Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes called this wild desert performance the best festival ever. But was it also the best place to find love? James Weir sums it up.
Jimmy Barnes blew the dust off the Simpson Desert last night as he wrapped up the world’s most remote music festival with a performance in front of 11,000 gamblers – but was it also the best place to find love?
It was a set that was almost as explosive as the event’s secret underground singles scene – resulting in much more than just mixing.
In true rock star style, Barnsey (not the guy who ripped his d**k out, just to be clear) flew a private jet to the red dirt town of Birdsville. And the rock and roll demeanor only intensified as the nearly two-hour set went on, ending in a wild cries for weapons that drew more effusive applause than Khe Sanho† Flame Trees and working class man combined.
“It’s like a goddamn city over there!” Barnsey yelled as he watched the sea of fans crowd the arena, surrounded by more than 4,000 campsites.
“It’s so isolated that we can do anything we want! This is the best festival I’ve ever played! We should be doing our own version of Burning Man, but we can all choose who we want to burn! Just find someone who pisses you off, put them on a cross and burn them!”
It was a joke… maybe. Anyway, the public went crazy. A random poll of 100 gamblers who left the stage in a cloud of dust after Barnsey’s encore resulted in one unanimous answer describing the performance: “F**kin’ awesome!”
But when a rock concert in the desert ends at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday, there’s only one question: where’s the kick-on? There are no pubs. And, more importantly, no access to Tinder.
To meet someone special, one has to resort to desperate measures. Enter Alyssa Walsh — a Bundaberg-born “basher” who taped a sign to a post with a hand-scribbled message: “SINGLES MEET AT 20.30PM.”
A Facebook group she launched in the run also resulted in 224 members raising their hands to participate. It even sparked an early spark for Alyssa with a guy who had sent her a DM.
“When we passed Birdsville on our way to the festival site, there were a lot of lineups in town [for supplies]† I’ve been in the fuel line for three hours,” she said.
“He sent a message and said he was at the bakery. I’m like, “I need a loaf of bread and a camel pie. Then he went to the coffee line and got me a latte. Then I met me in the fuel line.
“We met on Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 PM and we walked up the sand dune – I almost died trying to get to the top, but that’s okay. It was absolutely beautiful. We reached the top and watched the sun set.”
In those seconds just before the sun disappeared and the thousands of miles of red earth turned gray, everything seemed perfect. Until it wasn’t.
“I thought, ‘Wow, for a first date, this is great.’ But when we met later at the bachelorette party, I heard him tell someone he’s never been on a date,” she grimaced, and I said, ‘What the hell was that this afternoon?’ I’m like, “Obviously that was a date! We went to the top of Big Red — what else could it be?” “It wasn’t two friends that just met! It was a moment of moments. But look, if it turns out to be something great, and if it doesn’t, I’m just ready for the next one.”
No relationship is ever perfect. Love comes with highs and lows. It’s about showing patience and respect. That’s why Alyssa was willing to put this early red flag aside. Especially when the man continued to show interest.
“So he stalked my campsite and he walked past my campsite twice. He came in, he met my father, my father gave him a beer. He met my son. He was sitting by my campfire. And then he says, ‘Anyway, I’m going to bed.’”
Alyssa hasn’t seen him since.
The sudden disappearance of a man in Outback Australia would normally raise the alarm, but authorities considered the incident a classic case of commitment phobia. Unfortunately, we lose an average of 57,538 men to commitment phobia every year.
Still, Alyssa is optimistic.
‘I’m looking for The One. I’m not looking for one-night stands – I can get that at any pub I go to,” she shrugged.
That’s why her unofficial singles party at the Big Red Bash is vital. All grassroots businesses experience wobble in their infancy. And a singles mixer in the desert is not immune.
While Tuesday’s inaugural meeting drew about 60 singles between the ages of 25 and 55, one attendee got the wrong idea when he read the hand-scratched sign on the post.
“We had a gentleman from Tamworth who ripped his cock out in front of all the ladies and all the boys and asked us to count the piercings in his cock. There were so many I couldn’t count. But it was a vision I’ll never get out of my head.
“He had to put it back in, but I’m pretty sure he had to tuck it in to get it in.”
It was the real version of receiving an unsolicited d*ck photo on a dating app. But Wednesday attracted a more subdued crowd.
“Better personalities and a lot more girls — more people who want to make real connections,” Alyssa said.
And news.com.au can attest from personal experience that it was a resounding success.