A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

Big Red Bash | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

The Birdsville Big Red Bash might be the world’s most remote music festival, but don’t let the distance put you off.

It’s far from desolate, which may come as a surprise considering you’ll find it on the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Since its inauguration, this family (and dog) friendly music festival has grown in size, drawing over 9000-people to this corner of Queensland.

If you’ve ever wanted to rock out in the desert, we have everything you need to know about this music festival with a difference.


How many people go?

Big Red Bash 2019 | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

For a town that normally has 100 people to its name, Birdsville … or the desert just behind Birdsville does a great job of swelling to accommodate the 9000-odd crowd who come each July.


When is it?

Big Red Bash 2019 | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

This three-day music festival, falls within the July school holiday period (7-9 July 2020) – when the days are cooler and families have enough time to make the journey out.


Where is it?

Big Red Bash 2019 | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

The festival takes place on Big Red, the 40m high dune (about the size of a 10 story building) and the first of over 1,000 dunes of the Simpson Desert.


Who should come?

Big Red Bash | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

The real question is who shouldn’t come. The Bash is perfect for families, couples, first time outback travellers, backpackers and grey nomads. It’s also pet-friendly, so no one needs to be left at home.


Who’s playing?

Big Red Bash 2019 | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

This year will see a stellar lineup with Australian music royalty Paul Kelly headlining the Big Red backdrop stage. He’ll be followed by a slate of other artists including Ian Moss, Kate Ceberano, and Thirsty Merc.


Where do I stay?

We hope you like camping, because The Bash is held on an organic cattle station, where camping comes complimentary with your ticket.

Camping in ‘Bashville’ might not have five stars in the traditional sense, but you’ll sleep under a million real ones.

No camping gear? No stress! There’s plenty of other options on offer including Rent-A-Tent to take the set up and set down out of your festival experience.


How to get there?

Big Red Bash 2018 | A first timer's guide to the Big Red Bash

If you’re the kind of person who thinks the journey is all part of the adventure, you’re going to love the road trip to Birdsville.

There’s no shortage of must-sees along the way:

  • From WA – be sure to stop off at Uluru
  • From Hobart – pay a visit to Griffith for an impromptu wine tour
  • From Brisbane – take in the view from Picnic Point Lookout
  • From Darwin – wallow in the thermal hot springs at Douglas Hot Springs
  • From Melbourne – stop off in Willandra National Park
  • From Sydney – stay the night at Bourke to experience Poetry on a Plate


What else is there to do besides The Bash?

Big Red Bash 2019 | A first-timers guide to the Birdsville Big Red Bash

#OutbackQueensland photo by @mrcourtneyatkinson

For a small town on the edge of the desert, Birdsville is anything but boring.

A visit to Birdsville isn’t complete without wrapping your laughing gear around a coldie from The Birdsville Hotel, an institution who’ve been pouring beers since 1884.

Feeling hot? Cool down at some of Birdsville’s favourite watering holes including the Diamantina River and Birdsville Billabong, the perfect place for a spot of kayaking, fishing or bird watching.

It doesn’t stop there; here’s our guide to the top 10 things to do in Birdsville.


Post Sponsored by Birdsville Big Red Bash.

For more information, visit www.bigredbash.com.au

Have you been to the Big Red Bash? What did you think?


Susan Wells

Do people line up the day before and sleep in their caravans in the line to get in?


We are going to the Big Red Bash in 2020 with our dog. Are dogs allowed to be left at campsite alone during the day?

Josh Black

Hi, I have looked at a travel itinerary on the big red bash website, it lists two options of travel from Brisbane to the event.

Option 1 at the end says that travel from Innamincka to Birdsville is approx 6hrs

However when I had a look online google maps says that it will take approx 13.5hrs from Innamincka via Cordillo Downs road to Birdsville?

Is there many if any safe places to stop for the night along Cordillo Downs road?

Could you also offer any information in a better way to go other than back tracking to either Eromanga or Thargomindah?

