Just back from the Birdsville Big Red Bash and no regrets – well, apart from forgetting to pack the big coat I bought for the Irish winter.
It was chilly down in the desert which was a good reason enough to spend as much time as possible in the mosh pit at the concert – not just to take good close-up photos but also to huddle in the warmth of the closely-packed crowd.
Not to mention warm up by a bit of dancing and it was hard not to get into the swing of things with the infectious rhythms served up by all of the top class performers.
The age profile of those on stage mostly matched the age profile of the audience with 50 plus well represented.
But that did not mean they were slowing down, those old rockers were not yet ready to be confined to their rockers, and they pumped up the volume with energy of those half their ages.
Of course the real star of the Big Red Bash is the Big Red dune itself staring down on the concert venue like a benevolent uncle.
I got myself out of bed before dawn on Thursday and clambered up the dune to watch a sensational sunrise.
I was not alone, hundreds others had the same idea – there was even a bagpiper and a whip cracker who made their own salute to the sunrise.
The cold of the night did not take long to give way to the warmth of the desert day and there were plenty of distractions around while waiting for the music to resume.
I missed the first day’s Bashville Drag Race as 280 Priscilla themed dress up patrons raced across the desert dune.
But I was there on the last day as 1800 people were herded like cats together to do the Nutbush dance to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Between them these two novelty events raised $40,000 for the Flying Doctors while providing plenty of laughs for everyone present.
Between the Big Red Bash and the Birdsville Races, the central Queensland desert has become a must-do stop on many people’s bucket lists. My congratulations to the organisers of both events for recognising the lucrative value of their awesome surroundings – Derek Barry