Simply Bushed organised the biggest bush dance in the world during the Tamworth Country Music Festival

The Guinness World Records homepage features the man who has the largest collection of spreadsheets in the world; a tower made of more than 18,000 cupcakes; and an electric car that set an altitude record after climbing 5,000 metres to reach a glacier.

Soon, the world records directory will have a new entry, according to Ebenezer’s Chris Rieger who helped set-up a new record attempt along with his five-piece bush band Simply Bushed.

“We set the record for the biggest bush dance in the world - it was terrific! We danced to the Heel and Toe Polka,” Mr Rieger said.

It was while the band was up at the Tamworth Country Music Festival that they attempted breaking the record - or rather, setting the record, because there hadn’t been one before it.  

“The record had never been set, so we contacted Guinness World Records and they got back to us with what we needed to do,” Mr Rieger explained.

The entry guidelines were “exceptionally strict”, he said, and all of them were adhered to on the day. The band, along with a slew of festival-goers, set the record at Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park on Wednesday, January 23 at 12pm.

“We needed to get a minimum of 500 people to set a record, and all these people needed to register. We had to divide the dancers up in to circles and we had have a certain number of stewards per person to tally up who was in their sections,” Mr Rieger said.

“The official area had to have a certain number of entrances and exits, and we had to have independent judges.”

Though the band are currently waiting on the official paperwork from the world records organisation, Mr Rieger said they expected to hear from them “pretty soon” with confirmation in the form of a Guinness World Records certificate.

Attempting to set and break world records like this is a common endeavour during the Tamworth festival, according to Mr Rieger.

The crew had the support of the Tamworth Regional Council and invited punters to get involved.

“Everyone had to be doing the same dance, doing the same steps at the same time, persistently for five minutes,” Mr Rieger said. “It was a lot of work but a great day.”

A great day, that is, until they tallied-up the stewards’ headcounts and the number fell short of the required 500 bodies by a measly 19 heads.

“It was just as the dance had finished. We had taken drone footage of the whole process and everything. It was heartbreaking!” Mr Rieger said.

“But we went back through the paperwork and realised it had been a miscount, we actually had 521 people!”

While there had been attempts over the years to break the world’s largest line dance record at Tamworth, Simply Bushed wanted to do something iconically Australian.

“The old bush dance is so much a part of our culture from the beginning, and we love bringing people together which is part of the reason we wanted to do it,” Mr Rieger said.

“We want to keep that part of our culture alive. In 100 years’ time it would be great if people still did the old bush dances and put their iPhones down and their computers away and socialised. We look forward to the opportunity to break the record again - or be challenged on it!”

Mr Rieger along with fellow songwriters Paul Grierson and Matt Scullion were named winners of the Tamworth Songwriters' Association Awards’ Country Rock Song Award 2019 for the Simply Bushed song White Side Of The Fence.

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