The Big Red Bash is a two day music festival that takes place in the iconic Simpson Desert, with some legendary Australian musicians. Punters come from all corners of Australia and converge on the small town of Birdsville. These four wheeled enthusiasts arrive ready in camper trailers and off road caravans for the full experience of camping alongside the largest sand dune in the Simpson, yep you guessed it Big Red.
This amazing event is all in the name of charity and is put together by the Born to Run foundation.
The Born to Run Foundation was established in February 2012, with the aim of raising funds with its sister foundation JDRF (who run “walk for a cure”) which will assist researchers to identify the best and most promising projects to find cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
A major sponsor for the event was Track Trailer a Melbourne based family business specialising in high quality off-road camper trailer and caravans. Not only did Track contribute to the event with direct sponsorship, it also encouraged its customers to join in by holding its largest ever Track Trailer Owner’s Gathering. The other major sponsor was the QLD Government.
This national owners gathering brought Track Trailer owners together from every state to participate in this special experience. 36 Tvans and 6 Topaz caravans meant that Track Trailer and its owners directly contributed over $16,500 to the cause!
While the show it’s self only took place over the weekend 9-10th of July the average punter started their journey roughly 3-5 days prior.
There are three common ways that people get to Birdsville.
The first is coming up from South Australia, along the Birdsville HWY. Arguably this is the easiest and most direct route. The HWY stretches from Hawker through Marie direct to Birdsville on what is mostly dual lane gravel with short breaks of black top to help settle the nerves. Typically people tackle this trip at an average of 80- 100kms/hr which hardly makes a dint in the long haul. Every so often a cattle grid or wash out greets you unexpectedly so it’s advisable to keep fresh and stop regularly.
The second is via the Birdsville Development road, which is convenient for people travelling from NSW or QLD and is pretty easy in the scheme of things. Just plan your fuel stops!
The third is arguably the best way! Driving from Mt Dare across the Simpson Desert to Birdsville, which is suitable for people leaving Alice Springs and seeking adventure. This route obviously has the highest risk but the most diversity. It’s worth reading a few guide books about it prior to departure to help you plan sections, food, water and fuel.
The Simpson Desert crossing has become more regularly traversed nowadays due to better vehicles and more informed travellers. However, camper trailers are starting to get a bad name and there is some talk of banning them all together, but why?
From conversations with those who oppose towing on the Simpson we have gathered that they believe that people who tow campers are damaging the track. But how? The general consensus is that too much speed at the base of a dune develops ruts and makes it more difficult to traverse. Because towing vehicles are carrying more weight it makes sense that they would require a longer run up. However this isn’t the case. If you are prepared and you are running low tyre pressures in the car and van you should be able to get over the dune without spoiling it for others. It’s just a matter of understanding and respecting the environment.
On a side note: Manners on these roads are key! Without trying to preach too much the basics are: If you see a car ranging up on you quickly in the rear view mirror, slow and let them pass. If you’re the car catching up, show some curtesy to the other driver by not showering them in stones and dust as you go past. This is especially important if the car on the side of the road is changing a tyre, a wide birth at 30kmh on the Birdsville Track is good practice. In all likelihood you’ll see each other at the next fuel, water, site or camp stop, so some goodwill never goes astray.
Bump in at Big Red: 8/7/14
Big Red campsites opened to the public at noon. Track Trailer had its own designated camping area for the gathering. As owners filed in from all directions they began to form a posse with an outer perimeter using the Topaz caravans to block the strong winds. Surveying the sight of the Track Trailer camp you are greeted by a sea of clam shell roofs all pointing the same direction as if they were open to catch the midday sun.
Unfortunately the main performance stage couldn’t be setup on top of the Big Red sand dune due to the strong winds. But this turned out to be a blessing in disguised as it allowed for less walking in the dark from camp / car park to the stage. It also allowed the light show to be cast across the dune to create a real sense of atmosphere.
That evening all the Track Trailer owners gathered in the presentation area where they were presented with ARB gift bags filled with goodies thanks to Track Trailer suppliers. Dinner followed with a large spread of pots from all the owners and was adeptly named “pot luck dinner”.
Following the amazingly diverse spread of food Track Trailer ran a raffle! This raffle was packed full of goodies from Track Trailer suppliers. Pro-quip supplied Jerry cans, Narva supplied jackets, Dometic supplied eski’s and BBQ tool sets, Bartlett Canvas gave away some of the latest Tvan Canvas options and CTA gave away a free 12mth magazine subscription!
Needless to say the feeling of enthusiasm was infectious and the subsequent desert was enjoyed by a vibrant and chatty group.
With the concert not scheduled to begin until late afternoon all the patrons occupied themselves with a variety of activities. Probably the most entertaining of all was watching a mixed bag of 4wd’s queue for a shot at the Big Red title.
Soon enough the sun began to set and the camp sites lit up with LEDS. If you yawned or rubbed your eyes you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a fairy land for a moment until the blurriness cleared.
The stage lit up and the crowd gathered full of enthusiasm and excitement. They weren’t disappointed as the long list of high quality Australian musician’s gave memorable performances over both nights.
These fantastic musicians were (in order of appearance)
Special PresentationKasey Chambers
Super Group! Time Of My Life – featuring James Reyne, Ross Wilson, Daryl Braithwaite & Joe Camilleri
By the time the campsite began to stir the sun was well on its way to 12 O’clock. But as quickly the Track Trailer Owner’s had arrived they departed again. The clam shells engulfed their tents, retracted their floors and one by one they seemly left for the horizon in all directions.
A sense of sadness was left behind in the barren desert, but it was quickly replaced by the excitement of knowing it could all happen again and soon!
For more information on this event check out www.bigredbash.com.au