When? October each year
Where? Deniliquin, NSW
The Deni Ute Muster is an annual event held in Deniliquin, New South Wales, Australia. In its first year, it attracted around 3,000 utes, and over the years, it has grown significantly, now attracting approximately 25,000 attendees. The event spans three days and features live country music concerts, an occasional decent bit of rock, Ute shows, trade displays, woodchopping competitions, and various other often quite wild activities! It’s a unique blend of entertainment and a celebration of Australian rural culture and for festival goers a chance to party party party!
Deniliquin is located in the Murray region of New South Wales, Australia, and near the Victorian border, Deniliquin is the principal town within the Edward River Council’s jurisdiction. Situated at the confluence of the Riverina and Cobb Highway, this town lies roughly 725 kilometers (450 miles) southwest of Sydney, the state’s capital, and about 285 kilometers (177 miles) directly north of Melbourne. The Edward River, a tributary of the Murray River, bisects Deniliquin into two sections, with the main commercial area found on the southern bank. Deniliquin is known for its role in servicing a fertile agricultural area, renowned for its rice, wool, and timber production. As per the 2016 census, Deniliquin had an urban population of 6,833.
The Deni Ute Muster has seen a variety of top Aussie artists perform over the years. Here are some of them:
2023: Amber Lawrence, Anagram Riot, Brittany Elise, Brittany Maggs, Duncan Toombs, Gretta Ziller, and The Groovy Dudes.
2022: Brad Paisley, Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, The Angels, Busby Marou, Ian Moss, Troy Cassar-Daley, Shannon Noll, Sara Storer, Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham, Shane Nicholson, Round Mountain Girls, Hurricane Fall, and Darlinghurst
2019: Tim McGraw, Lee Kernaghan, John Williamson, Beccy Cole, Ross Wilson, Travis Collins, Adam Harvey, Sunny Cowgirls, Ben Ransom, Aleyce Simmonds, Round Mountain Girls, and Mustered Courage.
In a small country town during the late 1990s, a severe drought was wreaking havoc, severely impacting the town’s primary source of income. This crisis necessitated urgent action. In March 1999, a group of community-driven individuals gathered to initiate a rural-themed festival. Their objective was to draw visitors to Deniliquin, a charming and lively town situated on the brink of the outback.
Given Deniliquin’s deep agricultural and farming heritage, coupled with the stunning Riverina plains in close proximity, the themes of ‘UTE’ and ‘PLAINS’ were selected for a festival that would appeal to all age groups. The Deni Play on the Plains Festival, conceptualized in October 1999, was set to take place on some of the most expansive, natural, and flat plains globally. With ‘Ute culture’ being an integral part of Deniliquin’s identity, it naturally became a significant aspect of the festival, leading to the creation of the Deni Ute Muster, which rapidly gained national recognition.
Following the inaugural event, Deniliquin proudly declared itself the ‘Ute Capital of the World.’ To commemorate the festival’s triumph, a Ute was mounted on a pole, and the following year, a beautifully mosaicked vintage ute was displayed. These attractions, including the renowned Deni Ute Muster Entrance gates, have become essential stops for tourists fond of taking selfies. Today, the event draws approximately 20,000 attendees annually, celebrating the quintessentially Australian spirit and the Ute as an icon. The festival enjoys tremendous community support, with over 1,000 volunteers contributing each year. After each festival, nearly $100,000 is donated back to local community groups. THE
Nowadays, the festival brings close to 20,000 people to Deniliquin, uniting them in a celebration of all things distinctly Australian and the iconic Ute. This festival offers a unique mix of activities for its attendees, including free camping on the world’s flattest plains, all included in the single ticket price. The event features two night-time concerts with some of Australia’s finest country and rock musicians, a day stage, and a weekend brimming with entertainment suitable for all ages.