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Bowie tribute festival Let's Dance Carina will lift spirits in drought

GET YOUR GROOVE ON: Carinda has a population of 30, but at least 400 are expected for the Bowie tribute festival. Photo: LET'S DANCE CARINDA
GET YOUR GROOVE ON: Carinda has a population of 30, but at least 400 are expected for the Bowie tribute festival. Photo: LET'S DANCE CARINDA

Thirty-six years ago, David Bowie was in search of a pub on a corner with a dirt road. He ended up at the Carinda Hotel.

It was that encounter for his Let's Dance music clip that sparked an idea in the small town.

Bowie fans, and sisters, Maureen and Jude decided to honour the musician with a tribute weekend.

"From that day on it was a lot of planning and trial and error. No one in our little town of 30 people had ever hosted a festival before," Let's Dance Carina committee publicity officer Simone Lehnen said.

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This is the fourth time the Let's Dance festival has been held. Last year there were nearly 400 people in attendance and Ms Lehnen said she's hoping for even more this time.

The even kicks off on Friday, October 4 with a band at the place it all started: Carinda Hotel.

But the biggest day will be on Saturday with stalls, ukulele workshops, mechanical bulls and plenty of family fun. That night will be a big concert with the Thin White Uke's band, as well as Jeff Duff performing with Bowie Unzipped, followed by the Phull Schooner Trio.

On Sunday is the street parade where Ms Lehnen encouraged everyone to "bring their wild outfits and glam".

But the publicity officer said the best part of the weekend was the Saturday night.

"The atmosphere is electric and contagious. People dress up, everybody's bonding while singing and dancing the night away under the stars in the heart of the outback. It's really nice to see people of all ages having a fantastic time," Ms Lehnen said.

She said getting the Bowie tribute festival up this year had been a "battle" but it was a must-have for the town.

"There's no water in the tanks, no water in the rivers and no rain coming, which means no feed for cattle, no crops can be put in which means no money coming in to buy feed for whatever cattle they may be able to potentially feed in hope some relief comes along," Ms Lehnen said.

"At a charity event we recently had a farmer's wife come out and put her cow hide purse on the table and said 'well this is the only cow I have left'. Although said in a joking manner the reality is really sad.

"This is why this festival so crucial for our tiny town to help bring a fun positive and hopeful atmosphere to our community."

The day will also give the locals something to forget their worries for a little while, she said.

More information on the festival is available on the Let's Dance Carinda Facebook page. Tickets and glamping tents can be purchased online through the trybooking website.