BIRDSVILLE’S ICONIC EVENTS
The iconic Birdsville Races have arguably put Birdsville on the tourist map.
Part of the annual Simpson Desert Racing Carnival also incorporating the Bedourie Races and Rodeo and The Betoota Races, The Birdsville Races now take place each September (this year it’s 6-7 September) and offers a rich purse of $200,000.
Begun in 1882, a princely sum of 200 pounds was offered to the winner among the 150 owners, managers and stockmen who had gathered.
The event is now run by the Birdsville Race Club and attracts more than 6000 attendees. You can just imagine how the camping areas swell during this time… The current track, which was established in the 1930s about 3km southwest of town, is 2000m in circumference and sits on a claypan amidst surrounding sand dunes. It’s about as ‘outback’ as you can get. The longest race is the 1600m Birdsville Cup.
Big Red Bash
What began as an intimate music festival on part of the Adria Downs Station property for 300 people in 2013 has now swelled to an annual pilgrimage for 9000 music lovers each year.
Billed as Australia’s most remote music festival set against the backdrop of the 30m-high Big Red Dune, it’s a three-day, three-night bucket list camping and music adventure — and you can even bring the dog along with you, too.
This year’s festival (16-18 July) will feature Midnight Oil along with ARIA award-winners The Living End, Richard Clapton, 1927, Kasey Chambers and Wendy Matthews, as well as Neil Murray and Brisbane duo Busby Marou.
There’s also plenty of other fun stuff to do too, such as outdoor film screenings, the Australian Outback Air Guitar Championships, dune surfing, Fashions in the Desert (a wicked take on ‘fashions on the field’) and the charity RFDS Bashville Drags, where festival-goers race a 500m dirt course wearing colourful drag outfits. Both fashion events raise welcome funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.