HORDES of utes started rolling into Deniliquin as early as Sunday for the Deni Play on the Plains Festival starting today.
Festival director John Harvie said vehicles were already lining up to secure the best spots when gates open at 6am.
“It’s just getting earlier and earlier each year,” he said.
“Utes started rolling up on Sunday and they’re camping down on the river — a lot of them just love the region and are making a week of it.”
Organisers want 10,000 vehicles to gather for the world’s largest parade of registered utes and in the process shatter the record of 2839 set at the 1999 muster.
It is also hoped the festival will be written into the history books with the annual blue singlet count.
Organisers are aiming for a record-breaking 5000 blue singlets, compared to the tally of 2700 last year.
Official Guinness World Records representative Chris Sheedy will be on hand to adjudicate both events.
There has already been some disappointment for the muster with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd declining an invitation to take part again this year.
He told organisers he was unable to attend because of other commitments.
Mr Rudd’s friend, car dealer John Grant, will however attend in the 1996 Mazda ute of “Utegate” fame.
Mr Harvie said the take-up of early bird tickets indicates the festival will draw huge crowds again in 2009.
“Ticket sales are very similar to this time last September,” he said.
“We are running on track for a crowd of 25,000, which is what we had last year.”
The festival is a celebration of all things Australian, with two days of entertainment including extreme sports action, competitions and the cream of Australian music.
A concert tonight will focus on top country music artists with Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Harvey, The Sunny Cowgirls, Catherine Britt and Kirsty Lee Akers.
Tomorrow night’s concert will include headliners Powderfinger, along with The Angels, Beccy Cole, Travis Collins and Sinead Burgess.
* Full details of the muster program are available at deniutemuster.com.au or by phoning (03)58 81 3388.
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