STILL THE DON’T-MISS EVENT OF THE OUTBACK CALENDAR.
It was a matter of time until the annual desert migration had its own focal point.
And for years now, the Big Red Bash has been just that. A meeting point at the ultimate end of the road.
There are myriad reasons the deep interior filters all its travelers toward the Simpson Desert, to a three-day Birdsville music festival under the shade of Australia’s most famous 40m dune, Big Red.
On the edge of the earth, and exactly where you need to be. There is nothing like it on earth, a natural, red dirt stadium. This is how Australians celebrate in Big Sky Country; an epic mash of people, dirt and music.
It’s raw and elemental, right in the middle of the winter school holidays, because, hey, you prob don’t want to be frying here in the middle of the summer holidays.
It’s the Big Red Bash, where every winter the country’s finest troubadours like Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour and Barnsey arrive through the dust haze with guitars in hand, ready to honour the location with their best performances.
As a result, thousands of tourers and their families are magnetised like desert moths to the blazing red flame of ‘Bashville’. Bashville being the now-famous organic cattle station, where camping comes complimentary with your ticket.
Australia may not be the first to have a music festival in the desert, but the Big Red Bash certainly doesn’t have the look-at-me wank factor of America’s Burning Man festival.
In Bashville, rigs, tents and trailers are lined up like a roman garrison, with soldiers coming out each evening to the call of the guitar, filing out of canvas cocoons in their best denim, and string ties.
It’s a genuine sense of community where everyone from wondering Grey Nomads to German backpackers are bonded by having made it to the world’s most remote music festival.
There are moments of absolute magic here, especially around dusk, when the sun finally relents and collapses into the horizon, but not before throwing its last rays through the pink dust haze as sound reverberates off the flanks of the Simpson’s biggest sand dune.
At the risk of sounding soppy, be sure to hug your nearest and dearest during these afternoon bliss-bombs because this is one of life’s peak experiences.
It might be 1000 miles from the nearest city but it’s not 100 miles away from Europeans converging on a single focal point to celebrate the winter solstice. And the fact it’s winter is a big part of its appeal.
There’s a slew of sideshow events on too, it’s kid friendly, all ages, hell, you can even bring your dog. Because that’s the Aussie way, and this is our Australia issue and we want to shout about this particular fact.
Tickets for the Big Red Bash have sold out for 2020, so make sure you get in on the ground floor for next year’s shindig.