Cordillo Downs road was the preferred route as we were looking forward to seeing the sights like of the wool shed.

Any information knowledge you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

If there is no other alternative to get Birdsville without back tracking we may have to skip Innamincka and head north from Thargomindah.



Outback Queensland

Hi Josh,

Great to hear you have been checking different itineraries on travelling to the event. Please note that Google Maps often incorrectly calculates travel times in remote locations and on unsealed roads. The information Google provides on the timing for this route is incorrect. Approximately 6 hours is the true timing for the route, depending on your vehicle. You can always check driving times with local visitor information centres before travelling and also where to stay along the way.

Josh Black

Ok great thank you! That is a relief that the last leg of the trip is essentially half the travel time of what I had previously thought.

We will be travelling in a 2012 76 series Landcruiser with a 15’ pop top van.

Do you know where I might be able to find road conditions information for Cordillo downs road? Also is Diesel available in Innamincka?

damien cummins

out of interest what was the cost of the 2019 bash please? Looking at next year to go. Would be early bird roll in by a night & 2 adults 2 kids..


Outback Queensland

G’day Damien, all ticket prices will be released on September 1st along with the 2020 artist line up.


How far is it and how long does it take to drive from the venue back to Birdsville?

Outback Queensland

Hi Drew, it’s about 40 kilometres and takes about a half-hour.

Outback Queensland

G’day! Dates have not been released yet but the event is usually held in the 2nd week of July.

Outback Queensland


Not necessarily, the roads to Birdsville are unsealed however. The main route from Windorah to Birdsville has 300km of unsealed roads, alternative routes have as little as 60kms of unsealed roads.

Joanne Heller

Just asking if you can bring a caravan

Katrina Pritchett

When bringing in your own shower is it required to be inbuilt or is a basic set up in a shower tent collecting the grey water in a bucket/tub acceptable?

Thank you ?

Outback Queensland

Hi Katrina,

You can have either an inbuilt shower in a caravan or set up your own outside capturing the grey water.

Kathleen McGee

Hi and planning to go in 2020 and hire a camper van to get there and camp. Could you tell me if I need a 4×4 to access the camp and music site?Many thanks.


Would love to go but it isn’t in the Qld school holidays, even though it is held in Qld! How do you expect Qld families to make it?

Outback Queensland

G’day Jason,
It is usually held during the Queensland school holidays however to compensate for the artists the event needed to be shifted in 2019.


Does the event book out? We really want to go but unsure at this stage and don’t want to buy tickets and not be able to get there due to work roster commitments? Is there a refund on tickets/ If so within what time frame please?

Gaye Bodey

Further to this query,if we don’t have the refund /booking protection,we don’t get our money back,if for some reason the event is cancelled due weather etc.We have travelled to Birdsville and are aware of the road conditions etc

Paul Davis

Hi we are interested in attending the Big Red Bash Concert in July 2020 (hopefully it will be on again) we will be first timers…..ole timers. Can we bring our caravan? And when will the tickets go on sale for 2020.

Outback Queensland

G’day! Ticket will be on sale for 2020 later this year. Most people take either a caravan, camper trailer or tent to stay in at the event.


Hi as a first timer am curious. I gather you have public toilet blocks around the place walking distance from camps .. do you have showers also?

Outback Queensland

G’day mate,

There are public toilet blocks on site within walking distance to all campsites. Unfortunately, there are no shower facilities, so you have the option of providing your own shower facilities or travelling back into Birdsville to use the public shower blocks for a small donation to a local charity.

Shaun Patterson

Looking foreword to the Bash.
Will we have to go to town for ice or will you guys be selling it at the bash?.
Do you guys have fire pits there or do we bring our own?

Outback Queensland

G’day Mate,

Yes you can buy ice both in town or at the event. Fire pits are not provided, so we recommend bringing your own if you wish. You can also buy extra firewood if needed on site.

