Birdsville Big Red Bash Celebrates 30 Years of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

Birdsville Big Red Bash Celebrates 30 Years of Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Image: Photo: Birdsville Big Red Bash / Instagram

Queensland’s Birdsville Big Red Bash has given a fitting tribute to The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on the eve of the iconic film’s 30th Birthday.

The world’s most remote music festival, set 1500km west of Brisbane at Birdsville in the Simpson Desert, has raised over $73,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) – and counting.

Adventure-loving drag queens and kings

Adventure-loving drag kings and queens gathered on the peak of the 40-metre high Big Red Sand Dune – the largest of its kind in the world – for the annual Bashville Drags Race and Fashions in the Desert.

The charity fun run is a staple of the festival, involving a 1km sprint from the top of the dune and around the campsite.

Competition was steep to name this year’s ‘Queen of the Desert’, with runners transforming into everything from cheerleaders to Baywatch lifeguards, golden frill-neck lizards, and a gaggle of Dame Ednas.


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With each runner contributing a $35 donation to enter, the event raised $14,385 for the RFDS.

In addition, $59,000 was raised from merchandise sales, donations, and entries to July 4’s Nutbush World Record Attempt, bringing the total amount raised throughout the multi-day event to over $73,000.

Big Red Bash shows the generous Aussie spirit

Steve Donovan, Operations Manager for the promoters Outback Music Festival Group, enthused, “It’s awesome to witness the tradition of the Bashville Drags Race, a nod to the foot race through the desert started by my dad, Greg Donovan, back in 2013.

“I love seeing the time and effort people from across the country put into their costumes, year after year.

“That generous Aussie spirit is what makes the Big Red Bash truly special.

“The RFDS provides a vital lifeline for those living, working, and travelling in rural and remote towns – just like Birdsville, and we’re proud to contribute to their mission and to celebrate the spirit of the outback in such a meaningful way.”

Support from Australian music legends 

The all-age crowd of 8000 music lovers – and their canine companions – revelled to rock, blues and country performances. 

Performers include Tina Arena, Vanessa Amorosi, Chocolate Starfish, Ash Grunwald, Fanny Lumsden, The Rolling Stones Revue (starring Phil Jamieson, Tex Perkins and Tim Rogers), Jon Stevens, Shane Howard, Colin Hay, Mi-Sex, Baby Animals, Richard Clapton, Steve Balbi, Mark Seymour, Tim Finn, Ian Moss, Diesel, and Bjorn Again, among others.

The outback town is usually home to a population of around 150 people.

“Fundraising is vital to allow us to help deliver critical healthcare services to those who live, work and travel in the outback,” said RFDS Community Fundraising Coordinator Cortney Ginivan. 

“The money raised from the Birdsville Big Red Bash will help us continue to provide life-saving care for those in remote, rural, and regional areas, like Birdsville, who rely so heavily on the Flying Doctor.”

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