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2023 Big Red Bash To Feature Monumental World Record Attempt

12 May 2023 | 2:08 pm | Ellie Robinson

The iconic festival’s line up will feature heavyweight names like ICEHOUSE, Hoodoo Gurus, Human Nature and Pete Murray.

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Organisers of the annual Big Red Bash have announced a new event to break the world record for the “the largest human image of a country”.

Dubbed the Big Blue Day, the event will be held on the first day of the Bash – Tuesday July 4 – with the aim being to unite 5,000 punters, who will (hopefully) form a blue map of Australia inside an area mapped out by GPS. The attempt will be adjudicated by The Australian Book of Records, who last year oversaw the Bash’s (successful) shot at breaking to break the record for the world’s biggest Nutbush dance.

This year’s record attempt is being organised in partnership with JDRF, raising funds for Type 1 diabetes research. To take part, festivalgoers will need to dress in blue and buy a $15 wig (all proceeds from which will go directly to JDRF). At the time of writing, the world record for the largest human image of a country is held by Romania, who set the title in 2018. 

The attempt will be soundtracked by John Williamson’s True Blue, which Greg Donovan (festival owner and managing director of the Outback Music Festival Group) said in a statement “will just add to the mood and fun of the activity”. He noted that the Bash aim to raise more than $70,000 for JDRF, continuing: “In 2013 we staged the Big Red Run event in the Simpson Desert Outside of Birdsville to fundraise for JDRF as our son Steve had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2008. 

“To celebrate the runners completing their 250km, six-day marathon we invited John Williamson to do a low-key performance with little more than a packing crate stage, a generator we borrowed from the Birdsville Airport and a speaker on the side of the 40-metre-high Big Red sand dune. Word got out and with no promotion we had hundreds of people come from miles around travel to watch John perform – and the idea for staging a remote music festival in the desert was sparked.

“I guess not surprisingly we’ve found that more people would rather travel to Big Red to watch legendary Australian performers sing than run through the desert and so the Birdsville Big Red Bash has evolved to an iconic event that attracts a sold out crowd and some of the biggest names in Oz rock, blues and country on an annual pilgrimage to the Simpson Desert just outside of Birdsville.”

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Williamson himself will return to the Bash for its 2023 edition, saying in a statement of his own: “It all began on top of the Big Red dune with my solo performance back in July 2013. At that time, none of us dreamt it would become the Big Red Bash, attracting over 10,000 people each July, with a line-up of 20+ Australian artists and taking its place as one of the most iconic music festivals staged in Australia. 

This year, in addition to performing at the 10-year anniversary event, I’m thrilled to be performing one of my most loved songs True Blue as the backing anthem for the Big Blue Day world record attempt, fundraising for Type 1 diabetes. It'll be an amazing sight to have thousands of people from all corners of Australia gathered together on the red sand, dressed in blue in the shape of Australia. I'm really looking forward to being part of it.”

Expounding on the event’s significance was Steve Donovan (operations manager for the Outback Music Festival Group), who pointed out that “there are currently more than 130,000 of us living with Type 1 diabetes in Australia”. He added: “National Diabetes Awareness Week kicks off on July 10, so we’re hoping our JDRF Big Blue Day will raise much-[needed] diabetes research funds and help create awareness.”

Tickets to the 2023 Big Red Bash – and its sister event in Broken Hill, the Mundi Mundi Bash – sold out in February. Already the world’s most remote music festival, this year’s edition will run over July 4-6 in Birdsville, with acts set to perform including ICEHOUSE, Hoodoo Gurus, Human Nature, Pete Murray, The Angels, The Waifs, Kate Ceberano, Troy Cassar-Daley, Ross Wilson and Pierce Brothers. See the full line up here.