[EVENT RECAP] Falls Festival
Ahhh Falls Festival. Where to even begin? This festival has been on my 'to-do' list for years, as has 'visit Tasmania', so without taking any value out of either desire, attending this festival this year was killing two birds with one stone. (No actual birds were harmed, in case you were worried)
Monday began bright and early with a game of car boot Tetris in Hobart with all of our bags and belongings, a collection of supplies on the way, the purchase of an over-sized teddy bear with an inappropriate name, and a little road trip down to beautiful Marion Bay. Long lines and brief downpours greeted us, and the car behind us was playing Da Rude's "Sandstorm" on repeat as we rolled in to our campsite and set up our home for the next few days.
Small crowds had headed up to the festival grounds, and we decided to follow them in favour of staying at our campsite where we'd had the misfortune of being wedged in between some of those... Less likeable festival folk, or as my mother might put it - 'undesirables'.
The main stage was not yet open so we browsed the food vendors and markets and headed over to the small stage to catch the end of BadBadNotGood. But it was Melbourne's Twerkshop who properly kicked the festival off with their 'educational' dance routines - sparkly silver short shorts and all. We spied a group of adorable young festival goers in the crowd wearing animal onesies popping, crumping, doing the worm and pretty soon stealing all the glory and audience attention.
We heard Client Liaison playing while we explored The Village - an area set up with cafés, a comedy club, circus themed decorations, a shipping container with a disco inside, a pop-up hair and nail salon, and various other surprises.
The morning was wet and dreary, but in between the patches of rain we decided a trip down to the beach would set us up for the day. I'm not going to brag because, as some old man told me later I am probably mad, but I was the only one of our little party to brave the cold and jump in to the frosty ocean. Minutes later the downpours began again so we retreated to the car to regroup before the first acts of the day began.
If our spirits were in any way dampened by the weather, British babes Wolf Alice reminded us that a bit of rain never hurt us as front woman Ellie Rowsell wailed in to the early afternoon main stage crowd. Germany's Milky Chance got the milling crowd up and dancing as the sun came out and everyone's spirits lifted.
Glass Animals were a clear highlight, filling up the whole Field Stage area with their gooey vibes. I'd been trying to see these British boys live all year long so it was nothing short of sheer bliss to finally get to dance along to their brilliant live set. Over on the main 'Valley' stage, The Rubens were a clear crowd pleaser, however the ambience of Tycho (as well as the beautiful stage visuals) was much more on par with my mindset at this point of the afternoon.
Dashing back over to the main stage to catch the end half of Cold War Kids, who I hadn't seen in years, I then decided to take a bit of a break during the afternoon to explore some of the other areas of the festival.
Jamie XX's set marked the beginning of what came to be the best night of the festival, music wise. Reuniting with two groups of friends for Alt-J was sheer joy, as we all sang in chorus to hits old and new. It had been years since I'd seen The Presets or even listened to their music but as it turns out their set was one of everyone's highlights of the evenings - nostaliga and non-stop dancing were themes that carried on well in to the night, later even than Todd Terje's set.
Nothing could really do much to distract from our joy when we woke to find blue skies and sunshine on New Years Eve. Slight hangovers, almost-lost voices, stiff legs and stuffy tents were soon forgotten once our picnic rug was set up on the hillside and the soothing sounds of The Kite String Tangle drifted our way, with the gorgeous bay laid out in front of us and the sunshine on our backs.
Ásgeir melted our hearts with his gorgeous falsetto and dashing smile, delighted to be playing to a crowd almost as happy as he was. Homegrown lads DMA's then took to the smaller stage in their vaguely ridiculous 90s getup, and although their hit "Delete" was a clear favourite with the audience, we were a little underwhelmed by their performance.
Luckily, Jagwar Ma called us back over to the Valley Stage for what was another clear highlight performance. Joined by Stella Mozgawa from Warpaint on drums, Jono Ma looking cool and calm like a pilot with a control board up the back of the stage, and Jack Freeman sticking to the shadows, Gabriel Winterfield heaved and yelled and writhed his way through the set, ending triumphantly on the floor with his shirt ripped off.
Cloud Control were a welcome lineup replacement to Julian Casablancas on the Valley Stage, and CW Stoneking told made-up tales of murder on the Field Stage, as his two golden-dressed gals sang shoo-wups and doo-waahs. Young Brit George Ezra, with his deep booming voice that seems like it should belong to another man, was perfect as the sky began to turn golden. And as much as I hate to admit it, John Butler fingerplucking his way to salvation on the main stage, at sunset, with the beautiful Tasmanian landscape in the background, was undoubtedly a heavenly experience for everyone, myself included.
It was then time for us to prepare for the festivities of the evening and the premise of a good party began with the purchasing of some beverages, meeting spot plans, food truck delights, and then back over to Field Stage. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but Run The Jewels caught me by surprise and I found myself dancing, yelling, chanting, and grinning alongside their crowd of dedicated followers.
None of us were too thrilled about the prospect of counting down the New Year with Empire Of The Sun, but once it became clear that everything else at the festival was shutting down to do just that, we put our stubbornness aside and ventured back to see the spectacle that this two-piece has become. Luckily, we were among the merging of several groups of wonderful people, and as we counted down to 2015, we delighted in the realisation that it's not so much the music but the company you keep.
The first few hours of 2015 were spent dancing like mad to SBTRKT, and, seeing as nostalgia seemed to be a bit of a running theme this festival, we thought we might as well give in to the 15-year old inside of us all and embrace the Smirnoff Double Blacks. This classiness was further fuelled by various attempts at bounce dancing to Big Freedia, some double fisting of beverages, sweaty 10-minute dance parties in a shipping container in The Village, and joining in a chorus with the other fellow stragglers around 4am to Backstreet Boys and other classic tunes of that caliber. And I daresay "Sandstorm" was played again a few more times before the night was truly over.
All in all, it was an absolutely perfect way to bring in the new year with friends, even if it did mean all of our new years resolutions (eat healthier, drink less, take care of our health) went out the window at 1pm on the 1st of January when we pulled over in a town called Sorell for steak pies, and later that evening when we had a pizza party in bed. And yes, I am currently living with the shame that comes with pounding Smirnoff mixers at the tender age of 26.
Stay tuned for more photos from the festival, coming soon!