Falls Music And Arts Festival
Is there any better way to bring in the New Year then with that feeling of hope, love and inspiration that surrounds and infiltrates you while listening to the music of The Falls Festival? Well if you haven’t entered the ballot for tickets you may want to wake up early and line up on Thursday September 9 for the final release to go on sale for this iconic festival in Victoria and Tasmania. Though it’s a right pain to be organized and entering ballots for festivals in December, it just goes to show how revered and mighty this festival is, encompassing not just the music you want to hear but also the arts, nature and summer.
The lineup: what is it about The National? It seems you can’t go a week without someone pulling you aside to “tell you about this awesome band”. Yes we’ve heard of them, yes they’re spectacular, and yes they’ll be headlining The Falls. This is one of the best aspects about the festival, that the natural surrounds act as an amphitheatre large enough for the entire crowd to hear the music they’ve come to hear without being squished into each other, sweating and yelling (unless they want to be).
Due to the surrounding rainforest and natural barrier for the sounds, the crowd can sit up the back on the sloping land and still hear and enjoy more relaxed sounds, such as Angus and Julia Stone. Their peaceful, melodic music takes me back to a time I don’t remember. Perhaps the same couldn’t be less true than for Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – who doesn’t remember singing along to I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll? It has possibly transcended every generation since it was released back in 1982.
Another group that is greatly awaited and at the top of the line up is Interpol, indie rock band from NYC, rhythmic, harmonized, and sure to cast a spell at The Falls. There is also The Living End, the Australian rock and roll band with punk principles. Word is they are set to release a new record later this year with The Falls as the perfect punch to promote it.
Public Enemy will be bringing the hip hop, much like Clipse are doing for Meredith. In the ongoing ironic acceptance of hip hop into white indie culture, these bands are sure to really spice up otherwise kind of overly-serious lineups. The Klaxons will be performing stuff from their new and very good album, and you’ll find Tame Impala’s live set hypnotically awesome with their latest release generally accepted as one of the best things this year so far.
Then there’s Sleigh Bells, who’ve been the hype of the town with their fuzzy, ear and speaker-destroying indie dancehall whatever genre mashup music. Crown To The Ground is not everyone’s cup of tea, but they’re going to make an indie moshpit happen, and it’s going to be wicked. Peaches will do something similar with her DJ show.
The Morning Benders – a favourite of Grizzly Bear’s and another recent hype band – join Kitty, Daisy & Lewis and Junip (featuring Jose Gonzalez) on the so-indie-it-hurts-but-hell-yes lineup, and for the slightly more mainstream, The Beautiful Girls, The Soft Pack, Dan Sultan, The Rapture, Paul Kelly, Cold War Kids, Ladyhawke, Hot Hot Heat, Children Collide and a Vampire Weekend DJ set will surely get the tickets selling quick.
Locally, Big Scary, The Jezabels, Charlie Parr, the magnificent Washington, the ever-catchy Cloud Control, our very own answer to Mumford & Sons, Boy & Bear, funksters The Bamboos and The Middle East (who haven’t really released anything amazing but have us all curious anyway) are certainly the pick of the Aussie crop.
Falls is also a sustainable festival, much like Peats Ridge in NSW. They have a ‘Green Team’ who manage all waste programs, support systems with local community groups and a Final Clean-up Coordinator. They have composting toilets, which smell atrocious but are Very Good For The Earth, and they recycle shower water. Festival caterers and market stalls now are in the running for the ‘Falls Green Trader Award’ (if they win, they get their stall promoted on the big screens on the main stages) and it’s all carbon offset, too.
The Arts contingent of the festival happens at The Falls Art Village, The Falls Art Camp and The Falls Fiesta. There’s samba classes, comedy, burlesque, drumming and circus workshops, puppetry, skits and shows, and a giant party. You can apply to be part of the art camp for five days and you can apply to be a part of it by December 8.
Unlike Meredith, falls is strictly No BYO. It’s also no glass, and there’s a total fire ban. No pets, no weapons, etc. Don’t be a douchebag.
Despite the cool vibe and consistently excellent line up, this is one well-prepared festival. There are the usual options of driving to Lorne or Marion Bay, in Victoria and Tasmania respectfully, and road trips are an excellent start to any time away, giving you a calming period from the city to the beach. For those driving interstate to Tasmania, the Spirit of Tasmania offers a discount for festival goers – see The Falls website for details. Of course there are planes, trains and buses as well, not to mention car-pooling.
Lorne is the easiest festival to get to with flights to Melbourne and then buses from Melbourne airport, Geelong and Ballarat on either Greyhound or V/Line. Lorne has the Great Ocean Road and the Otway Rainforest – somewhere you would want to go even if the only music playing was on your iPod.
On the other hand there’s Marion Bay – relaxed vibe, family friendly, and with the wild uninhibited surrounds that are unique to Tasmania… did we mention there’s also a beach? So if you want the music of The Falls without what has become known as the pretention of The Falls, Marion Bay is only a boat ride away.
Regardless, The Falls Festival, in both spectacular spaces, under the sun, with camping joy and joyful sounds, make for not just an unforgettable festival, but also an unmissable experience.
For more info about dates, locations, tickets, and other important details, head to our Festival Essentials Page