In our books, there's absolutely no better way to spend New Year's Eve in Australia, and the few days leading up to 'the biggest night of the year', or sometimes, 'the most overrated night of the year', it depends who you talk to... but of course, we're talking about Falls Music & Arts Festival.
If you haven't been before, let us fill you in. Falls Festival is a four day festival, situated in four locations across the country. Getting tickets to Lorne is inevitably difficult as it was the OG, but if you get your grubby little paws on some, you are one lucky human. Think, camping in fields surrounded by some of the nicest, most friendly, and often rowdiest people you'll ever meet, four days full of magical music with the jammiest of vibes, a constant little shimmy rolling across your shoulders (you just can't help it), and some pretty deece, central coast weather. Pair that with food so good that you end up leaving 3/4's of the food you brought with you, to spend all your dollary-doos on coffee, breakfast wraps, dumplings, burgers, burritos and beers (obvs).
Think that sounds good? Boy, we're only getting started. We started our days this year with a spot of yoga and light meditation at the Rancho Relaxo (how's that for festival prep), filling our breaks between music with chilled hangs under the very ~ zen ~ tent. Right across the road, there was The Village, another primo spot for chilling out and taking a moment when you needed it most. Tents in The Village were filled with comedy acts and theatre performances aplenty, along with music, more food glorious food, a mini salvos store and 'The Hole'. What is 'The Hole' you ask? Well, on the second day of Falls, 'The Hole' began like any hole does, a grassy patch of lawn. Apparently, it's a rather therapeutic process, shifting dirt from a hole and piling it on top of more dirt. Yes, strange right. Well, we thought so, until we saw the end product. In 3 short days, the hole was deep enough and wide enough to fit 4-5 grown dudes, and people were fucking loving it. Again, not sure why, but they were frothing hard core.
There were SO many highlights at this year's festival that it was hard to choose just one, so we've complied a little list of all the things we DUG. (get it, cos people were also digging a hole? errrgh how did I fall into that one...)
1. The Middle Kids
Woah, these guys were amazing. A band that came along on Triple J unearthed, released a couple of brilliant songs and are now only on the way up. Hannah's vocals and effortless cool had us all a little weak at the knees. She has this husky, low riding voice that is so unassuming, before she comes out with these absolutely mammoth notes, amazing trills and wailing guitar riffs. The highs and lows throughout each song kept us intrigued and left us wanting more.
2. Ball Park Music
High energy, fun and music on point, you can never go past Ball Park for a good time. Dancing around to every single song (because that's how many hits they have) was definitely a highlight.
There was a reason the entirety of Falls rushed to DMA's between acts, because they are that good. It's always cool when you see a band play Falls only a couple of years ago in a lunch time slot (yep, that was these guys) and come back to see them playing prime time. The boys played a mix of tunes from their 2014 and 2016 releases, with Delete, Step Up The Morphine and Lay Down being absolute crowd faves.
4. Hockey Dad
A band consisting of two people - sounded like a band of four. These guys know how to play, and sing, and jam, and everything else in between. Even though the pair were considerably hung, a.k.a Billy throwing up in a bucket on stage, they soldiered on and delivered a stellar performance and the crowd were loving it.
5. Catfish and The Bottlemen
The British band were brought out to Australia for a reason, because they're Catfish and the bloody Bottlemen. Another set that mixed oldies with newies, from their 2016 album 'The Ride'. The crowd was massive, everyone was having so much fun and it was a 10/10 time.
6. The Avalanches
This one kind of goes without saying, but to rub it in for all of you who didn't get to go to Falls Festival this year... The Avalanches were great. Really great. Surprisingly, they didn't play Frankie Sinatra or Subway just after the countdown, instead opting for one of their older tracks which I wasn't so familiar with. None the less, these guys brought in 2017 the best way possible.
Of course, with the highlights, there had to be some lows. Unfortunately this year, there was a rather big one. By now I'm sure you've read about/heard about the crushing that happened after DMA's on New Year's Eve, eve. It wasn't great, in-fact, it was actually really horrible. Our hearts go out to anyone who was injured or seriously hurt in the incident, and we hope to see some further measures taken next year so something like that doesn't happen again.
Apart from this, we legitimately had the best time and will once again be back for more good vibes, great music and all of the festival shenanigans that we love so much. Thanks for having us Falls Festival, we miss you already.
'Til next year.
All photos by Wade Whitington