A Falls Festival veteran gives his pro tips to a first timer for 2019/2020

Falls Festival dropped an incredible line-up for their 2019/2020 New Years celebration last week, which started a discussion between two writers here at the AU review. 

I’m Tait, I’m 22-years-old and have never been to Falls Festival, but this year is looking to be my first. I used to be a Brisbanite so my New Years festival of choice was typically Woodford Folk Festival – a little bit left-of-centre, community-oriented and certainly a place where you can find your “Woodford family” each year. However, with a city change in the past year, I’m expanding my festival horizons and was struck by the popularity of Falls for that moment the year ticks over.

My colleague, John, has attended an exuberant number of Falls Festivals which had me curious as to what makes this festival the “Splendour of summer” with a cult return rate every year.

I sat down with John to get the low down on it’s popularity and tips a first-timer like me should know.

So John, you’re returning to Falls Festival – how many have you been to and why’s it your New Year festival choice?

This is probably my eighth year of returning to Falls in Lorne. I think what appeals to me most is the sense of family and camaraderie. Lots of people have been coming back, so there’s a familiar feel about catching up with people from last year. The music has always been a feature too, plenty of variety and easy access to both stages so there’s not normally too many clashes.

Oh interesting, festival families are always a drawcard. Is there anything at Falls that defines it from other festivals?

It’s a music and arts event, so there’s a great art and craft area behind the main stage. You can get a massage, do yoga, listen to slightly “out there” bands, see a cabaret or magic show and even more. Opening night is always a theme night in the top tent, so make sure you get in the mood and dress up. The event itself is also very environmentally conscious, with the green team on clean up; everything is compostable, from plates and cutlery to the sawdust toilets.

It’s a summer festival – what are your tips to beat the heat?

The usual slip slop slap tricks work. There are water and sunscreen stations dotted around the main arena area and plenty of shade options.
One thing to keep in mind though is that the festival is high in the mountains so does get very cold at night. My best advice would be to be prepared for the heat, but also make sure you pack for cold and wet as the weather can be very changeable.

Is there an essentials packing list you’ve compiled as a festival veteran?

I always print out the set list in advance to make sure that I cover everything that I want to see. As already mentioned, a hat and sunnies are good to keep the heat off. Bars are cashless so make sure you have a cashless option such as tap and go or on your phone. Most food stall have both options. Phone reception is dodgy so don’t rely on it. I’m pretty sure you can buy ice for your tent. There’s a bus that makes round trips to Lorne that’s useful when you just want a quick dip in the ocean or do a bit of shopping.

The 2019/2020 lineup has recently been announced – who are your top three ‘Must Sees’?

Halsey blew me away when she played a couple of years ago so is a must see, along with Yungblud who puts on a supercharged performance. John Farnham is a bit of a dark horse, but the Falls crowd have a way of welcoming acts like that. I’m a big Banks fan, so that will be something to look forward to as well.

How would you describe the music they offer at Falls?

Contemporary modern. I always get swept away with the offerings. There’s always that surprise act that you never really think of and suddenly there they are blowing everyone away. There’s definitely something for all tastes and with two main stages and the arts area there’s always something going on.

What’s one piece of advice you wish you’d had going into your first Falls Festival?

Bring a warm blanket for sleeping. The first night I froze and luckily they were selling blankets at the merch tent so the rest of the festival was okay. Apart from that, they run a tight ship with plenty of volunteers to help out with any questions. Everyone is out to have a good time so get to know your tent neighbours and you could become best friends.

Thanks for the tips, John, and fingers crossed I catch you at this year’s Falls! 

You can purchase your general pre-sale for Falls Festival 2019/2020 from today!

Tait McGregor