Road trippin’ to Falls Festival, Lorne

Upon leaving 2014 and entering the New Year, The Adelaidian packed up their bags and head off for an unforgettable adventure down at the annual Falls Music and Arts Festival!

For those who are unaware of the Falls Festival, a quick run-down might help.

Held annually in camping grounds surrounding Lorne, Marion Bay and Byron Bay, the Australian festival includes a range of various festivities for guests to participate in, food/drink stalls to explore and bands/DJ’s/artists to enjoy over a five-day period.

This year, approximately 16,000 people visited the Falls in Lorne alone, making it one of Australia’s biggest, most popular music festivals.

The car ride from Adelaide to the festival in Lorne, Victoria, is a long one. Eight hours in the car leaves not much for campers to do but sing to sing-alongs and snack on snacks. But hey, it’s all part of the journey.

Campers arrived on the first day to clear, sunny skies and warm weather – ideal festival weather in fact. Approaching entrance, the line up to pass the gateway was significantly long as we slowly made our way up the hills  to our destination. Reaching the campsite, our group started the day by setting up tents, gazebos, teepees and fairy lights on a crowded, somewhat lopsided, grass surface. We made it work.

That night, first-day goers dressed as mermaids and sea creatures for the Boogie Nights theme ‘Deep Sea Disco’ and the party commenced in the Grand Theatre tent showcasing popular artists such as Client Liason, Salt n Pepa and Alison Wonderland. Salt N Pepa had the crowd movin’ and shakin’ to some old-school classics while Alison had the crowd crazy for some upbeat alternative house.

To much misfortune of the second and third-day goers, the next couple of days were rather rough weather-wise. Continual rains and heavy winds struck the festival site, making it incredibly difficult to put up tents or shelter without getting everything extremely wet and uncomfortable. Super happy we came for the first night!

Even though the rough second-day weather saw our camping grounds completely destroyed within minutes (practically in post-hurricane state), we managed to revoke a somewhat functional camping space for ourselves. Members of the group squeezed into a couple of two man tents that had miraculously survived the ridiculous weather, while the rest of the group made do with sleeping in cars. Who has time for complaining about the weather? We were at Falls, afterall.

The day concert held a couple of favourite artists including The Kite String Tangle, but it was the nighttime acts which had most of the festival-goers excited for the music that day. Milky Chance, The Temper Trap and Jaime XX all took to the stage and performed a spectacular show for thousands of onlookers.

By Tuesday (the third day), we had already pretty much explored all of the food stalls (despite how many there were) and were stuck on choosing between our favourites because, let’s face it, they were all our favourites. Dumplings, veggie burgers, German sausages, baked potatoes, yiros’, regular burgers, regular sausages, more dumplings, Asian snack boxes, jam donuts (!!!), soup, toasties…you name it, they had it. Not to mention the numerous mini coffee stalls for those who needed their daily caffeine hit (which was practically all of us).

We ventured on into the village that day to engage in some of the festivities and browse some of the clothing, jewellery and bric-a-brac stalls. And oh, how fun they were! So much vintage, colourful, sparkly and tie-dye clothing I felt like I was in a hippy fashion heaven. There were a few spiritual stalls around selling healing-power crystals and books on spiritual awakenings – very suited to the atmosphere of Falls. There was even a stall dedicated to flower crowns. Fabulous.

The craft activities were definitely, 100% a favourite! We invited ourselves into a group of relaxed, hippy strangers who taught us how to weave our own dream-catchers and it was possibly the best hour and a half ever spent.

The teacher, Troy, was a real chilled guy. Super calm and super positive about everything, he made the difficulty of intricately weaving a string evenly between a wreath of twigs incredibly easier for everyone. He told us that no matter what our dream-catcher ended up looking like, it would be unique, special and beautiful, and that there would be no need to compare our dream-catchers with others and become upset if it was less symmetrical. Which I guess was a powerful metaphor to explain the nature of people comparing one another and sizing each other up when really, everyone is beautiful in their own special way. Or maybe he meant it literally and we were just analysing his words too much. Oops.

We saw a comedy act afterwards. It was great…uncomfortably great. The comedian spent a lot of time paying out his audience as opposed to actually making funny jokes which is, I guess, what ended up making it hilarious. Not sure how some of the victims felt about it though.

Oh, did I mention we participated in an impromptu interpretive dance competition? In front of a tent full of people? Yeah…we came second place. Not too shabby.

During the day, our very own Tkay Maidza did Adelaide proud and played a wicked set for the Falls goers. Even more awesome music was played later that night including the likes of electronic artists La Roux, Empire of the Sun and SBTRKT respectively. No doubt, these three in a row went off. All so perfectly suited to one another and so perfectly electro, the crowd danced hard and long till late.

Empire of the Sun always play a killer set. Not being the first time we had seen them live, again, the band did not disappoint. Their theatrical dress and onstage presence makes for a memorable experience. In addition, making the front row and centre for SBTRKT was definitely an experience and a half. The best of sets are always enjoyed at the forefront of the mosh.

The next morning began the final, full day of music and festivities at Falls. By now, we were all well and truly ruined but, keeping in mind it was to be a crazy New Years that night, we decided to head on over to the Rancho Relaxo space down at the village for a mini detox before going all out.

Rancho Relaxo had all sorts of soothing stalls and activities. It was a place where knitting was acceptable for under 80 year olds and every second person was hydrating their wrecked bodies with a cold, fresh cocount. So of course, we bought our own cocounts. It was a well-needed moment of relaxation.

New Years Eve commenced with quite a mix of genres at the Valley Stage this time. Vance Joy, Spiderbait, Alt-J, The Presets – all very different. Bluejuice was also thrown in the mix and, again, spiced up the atmosphere with their hilarious stage presence. Even from the time I had last seen them in 2010, they’re still as funny as they’ve ever been.

Alt-J was a nice, relaxing build-up to the big New Years countdown. After that, it was all party and dance and party and dance with the heavy dance beats of The Presets. The night produced quite a successful balance of genres which was definitely an effective way to level out people’s energy. I don’t think any of us could have dealt with five sets in a row of heavy electronica artists such as The Presets.

Some partied till daybreak, some went to bed after The Presets, some can’t remember their subsequent sequence of actions, but what we all know is we had an amazing time and started our New Year with a bang. And a massive hangover.

Thanks Falls 2014/2015 for giving us the most memorable New Years of our lives! We can only wait and see what you have in store for us at the end of this year…

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