ByUnsealed 4X4September 5, 2016

We came, we saw, we celebrated…


The 2016 Big Red Bash has been run and well and truly done and Unsealed 4X4 was there with bells on, soaking up the atmosphere and entertainment and enjoying the company of the 7,000 people who descended on Outback Queensland to spend a few days at a music festival like no other.


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If you haven’t heard of the Big Red Bash yet, don’t worry. It’s only been around for a few years, but it’s already one of the must-get-to celebrations on the calendar of plenty of off-road touring types. It all started a few years back when Greg Donovan decided he wanted to raise money for Type 1 Diabetes Research after his son was diagnosed with the disease.


After conquering the Simpson Desert as part of the Big Red Run (a six-day ultra-marathon across the desert), he thought about hosting a bit of a concert at the base of the largest sand dune in the Simmo – Big Red – so he put the word out and no fewer than 200 people rocked up and enjoyed the few days of entertainment in arguably one of the most iconic off-road destinations in the country.


It must’ve been a pretty good time too, because fast-forward to last year and the attendance numbers had multiplied by 10… with over 2,000 adventurers making the pilgrimage out to the desert.

Acts such as Diesel, The McClymonts, Jon Stevens and Jimmy Barnes all performed at the base of the dune; and it was regarded by all as a hell of a good time.


Word of mouth continued to spread the good news, and this year the attendance numbers had once again increased by orders of magnitude. No less than 6,000 were slated to show up a couple of weeks out from the event – but by the time the kick-off day swung around that number had blown out to an amazing 7,000. For an event held a couple of thousand kays from the nearest major city – that’s pretty impressive!


It wasn’t without its hiccups, though. The rains had been falling thick and fast in the weeks leading up to the Big Red Bash and there was a real danger that the attendees would be watching the music while sitting in a lake. Thinking on their feet, Greg and his team moved the event back to Birdsville’s town oval… which may have lost the iconic backdrop, but it didn’t detract at all from the fun. Buses were organised to ferry people from the campsites (just out of town) to the stage; and exhibitor stalls were set up around the oval, adding to the festival atmosphere. Over the following three days there was a cavalcade of musical acts to keep everyone entertained, and Birdsville itself turned the rural hospitality gauge up to 11 with the pub, roadhouse and bakery all packed to the rafters at all hours.


As for the music… well, imagine sitting in your camp chair surrounded by a like-minded bunch of people with the likes of Glen Shorrock, Christine Anu, The Angels, Troy Cassar-Daly, Paul Kelly (who actually drove out to Birdsville with his family – what a legend!) and Jimmy Barnes pumping out the tunes. Yep, it was a hell of a good time.


And let me tell you about the people who attended. All States, vehicles, camping setups and walks of life were represented and it was great to see so many folks who love the remote-travel lifestyle. I spent a good couple of days walking around the campsites and saying g’day to grey nomads, young families, touring couples and mates out on an adventure – not one of them wasn’t extremely friendly and all were having a great time. This is what it’s all about.


And to top it off it’s all for a great cause, too! Over the past three years Greg and his team have raised more than a staggering $800,000 for Type 1 Diabetes Research. And if the current audience growth continues, then expect that number to climb significantly by next year.


When asked how he thought this year’s event went, Greg replied: “It was so amazing to see everyone get on board with the changes to the event and create an electric atmosphere in the town itself. Now that the event is done and dusted, the crew can knock off and enjoy a well-earned beer at the Birdsville Pub.”

“We can’t wait to see everyone back in Birdsville for the 2017 Bash and we are looking forward to taking the event back out to Big Red next year. Put 4-6 July in your diaries and stay tuned for more details.”


If you’re interested in being a part of one of the most remote music festivals in the world and want to have a blast at the Big Red Bash 2017, jump onto the website for more info:




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