The inaugural Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash was launched in early 2021, and tickets sold out in little over a month. The newly created festival was to be held in August 2021, and would have an identity and personality of its own, incorporating the rich mining history of the area, the artistic influence of the local people and the film accomplishments of the surrounding area. A festival the scale of the Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, this festival has been many years in the making. Let’s go right back to the very beginning, to truly understand how the Mundi Mundi Bash ended up coming to fruition…
Historic BROKEN HILL
BROKEN HILL, nestled in the far north west of NSW, is the state’s unofficial outback capital and Australia’s first heritage listed city. A visit to to this remarkable region delivers an authentic and unique Aussie outback adventure. Broken Hill’s rich mining history, cultural activity, heritage architecture and brilliant characters makes it a bucket-list destination for keen travellers. The potential for a multi-day Aussie music festival here was obvious.
Unique Outback Camping and Concert Experience
Back in 2012, festival founder Greg Donovan took on a global desert running challenge, which saw him run 250km across a desert on four of the world’s continents. At the time, no such challenge existed in Australia, so Greg set about creating one himself: Big Red Run, staged in the Simpson Desert, just outside of Birdsville, Queensland. The aim of the run was to raise funds for medical research into Type 1 Diabetes which his youngest son suffers from. Over six years (2013-2018), 450 dedicated individuals completed the event and together raised over $1.1M for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
You’re probably now wondering ‘how did we get from ultra running in the Simpson Desert, to a three day music festival on the Mundi Mundi Plains’..
In 2013, John Williamson was engaged to perform a sunset concert atop Big Red, to entertain race participants and volunteers. The bush telegraph kicked in, and word spread far and wide about this unique performance that was planned, so it was decided to sell a few tickets to the public. A crowd of around 600 gathered for a spectacularly intimate sunset concert in 2013.
In 2014, the line up expanded into two days of Aussie music with onsite camping. The festival was formally named ‘Birdsville Big Red Bash’ and headlined by John Williamson and Kasey Chambers. A crowd of 1200 turned out to the festival, well short of the numbers required to cover costs. Organisers knew the potential for a music festival in such an amazing location was obvious, the challenge was now attracting enough people to make the festival financially sustainable and continue to invest in great Australian talent. 2015 was crunch time, and organisers made the risky decision to increase the financial investment in artists, marketing, staffing and infrastructure and just hoped that the crowds would come. Jimmy Barnes fronted the line up along with Jon Stevens, Diesel, The McClymonts and more. Over 3,000 people attended, had a fantastic time and continued to spread the word far and wide.
The Birdsville Big Red Bash grew every year up until capacity of around 10,000 and a festival sell out was reached in 2018. Revellers come from all over the country, the road trip is part of the experience! An incredible roll call of top class Aussie artists have entertained festival goers including Paul Kelly, Midnight Oil, John Farnham, The Angels, Missy Higgins, Ian Moss, Kate Ceberano, The Living End, Lee Kernaghan, Russell Morris, Thirsty Merc and many many more.
The idea to introduce another outback music and camping festival was born around 2017 and organisers began exploring the possibility of holding a festival in NSW. Broken Hill, being the unofficial capital of Outback NSW was the obvious choice, and the vast plains of Mundi Mundi with the Barrier Ranges featuring as the backdrop was the perfect location.
Initial planning and investigations started to take place in 2018, however with the Birdsville Big Red Bash continuing to take much time and resources in organising, plans for a Broken Hill festival ended up on the backburner for a few years.
2020 saw the world turn upside with the pandemic taking off globally in March. Sadly, the Birdsville Big Red Bash was cancelled, along with every other event on the calendar for the foreseeable future. With over 15 months before the next festival, organisers suddenly had a lot more free time on their hands! There was no better time to really knuckle down and set about creating the Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash!
Our existing reputation, credibility and the popularity of the Birdsville Big Red Bash saw the newly instigated Broken Hill Mundi Mundi Bash sell out in near record time in early 2021 when it was launched.
As the 2021 Big Red Bash wrapped up in mid July, it was becoming increasingly obvious that this particular Covid variant was not going away anytime soon. Challenges around border closures continued to mount, so the festival was postponed for six weeks, pushing it into September. As another two weeks passed, Covid continued running rampant across several states, borders remained very firmly closed, and the decision was made to further postpone the festival to April 2022.
Finally April came around, and the inaugural festival was a huge success! Festival goers were entertained for three days straight, dancing and singing along with some of Australia’s most renowned performers. A short 4 months later we staged the ‘original’ 2022 Mundi Mundi Bash in August, and had a cracker time from start to finish.
We’re so incredibly grateful to our artists, crew and contractors, vendors, sponsors, Destination NSW, Broken Hill City Council and local community for their ongoing support, and for helping us make the Mundi Mundi Bash a huge success! And of course we’re especially thankful for our patrons who journeyed from all over the countryside to make the first event such a memorable one. We know it’s not just the destination and the music, it’s the epic outback trek to get there, meeting so many people along the way and enjoying everything the stunning outback has to offer. We can’t wait for you to join us and make more awesome memories, lifelong friendships and hopefully break some more world records as we rock the plains for the third time in 2023!