AS the most remote music festival in the world, The Birdsville Big Red Bash, is a not-to-be-missed experience in its own right.
And if heading to the bash is something you've had on your bucket list for a while, this year is THE year to do it.
Thanks to the wonders of Mother Nature and recent rains, the annual festival - held on a 40-metre high sand dune in the Simpson Desert - is gearing up to be a once-in-a-generation spectacle this July.
Floods and rainfall are bringing the Simpson Desert and Birdsville Chanel Country to life as desert wildflowers pepper the red sands of the desert and Lake Eyre - Australia's biggest salt lake - transforms into a nursery for tens of thousands of coastal pelicans who migrate inland to breed.
Big Red Bash founder and organiser Greg Donovan said as well as the festival itself, the journey to the event is incredible.
"And with the recent floods and rainfall in the surrounding Channel Country this year, even more so," he said.
"Regardless of the direction our patrons come from to the Big Red Bash they're in for an extraordinary year. Outback Queensland always offers spectacular scenery, however the recent rains will deliver some incredible phenomena that are certainly once in a generation, if not once in a lifetime, experiences."
He said the wildflowers will appear over the coming months, "which will be the perfect timing to take in on the trip to the Big Red Bash".
He said typically you can expect to see needle bush with creamy flowers, 'wattle of the desert' Acacia victoriae with a show of pale yellow flowers, the Sandhill spider flower or rattle pod grevillea and the parrot bush banskia with yellow and green beak-like flowers. There will also be carpets of daisies, the purple parakeelya succulent native herb, billy buttons and bluebells.
And from flora to fauna, the salt beds of Lake Eyre in South Australia, are being transformed into a pelican nursery with thousands of the huge birds - usually seen on coastal waterways - winging their way to the desert oasis.
"The Lake Eyre basin filling is a rare occurance that will usually only happen four times in 100 years," said Mr Donovan.
He said it is expected the lake will be at or near capacity by the time of the festival as waters flow in from the surrounding Channel Country and the Diamantina, Georgina and Cooper Creeks.
"The Lake Eyre Yacht Club, who don't often get to put their boats in the water, will be sailing in July and best of all, thousands of pelicans will be roosting which will be a sight to behold for any of our travellers who take in the Lake on the way to the event."
As to how the pelicans know when there is water in Lake Eyre, Mr Donovan said years of research has been done into this mysterious mass bird migration.
"Theories include them having some kind of bush telegraph system passing information about good feeding grounds, to them having magnetic compasses in their brains and the ability to hear sonic vibrations of waves lapping at the shores and masses of water travelling to the lake," he said
"I think it adds to the mystery and beauty of what happens in this very special corner of the world."
The 2019 Big Red Bash, July 16-18, will feature rock legends Midnight Oil as well as The Living End, Richard Clapton, 1927, Kasey Chambers, Wendy Matthews, Neil Murray, Busby Marou and more.
There will also be comedy, outdoor film screenings, scenic helicopter flights, dune surfing, beach volleyball and camel rides.
The event also plays host to the Australian Outback Air Guitar Championships, Fashions in the Desert and Bushville Drag which sees festival-goers race a 500-metre dirt course donned in colourful drag outfits.
The Big Red Bash is on the Big Red sand dune, 35 km west of Birdsville, Queensland. For tickets go to www.bigredbash.com.au
NOTE: Anyone travelling to the Big Red Bash can take a detour to Lake Eyre. While the local rain means there will be amazing conditions on the way to and around the Big Red Bash site organisers to not expect this to affect access. Click HERE for suggested routes.
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