Twenty-six-year-old Russell Booysen had the absolute time of his life when Shannon Noll pulled him on-stage during the Tenterfield Show Society's Lift the Country Spirit concert on Easter Saturday, but now Russell and his family are desperately seeking anyone with photos or video evidence.
Dad Dean said Russell has Down's Syndrome but is high-functioning and has even represented Australia overseas on four occasions swimming in Special Olympics. Still his experience on-stage with one of his idols -- along with the crowd getting on board with his dance moves and Russell on air-guitar rocking along shoulder-to-shoulder with the guitarist doing his solo -- will go down as a clear highlight.
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The family was spending Easter at a Glen Aplin caravan park when they heard of the concert and headed down and had a fantastic night, enjoying all the acts in the lineup and buying the CDs. Dean said many in the crowd would remember him as he was the only one wearing shorts, along with three blankets around his shoulders to keep out the cold.
Noll was the last act of the night and Russell's parents were a bit hesitant when Russell said he wanted to join the mosh pit, but his mum duly followed him in while Dean watched from afar.
"They're both only five foot nothing but I could occasionally see their heads pop up amongst the Akubras," he said.
Dean had no trouble seeing Russell once Noll pulled him on stage to join him in singing his well-known hit Drive, and Russell knew every word.
"I thought my wife would be recording it but she didn't have her phone with her," Dean said. "The lady next to here said she had photos, but they turned out all black."
Dean said there were lots of people taking photos and video at the time and he'd love to get a copy, for Russell see how he was embraced by the celebrity and the crowd, and to help him feel 'normal'.
It's just what he needs, to know there's more to life than swimming and that he's accepted.Dean Booysen
"It's just what he needs, to know there's more to life than swimming and that he's accepted."
Dean hopes the community will answer his SOS for evidence of Russell's great adventure. Anyone with photos or video of Russell on-stage can send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be forwarded on to Russell's parents.
Dean was full of praise not only for the event but for the behaviour of the crowd and witnessing how other special needs kids were treated by passersby. He's hoping this community spirit will result in Russell having evidence of his once-in-a-lifetime experience.