‘‘without their ongoing support and commitment to our event, it would not be possible to stage’’.

In his report, Mr Clapham also reflected on ‘‘difficult times’’ including key staff changes during the past year, accepting that as the event continues to grow there will be ‘‘teething pains along the way’’.

However, the appointment of Kate Pitt as general manager ‘‘brings to the table a long term understanding of the event and the community’’, with ‘‘a clearly defined vision as to the future of the Deni Ute Muster’’.

He acknowledged the contribution of past board members, including Terry Murphy, Norm McAllister and Marg Tait.

Commenting on the Deni Blues & Roots Festival, Mr Clapham said there were remarkable achievements in the first year, but this did not reflect the financial performance which was extremely poor.

However there was growth and success for the 2014 festival and the board is looking forward to the 2015 event.

In conclusion, Mr Clapham said the 2013 Deni Ute Muster was ‘‘the greatest event we have ever staged’’ which must be the most important criteria by which it is judged.

‘‘We now need to build on that success and make sure over the next 15 years that we create the quintessential Australian festival.

‘‘The Deni Ute Muster has the capacity to be what bulls are to Barcelona, carnivals are to Rio De Janeiro, Mardi Gras is to New Orleans and stampedes are to Calgary,’’ Mr Clapham said.

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