Big Red Bash 2021 – Day 3

This was the day that the world record for the number of people dancing the Nutbush & the Twist took place. The world record for the Nutbush was set at The Bash a couple of years ago where they had 2,330 people dance the Nutbush for five minutes. This year was the first time the Bash was attempting to break the record for the most number of people doing The Twist.

Most of our group participated proudly wearing our Makin’ Memories shirts. I thought we looked great. As we approached The Plaza we could see lots of people had made the effort to get dressed up. There was a cute group of Wally’s and a huge group of Riding Dinosaurs. Lots of groups had their own group shirts. The lady rocker from the group with the pink Hawaiian shirts had her group ready to Nutbush.

We all had to line up at the concert area gates and then we were allowed in and had to find the line number we’d been allocated to. Our group was in row 19. We were counted as we entered the concert area. Officials also went up and down the rows doing another count. It all has to be spit spot to become a world record.

We had a short 1 minute practice and then it was on. Not sure how many but I’m guessing about 2,500 people danced the Nutbush for the next five minutes. Oh the dust! Glad Mandie gave me a face mask. Many people were wearing bandanas. We did it! I think the record was broken but we would find out later in the day during the concert.

Next it was time to try for the Twist record. Quite a few people left the concert area. It had been very hot work doing the Nutbush for five minutes and some people had enough of the dust. All our group stayed and we twisted for five minutes in the hot sun and dust. Let’s hope we broke that record too!

The concert area opened at 12.15pm and we were all settled in with our group by 12.30pm.

Caitlyn Shadbolt opened this day’s concert. She is a young singer songwriter who rocked the arena with her catchy songs.

Following Catilyn the MC introduced the Big Red Bash Band who had been cobbled together a week ago. The original band were stuck in Covid lockdown areas so it was a rush to find suitable replacements. They arrived in Birdsville a week ago and rehearsed in the Birdsville Hall. They had to learn over 60 songs in that week. The drummer, Pete Drummond is from Dragon & Thirsty Merc, the bass player was Ian Perez, the keyboard player hails from Tasmania, the guitarist is Pete Robinson. Considering these guys hadn’t played together until last week they made an amazing band.

Wendy Matthews was up next, another Aussie singing legend. I was disappointed with her performance though. Her voice is not what it once was.

The Crackup Sisters came on in the break and introduced two people from the Australian Book of Records to announce that we’d broken the record for the number of people dancing the Nutbush with a total of 2,878. We didn’t break the world record for the Twist though but we did break the Australian record with 2,799 people twisting in the dirt.

It was fun and, along with the Drag Race, helped to raise over $70,000 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Fantastic effort.

The Aussie band Thirsty Merc were up next and man, can their lead singer play the keyboard. He’s awesome. Caitlyn Shadbolt joined the band as a backup singer. Her fiancé, Matt Smith, is their lead guitarist.

It was hot in the sun. Not a cloud was in the sky. There was a slight breeze though that blew the fine dust around. My body felt like it was desicating, drying out and every surface was covered in the powdery dust. I sat in my chair and baked the afternoon away.

At this point I still found it amazing to be there in the Simpson Desert miles from anywhere and that all these people have traveled from far and wide to attend the most remote music festival in the world.

It’s fun sitting in the concert area and watching the antics of the kids sand surfing down Big Red behind the main stage. Big Red towers above the stage. Every now and then the drone camera shows an aerial shot of the concert area on the big screens and it’s really amazing to see. Even though there’s a lot of people it doesn’t feel crowded. People have complied with the Covid rules and spaced themselves apart. Only 500 people at a time are allowed into the ‘mosh pit’ and there are marshalls on the gate to ensure the number isn’t exceeded.

The Crackup Sisters ran another of their silly competitions during the break. This one was a relay event with four teams of three competing. It was all a bit of chaos but fun to watch. The Crackup Sisters are certainly entertaining.

Darryl Braithwaite was up next and of course he had to finish his 40 mintue set with a rendition of ‘The Horses’. We all enjoyed his performance.

The Crackup Sisters then held a dog parade and gave out prizes for things like the ‘best dressed dog’, ‘the best dog trick’ and others. The Big Red Bash is one of the few music festivals in the world where you can bring your dog along. There is a separate camp area for those that bring their moggie along and a even a separate area within the concert area. Of course dogs must be on a lead at all times. We saw a great variety of pooches over the few days.

Simon Story from The Storey Players gave a short talk explaining how they take drama workshops to outback communities. During The Bash between 60 and 70 kids participated in the free workshops. We were shown a short film showcasing what some of the kids did at the workshops during The Bash.

Another rock legend Ian Moss was up next and I was a bit underwhelmed by his performance. He played without a band, just him and his guitar and I felt his voice was just not great on the day. His performance took us into sunset

The Crackup sisters were back in the break with one of their hula hoop routines. They are very funny and they can really swing those hoops.

Aussie icon John Williamson was up next. John has played at The Bash previously. In fact he was the first. The first one was in 2013 and held on the top of Big Red and John played to about 600 people. All supporters or runners in The Big Red Run, a desert run of 250km that was organised by Greg Donovan to raise money for research into Type 1 Diabetes. Greg’s son Stephen has Type 1 Diabetes and was the inspiration behind the run. Greg and Stephen did the 250km run together and went on to arrange The Big Red Run for a number of years. Now the whole Donovan family is employed full time organising and arranging The Big Red Bash and now The Mundi Mundi Bash.

John’s performance was brilliant. Most people would know his songs and lots of people were singing along. His music is so Australian and the atmosphere during his performance was such a happy one.

The Crackup Sisters came out in the last break to entertain us for the last time. They invited everyone to come along to their inaugural Bush Dance being held in their backyard at their house in Winton. The Bush Dance is being held to raise money to finish their house which will be a museum to outback entertainment when it is completed.

The final act of The Big Red Bash for 2021 was the Abba tribute band, Bjorn Again. They were fantastic. Not very many people were still in their chairs by the end of their performance. People were up dancing in the dust. What a great finish to the three days of great music.


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