A country town in the late nineties was struggling with a crippling drought, and the main form of income for the town was drying up with it, so something had to be done… In March 1999, a small group of community minded people came together with the aim to start a rural themed festival to bring visitors to Deniliquin, a beautiful vibrant town on the edge of the outback.
With Deniliquin’s agricultural and farming roots and the magnificent Riverina plains nearby, the UTE and the PLAINS were chosen as themes for a festival for people of all ages. The Deni Play on the Plains Festival was conceived in October 1999, a festival to be held on the flattest, natural, open plains on earth, with “Ute culture” being an intrinsic part of Deniliquin, it was unanimous that it would play a major part of the festival and hence the Deni Ute Muster burst into the national psyche.
Deniliquin lay claim to the title of Ute Capital of the World after that first event, and erected a Ute on the Pole in celebration of the festival’s success, the next year a fabulous vintage ute was stunningly mosaicked. Both of these attractions along with the famous Deni Ute Muster Entrance gates are a must for “selfie” loving tourists.
Today, the event annually attracts approx. 20,000 people of all ages to celebrate all things laconically Australian and the icon of the Ute. The festival has amazing community support; more than 1,000 volunteers mobilise each year to help put on the event and after each event, close to $100,000 is donated back to community groups.
THE FESTIVAL TODAY
Our event attracts almost 20,000 people to Deniliquin to celebrate all things Australian and the icon of the Ute.
The festival has a unique blend of activities for patrons, and free camping on the flattest plains on earth all for the one ticket price! There are 2 night-time concerts featuring Australia’s best country and rock musicians, a day stage and a jam-packed weekend of entertainment for all ages!
OUR ICONIC DIAMOND STICKER
The festival produces an iconic diamond sticker to celebrate each event.
The sticker represents Utes travelling to Deniliquin, a limited number of stickers are printed each year making them collector’s items.
These diamond stickers can only be put on Utes – they must not be stuck to sedans, trailers, vans, or motorhomes! And they are only available to festival patrons when they drive their Ute through the gates.
The sticker changes colour each year. The original yellow stickers can still be seen on vehicles around Australia despite being 23 years old!
OUR FABULOUS SUPPORT
The festival has amazing community support, and more than 1,000 volunteers mobilise each year to help put on the event – helping out with everything from wrist-banding and merchandise selling to litter collection and traffic control.
The festival would not be where it is today without such fantastic support.
The event also generates money for community groups, who are paid for their services at the event, or operate catering sites as their major fundraiser for the year to continue to develop their club facilities.
The festival is a major supporter of Deniliquin’s businesses, and more than $1 million is spent in businesses or employing contractors to put on the event each year.
Over the festival weekend, over $6 million is spent within the region by our fabulous patrons.