I am still recovering from the Lorne, Vic, Falls Festival. For those who don’t know, the Falls Festival is an annual music camping event held for 3 nights over the New Year. Since it involves some 10 to 15 000 people camping side-by-side, with plenty of music (predominantly of the folk variety), and… errr… “stuff” to keep you dancing and grooving and talking to strangers into the wee hours of the morn, it’s pretty much a modern Woodstock. Oh, and did I mention the love? Not the “free love/make love” love (though I’m sure some cars accomodate for that) but the “look after each other” love. Feeling the warm and fuzzies?
If not, perhaps it’s because you haven’t attended.

So how do I sum up three days of that? Three days of great music, getting to know some new friends, getting to know complete strangers who I wouldn’t see again and forming stronger bonds with good friends, all while moving overzealously to a range of music? I’ll break it down roughly and unevenly and hopefully the music I’ve put up for you to listen to will retain some seminance of patience.

First I’m going to mention the one thing that I didn’t like about the festival. It’s probably unnecessary but I feel it’s a good preparation point for those who are interested in going but haven’t yet been.
The toilet facilities are poor. I expected this but the cisterns overflowed and crap and wee went everywhere (next to the food stands).

On the last day the temperatures soared up to 40 Degrees Celcius. Getting to common water (for showering in, cooling off, or drinking) for the most part meant a one hour que in the sun. It pushed me (and others) to breaking point. I almost fainted; I was physically and emotionally exhausted and at one point when I went looking for my friends I ended up lying down in the middle of nowhere in particular for ages.
Next time I go I’ll remember to take some spray bottles full of water and some umbrellas for shade.

Now the highlights.

The bands were amazing. Most of the sets (apart from the headlining acts) were quite short but this just kept the pace moving.
I like Operator Please a lot more now. Once you see them live… the violinist especially was amazing live (just seeing her hand movements: my eyes couldn’t follow, she was that fast).

Operator Please – 6/8 [buy]

Angus and Julia Stone were great too. One of my friends was sold on them from their performance. They closed beautifully with Mango Tree. I only saw the tail end of it because I wanted to see The Panics, who were also pretty amazing.

Angus and Julia Stone – Mango Tree [buy]

The Panics – Cash [buy]

A lot of people seemed disappointed with The Go! Team but I loved them. The front woman, Ninja, was very dancey and kept us all going. At one point she yelled “If I see you dancing I’m going to dance like you!” and mimicked the moves of a few people from the crowd. Mostly, the reason these guys are good live is because their music is designed for the crowd.

The Go! Team – Keys to the City [buy]

And for the first time ever I finally understood why people like Paul Kelly. There was something about hearing everyone (including myself, who used to hate the song) singing “From little things big things grow” that really makes you feel like you’re part of something bigger. Probably because (as a member of a crowd) you are!

It was nice to see the crowd grow while watching Built to Spill. They were rockin’ live!

Girl Talk was the perfect pre-New Year’s performance. The guy knows how to mix! His eclectic range of music got people whooping with excitement as they recognised songs only they knew, songs from their childhood, and mainstream pop they usually cringed at. He got involved enough to take off his shirt while dancing and get some of the crowd on stage to boogey with him.

Suprisingly, Kings of Leon were the perfect act to take us into the New Year. You could almost feel the crowd bonding over the passionate indie sounds. It was a lot of fun to hear them play Charmer and it was beautiful to hear everyone singing “whooaaaa—oooo—ohhhhh—aaaoooohhhh” midway through Knocked Up. In particular that song will always remind me of the Falls Festival. You always feel that you’ve received music the best way possible when the studio version reminds you of the event.
It was during this song that I started feeling sad about the fact that the whole thing felt over. The New Year had been called (or was about to be: I’m not sure at what point the song was played) and the next morning we’d be returning to the fuss of our lives.

Kings of Leon – Knocked Up [buy]

Before doing that though my friends and I wandered into the Village. I went because over the course of the few days there my curiosity about it leapt. So many people kept saying how “weird” and “creepy” it was, I couldn’t resist.
And yeah, it’s creepy and weird. I’m not even sure I can explain what went on there (or if I want to).
All I’ll say is a hoe-down version of Mad World was being played by some dodgy band as we walked in and that pretty much sums it up.

This was my first Falls Festival and it went off with a bang! Between all of the above things we also met some interesting people.
We met someone who demolished one of our tents accidentally, a guy who had managed to sneak in without a ticket and many random people who seemed either aggressive or good natured along a continuous scale.

I had plans to go overseas over the next summer period but now that I understand what the Falls fuss is all about it’s going to be hard to turn it down in future.

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