News

Elmore Field Days and Deni Ute Muster cancelled due to COVID-19

By Rodney Woods

The Elmore Field Days and Deni Ute Muster have been cancelled, adding to the long list of events affected by COVID-19.

The field days committee made the announcement on July 7, while Deni Play on the Plains Festival Inc was forced to pull the pin on the famed event on July 9 — for the first time in its 22-year history.

It was the first time the Elmore Field Days has been cancelled since the event began in 1964, although the final day of the 1975 event was cancelled due to floods.

“Whilst it is disappointing we can't run this year, there are two major risks we can't take as a community,” committee president Derek Shotton said.

“One is the ramifications it would have on the community if the field days goes broke if we committed to run — costing a massive amount of money — then were forced to cancel at the last minute.

“The second is that if we ran and it caused an outbreak (of coronavirus) in our community.”

With border closures, health risks and increased reliance on health services, police and other emergency services in the wake of a second surge of COVID-19 cases, it became impossible to hold the Deni Ute Muster this year, according to general manager Vicky Lowry.

‘‘After consultation with government and health officials, and due to the current outbreaks and changes rapidly occurring, it has become impossible to foresee what will be happening in the coming months,” she said.

‘‘There were no guarantees that we would be able to put the health and safety of all involved as our main priority.”

Muster chairman Russell Tait said the cancellation of the event would also be a financial blow, but said the muster was slightly insulated after some successful events in the past few years.

‘‘This will of course come at a huge cost for us. This cancellation basically takes us back to ground zero.’’

Tickets purchased for this year's Deni Ute Muster and reserved camping tickets will automatically be valid for next year's event on October 1 and 2, or ticket holders can request a refund from Oztix until September 30 if they're unable to attend the 2021 event.

Mrs Lowry said muster fans would still have something to look forward to this year, with the Deni Ute Muster museum and Muster HQ development still on track to be completed in September.

It is being built at the Deni Ute Muster site, to make a one-stop tourism and educational attraction.

‘‘We’ll have an opening of some sort, depending on what restrictions allow,’’ Mrs Lowry said.

Both the Elmore Field Days and the Deni Ute Muster will return in October 2021.