Outback Queensland

G’day Wayne,

There are no single day tickets due to the nature and location of the event.

daniel jones

I understand tht you are not allowed to drive up BIG red during the gig.When does this restriction begin.Thanks Lyn

Outback Queensland

G’day Lyn,

This is correct, information about the restriction will be available closer to the event date.

Dave barron

Hi , i hope to be a first timer next year, has there been any form of theft over the years.


Hi, we are looking forward to going and will have our 2 young children with us. On that note, are the camp sites broken into family friendly/pet friendly/ “single loud male” divisions or is it luck of the draw who you’re next to?


Hi, I assume there is no power for caravans on site. Are gen sets allowed for limited time periods. Yes we do have solar panels…


Outback Queensland


Yes there is no power onsite. Generators are permitted.


We desperately would love to go but we are not sure if the trip would be too rugged for our brand new car and caravan. We are not worried about dirt but how rough a drive is it please coming from Sydney via QLD.

Outback Queensland

G’day Katrina,
The road from Windorah to Birdsville is about 100km of sealed followed by another 300km of unsealed roads. Majority of travellers to the event take caravans, motorhomes and camper trailers on this road. You can check with the Birdsville Information Centre for the latest road conditions on 07 4564 2000.


Make sure you have a full width mud flap across the back of you vehicle and some cardboard box taped over the back window. 100mph tape. Protect from rocks bouncing back off the gravel roads. Also, don’t try and overtake the road trains as they are pulling off to the side of the road. Only moving over for one coming the other way. UHF radio, seek permission to overtake up the left or right. Table drains overtaking is permitted. Definitely a different world.


Hi there. We have a road caravan and would love to attend. Is it possible to get there via sealed roads from Sydney?

Outback Queensland

G’day Scott,

While most of our mains roads here in Outback Queensland are fully sealed. To reach Birdville for the event you do need to travel via unsealed roads. If driving west from Windorah, you will encounter approximately 300km of unsealed roads. If travelling from Bedourie, you will encounter approximately 60km of unsealed roads. Check our maps to see all the ways to get to Birdsville.

Michelle Bowlen

Hello ? really looking forward to our first red bash. Just a few questions. Can you bring your own portable shower on ur camp site. And what do u reccomend wearing like its July does it get cold in the desert

Outback Queensland

G’day Michelle,
Yes you can bring your own shower but please be mindful that Bashville is held on an organic cattle property and therefore you’re not permitted to dispose of any grey water on the ground. If you’re unable to store and remove all your grey water, you can make use of the grey water disposal tanks at each toilet block. If doing this, bring a 20L container to carry your grey water to the nearest disposal tank.

The days in July are lovely, but can get warm in the sun. Nights can drop below zero degrees, so we recommend rugging up with your best winter woolies and building a great camp fire.

Leanne Hamlyn

We are thinking of coming for the first time and would like to bring our dogs. How many dogs can we bring as we have 3?

Kate Stevenson

Hi how much money would I be looking at for the big red bash as I would be travelling from Brisbane.have never been before and would really love to enjoy the experience.cheers Kate.what would I need to bring with me.

Kirby Turner

Hi Looking Forward to the 2019 bash tickets being available.
As I`ll be a first timer, just a query is there any water supply/purchase facilities on site? or do you have to bring everything in you need.
If so is there anywhere in Birdsville where water can be provided/purchased?

Outback Queensland

Hi Kirby,

Best to bring water supplies with you to the Big Red Bash. Water can be purchased in town in Birdsville and bottled water can be purchased from some food vendors at the event.

Anne Maree Turnbull

I note you don’t have things to see from Adeliade ????

Pam Luhrman

Hi, we have tickets including our dog, however, we are not bringing the dog now. Will we still be in the tent area with the dogs?

Outback Queensland

G’day Erika, you sure can. Many travellers to the event take their caravans. There’s plenty of ways to get to Birdsville, where you can take your pick of the roads depending on how confident you are with the road conditions.

Pam fraser

Am I able to buy 2 adult tickets to the big red bash? We are first timers and would dearly like to come.
Do you allow camp fires – and if so, do we have to bring our own wood.

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