RAIN couldn't wipe the fun out of the Deniliquin Ute Muster for the more than 18,000 people who braved wind, rain and a water-soaked site at the weekend.
More than 25mm had fallen at Deniliquin by Friday morning and the rain returned in bursts over the two days and nights of the ute-devoted festival.
Sand is now in short supply across the shire after emergency spreading throughout the camping and festival areas was undertaken to combat an increasing mud factor prior to 6998 utes packing into the ute paddock and people streaming through the gates into the event.
"There were more than 18,000 people every day ... we are thrilled," ute muster marketing manager Liz Mecham said yesterday.
"Considering what the weather was like, we're stoked and some did choose to leave Friday night, but look, they were difficult conditions to attend an event in."
More people were waiting at the front gates when the muster was officially opened at 6am on Friday morning than last year, which saw the biggest crowd in the event's history, Mrs Mecham said.
No records were broken at this ute muster however; compared to last year the ute count was down by 3100 and the blue singlet count halved, with 1728 people taking part.
Headline acts Suzi Quatro and Icehouse wowed the crowd on Friday and Saturday nights respectively, and despite negative feedback on the ute muster's Facebook page prior to the event, Guy Sebastian was well-received.