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Winter Road Trip – Queensland Music Trails

By Mitch Fresta

The rise of the time-honoured road trip might have been popularized by Jack Keroac in America, but if this Australian event has anything to say about it, it will be shaped and perfected in Queensland.

This winter, the very first Queensland Music Trail aims on banishing the idea of flying to Hawaii or Fiji from your mind. With planes around the world grounded for the foreseeable future, it’s all about getting Australians out of the Big Smoke, and into that great big beautiful backyard that we call the Queensland outback.

Kicking off in June and July this year with ‘The Outback Trail’ the Queensland Music Trail is a road trip through the Western Downs, into the heart of the Australian outback and towards the Queensland red desert, jam packed with weird and wonderful events along the way.

From discovering bands at the most regional music festival on earth, to experiencing music under the stars with a glass of bubbles, taking a bath in the middle of the outback and mingling with the locals in some far western regional bar.

Whether you’re scoffing down a chico roll at a country bakery or hoeing into a fresh Yatala pie; crackin’ a tinny at a pub in woop woop or nodding your head in approval as you gaze out across one of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, you’ve got to ask yourself – is there anything better than an Aussie road trip?

Probably not – but just in case, The Outback Trail will marry the very best of Queensland’s southern outback, across small towns and big cities with one-off events and ripper live music; they’re totally reimagining the Aussie road trip, turning the festival format on its head and putting on a bunch of unique events in some damn fine locations to ensure that you never look at another trip as fondly as the one in your own backyard!

The best bit – it’s kicking off in June this year!

June 25 – 27
OPERA at JIMBOUR – Jimbour, QLD
The Outback Trail officially gets going on Friday 25 June, when an evolved version of the iconic ‘Opera at Jimbour’ event welcomes travellers to the famed estate for a series of intimate live music performances inside a heritage listed mansion. It’s two and half days of wine, cheese and world-class tunes taking place within one of the most prestigious locations in the state.

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

June 29 – 30
Music For Stargazing – Charleville, QLD

From Tuesday 29 until Wednesday 30 June the small town of Charleville, once the secret home of more than 3000 US troops during the war, will come to life as pop icon Kate-Miller Heidke and acclaimed Kalkadunga artist William Barton deliver ‘Music For Stargazing’, a concert inspired by astrological arrangements, aboriginal navigation and traditional stories of Charleville.

The bespoke chamber concert – produced exclusively for the Queensland Music Trails – will feature the world-premiere of the new commission by William Barton, with performances from Kate Miller Heidke, Veronique Serret, Jessica Hitchcock, Keir Nuttall, Samuel Pankhurst and widely recognised Dreamtime Opera Diva Delmae Barton.

Inspired by the vast magnitude of the open outback night sky, and the traditional stories of the Bidjara people, this bespoke chamber music concert explores humankind’s long-held fascination with the cosmos.

The night sky along the Warrego Way. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

July 01 – 02
Echoes in the Dust – Quilpie, QLD
Experience mind-bending musical virtuosity and astonishing visual theatre with the breathtaking backdrop of Baldy Top at twilight.

Rising above the plains of South West Queensland, Baldy Top offers one of the most picturesque natural lookouts in the outback. The serenity and solitude of this ancient formation is overwhelming in its magnificence, especially as the sun sets across the plains.

This July, over two evenings, two of Queensland’s most inventive contemporary performance companies – Topology and Dead Puppet Society – will bring this stunning location to life through imaginative visual theatre and enthralling soundscapes.

Topology will perform a mind-bending score, as iconic Australian birds and other creatures congregate, and audiences will get a chance to connect with them in this extraordinary visual, audio and interactive experience. Bring your own camp chair and your favourite refreshments and settle in for what promises to be the most memorable twilight concert experience of the year.

Birdsville. Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

July 03 – 04
Oasis Afternoons – Windorah, QLD
Kick back and relish in some of Queensland’s best blues, roots, and acoustic acts in the heart of Channel Country. After a full and rich journey and over 1,000km of open road, you’ll be ready to kick up your heels by the time you reach Windorah. 

Oasis Afternoons will offer trails travellers the well-needed chance to unwind with the smooth, honeyed sounds of some of Queensland’s leading blues, roots and acoustic artists. 

Grab your camp chairs, relish in the quiet tranquillity of the region and soak up the genre-defying sounds of Karl S. Williams, Emily Wurramara and Hussy Hicks as they perform laidback acoustic sets over two afternoons. 
Oasis Afternoons is the perfect rest stop on your way to the Big Red Bash.

Rangelands Rifts and Sunset Tour

July 06 – 07
The Big Red Bash – Birdsville, QLD
The Big Red Bash returns with its biggest ever Aus Rock line-up. The world’s most remote music festival returns in 2021 with its biggest ever line-up of iconic Aussie acts. Legendary performers Paul Kelly, Ian Moss, Tim Finn, Kate Ceberano, Dragon, Shannon Noll, Wendy Matthews and plenty more will rock the desert this July.

Collectively, the bumper artist line up has won more than 25 ARIA awards and 27 CMAA awards, as well as releasing over 100 albums and countless hit singles. The 2021 event is sold out, but there are limited tickets available through the Big Red Bash resale facility. Head there now and grab yours quick to make sure you don’t miss out.

Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

To find out more about the events and to book tickets visit here.

Want more travel? Click here for What to do in Tasmania’s Huon Valley and here for Five Luxury Villas in Fiji.

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