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Falls Festival Byron Bay 31/12 - 2/01/2016


Being a Falls Festival virgin I had no idea what to expect from this three day festival on NSW far North coast at Byron Bay…other than what promised to be a great line up.

To say I was impressed would be an understatement… the whole set up was fantastic from staff at the gates, the campground facilities, the mix of food and bars and the atmosphere made it one of the best festivals you could ever hope to go too….

The first day was New Year’s Eve and there was a real party vibe from the outset…..with only one stage in action Fleetmac Wood provided a chilled out afternoon session of remixes from the legendary Fleetwood Mac which got everyone into the grove in the beautiful summer sunshine.
Art Vs Science stepped it up with their crazy and eccentric electric dance vibe playing to the crowd and hitting a crescendo with their classic "Parlez Vous Francais?"

Weird Al Yankovich hit the stage and this seemed like a great opportunity to grab some dinner and have a few Margherita’s in the totally awesome bar at the top of the hill between stages….it was really unique meeting point for punters and great to have a bit more of a choice than most other festivals where it is all pre-mixed canned drinks…..it felt classy.

Coming back the main stage was jumping when Peking Duk dropped the bomb on their set…which absolutely went off….with a special guest vocalist performance on a few tracks….most notably on “say my name” by this stage the party was in full swing…

Hilltop Hoods followed and as a perennial festival favourite stepped up and delivered a great set that kept the party going……I guess at this point with celebrations in full swing and a crowd totally going wild it was a good idea to bring it down a notch with The Wombats.

The Wombats played a great Rock n Roll set and it was a life memory singing “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” in a huge crowd on New Years Eve……

Day 1 down it was amazing how much fun that was and in these times of media hype about our drunken violent youth culture we didn’t see one incident where there were any dramas….just a lot of young people having a great time with their friends wearing whacky outfits….


Day 2 started a bit slowly for many, showers were had breakfast was eaten, coffee drunk and it was all go…though to a more folksy chilled vibe…..It was great to try the yoga and listen to a few of the local Byron artists and just get around and talk to other people who were loving the music and just being at Falls…..by midday the pool zone was a hot spot to be as the sun came out and the temperature rose.

The main stage had an eclectic line up with girl of the moment Courtney Barnett followed by Birds Of Tokyo belting out there modern day Australian Rock anthems in the gloaming.

Paul Kelly and his band of Merri souls took over the stage next which provided a feel good vibe for everyone with his songs of love and loss. I was surprised how many young people came in for the set seeing this as an opportunity to see a legend of Australian music live and Paul Kelly didn’t disappoint….even when the power went down they just went along with an improvised sing along without even missing a beat….

Rufus and Bloc party kicked it up a gear to finish of day two…

Day Three of Falls was clearly the Day of Rock N roll early sets by Soak and Gang of Youths really set the scene…..Gang Of Youths played one of the most amazing sets I have ever seen at a festival…it had it all…a proper mosh pit…dust in the air…broken guitar strings and the lead singer in the crowd….they became my favourite band of the festival.

Leon Bridges hit the stage in his retro style oozing cool and seduced the crowd with his soulful Gospel music and his cool dance moves….front of stage was a fun place to be.

Gary Clark Jr has had a quick rise from guitar prodigy to being well on the way to full blown rock legend in the space of two studio albums….other than being one of the nicest guys in rock n roll with a model wife who is happy to dance in the crowd while her husband plays….the guy can real shred that Gibson.

Clark Jr’s Byron set list was totally rocking leaving out the slower songs of his new album and going instead for just a full powered guitar assault with his first two songs going for almost 15 minutes….it was great to see and a revelation for many who had never seen him before….

The Foals hit next and these three days of awesome music at Falls Festival was finished by English electronic music duo Disclosure…..

Reflecting on my three days at Falls Festival Byron Bay I realised a few things…yeah sure it’s a long way from Cairns but I couldn’t think of a better way to bring in the new year…..it’s an experience and one that surpasses anything that happens anywhere here in Queensland especially North Queensland.

It was so safe, well organised, camping is included in the price of your ticket and the sense of young people coming together to have a good time pervaded the whole three days making it an ideal place to go hang out with your mates, a group of friends or even just your girlfriend….

And lastly hats off to whoever planned the line-up especially the running order….it seemed so well curated…the flow was perfect dance on New year ever…..chilled and folksy on new Year’s day and totally rockin on the last day…..

So get your plans in action for December 2016…no doubt the line-up will be good and with New Years Eve on a Saturday night it promises to be a big one…..

For more info or to sign up to their mailing list hit up byron.fallsfestival.com.au