Falls Festival. A review by Levi Weismann

Last Christmas we bought Levi Weismann a hipster poncho, a beard comb and 4 day ticket to the Falls Music and Arts festival and sent him into the Lorne wilderness to document his experiences.  In his first ever post on Designing Tomorrow, Levi gives us his review of the Falls Festival.

Falls Festival.  A review by Levi Weismann

In contrast to the declining popularity of music festivals in Australia (e.g. the struggles with ticket sales to the 2012 Big Day Out), the Falls Music and Arts Festival is thriving and remains as one of Australia’s favourite festivals.  Nestled in a natural amphitheatre which is home to a unique microclimate, the festival grounds are home to 4 days of fun, good music and friendly shenanigans.

The first thing you notice on arrival to Falls is that everyone is super-friendly; the festival is basically one big party and new friends are literally at the tent next door.  The second thing you notice is that practically everyone has smuggled in alcohol.  Undeterred by threats of ejection from the festival and relatively low bar prices ($5 per beer), many campers spend hours at their tents imbibing on various alcoholic concoctions.

Falls Festival: one big party

On Day 1 we arrived around 3pm and spent the afternoon getting acclimatised to our surrounds, playing “kings cup” with our new tent friends and making newspaper hats.  The evening was spent at the “… tent” dancing to Vince Peach and belly flopping in a pizza whilst wearing said newspaper hat (yes Peter Combe was awesome).  And although performances on the night ended pretty early, we carried on the party in the campgrounds.

Day 2 began with a hangover and an hour long wait for a much needed triple espresso at Falls’ hippy cafe.  Note to hippies: the fast moving industry of takeaway coffee is perhaps not your strong suit.  However, this minor annoyance was shrugged off once we headed over to the main stage.

Guineafowl were a nice surprise, warming up the crowd with their avian inspired tunes comfortably filled the stadium.  Missy Higgins was solid, if not a little uninspiring as were The Easy All-Stars, whose reggae inspired performance of Pink Floyd’s the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ was interesting, but left many wondering why it was necessary for their reggae interpretation.

The evening brought us the Wonderful World of DJ Yodawho played a fantastic set of mash ups and remixes and showed us that a DJ set can showcase musical depth whist being funny and clever.

John Butler: impressive as always

The John Butler Trio headlined the night, playing an inspired set (complete with slide guitar, didgeridoos and a three-piece percussion solo) and reminded the crowd that they are one of Australia’s most dependable live performers.  After JBT, Regurgitator did their thing, clad in skin tight, grey plastic jumpsuits.  However, despite the highlights of tracks such as ‘!(The Song Formerly Known As)’ and ‘Black Bugs’, one couldn’t help but think that the reputation of their synonymous  LP ‘Unit’ has been inflated.

Day 3 was full of musical delights. Grouplove and Metronomy were particular stand outs during the afternoon session.  And with pants so high they defied gravity, Gbenga Adelekan of Metronomy, was definitely the best dressed man in Lorne.  As the sun went down, the Fleet Foxes, serenaded the crowd with their breathtaking, agriculture-inspired harmonies.

The evening session saw welcomed The Kooks, whose set began strongly and their poppy tunes were the perfect sing along material for the crowd.  However they disappointed some by only performing 4 songs from their debut LP ‘Inside In/Inside Out’.  PNAU performed a typically energetic set which kick-started a night of partying which went well into the early hours of the morning.

Day 4 was also spectacular.  The stylish (yet criminally underrated) Miles Kane, performed a strong set to an underwhelming crowd, as did The Jim Jones Revue who blasted the relatively small crowd with their distorted brand of Jerry Lee Lewis inspired rock and roll.

As the evening crowd built up, Aloe Blacc played one of the strongest sets of the festival and his catchy, soulful tunes put smiles on people’s faces and gyrations in their hips.

Aloe Blacc: So much soul

Headliners the Arctic Monkeys didn’t disappoint, led by an Elvis-esque Alex Turner, the Sheffield natives played a hit-packed set to a hyped up crowd drawing from all four LPs (although only one track from ‘Humbug’) and even a newish B-side Evil Twin (dedicated to Miles Kane, who later joined them on set for their closer ‘505’).  Even a minor snafu in missing the exact moment of midnight didn’t annoy the crowd, as they roared when Alex Turner sparked an impromptu countdown with: “It might be 20 past fucking one but let’s do it anyway!!”

Alex Turner: AKA Elvis circa 2012

Even though the Arctic Monkeys departed at around 12:30am, the party continued into the early hours, with a special mention to the Crystal Castles who’s Game Boy inspired, acid trippy beats kept the party dancing into the early hours.

The Verdict

The Falls experience is not to be missed.  Despite the minor annoyances inherent in camping (getting friendly with a moist towelette just isn’t the same as a shower), the occasional underwhelming act and the smell inherent in waterless composting toilets (which nevertheless were fairly clean), there is very little not to enjoy.  The only caveat is that performances don’t really kick off until the afternoon of Day 2, so perhaps the slighty cheaper 3 Day ticket would be better value.

Overall, the party atmosphere is contagious, the acts are fantastic, people are generally extremely friendly, as are staff, and the amenities are much better than any other festival.

Highly recommended.

9 out of 10 ponchos.

(Note to my fellow single males: a poncho is warm evening wear, breathable day wear and an interesting conversation piece with ladies).

About AnthonySchumann
Subtle Bravado // Creative Boutique. Ted Anthony - Vision Alec Schumann - Creative Follow @AnthonySchumann

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: