It’s harsh to gloat about what’s going on on the other side of the world whilst you’re all freezing your nuts off, but The Falls Festival in Australia is one event worth drawing your attention to. Set up in 1993 by Simon Daly, an archetypical (yes, he’s a surfer) Aussie male who dreamt up the whole idea at the tender age of 22, all because he wanted a good old knees up with his family and friends.
Held annually in two of Australia’s most beautiful settings, Marion Bay, Tasmania and the small coastal town of Lorne, Victoria, (hosting similar line ups in each location, with acts playing each on simultaneous days), Falls takes place from December 29th to January 1st. Following a similar boutique ethos to that of Bestival in the UK, it not only caters for the populist but also the quirky and exotic, creating a perfect mixture of creativity, art, theatre, colour and fun, all within a comfortable capacity.
Originally starting as a small one-day concert, then known as Rock Above The Falls, it attracted nearly 11,000 people, far exceeding the organisers’ expectations, and requiring them to quickly negotiate with neighbouring farmers for the use of their land to accommodate the crowd. Now in it’s 15th year, Falls is still going from strength to strength.
Not only is there a fantastic array of acts from their shores (and we know how hot Australia is at the moment when it comes to decent musical exports) but also global acts, covering all genres. Previous years have seen The Avalanches, The Hives, Silverchair, Jack Johnson and Wolfmother grace the stages, with Debbie Harry even requesting a slot for Blondie to play after hearing so many great things about the festival from previous Falls headliner Iggy Pop. This year sees Kings of Leon and Groove Armada headlining, alongside Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, New Young Pony Club, Jose Gonzalez, The Go Team!, The Pipettes and Bonde De Role – and that’s just a small selection of the international bill. Flying their musical flag high, Australia boasts local talent such as Clash Magazine’s ‘Ones To Watch’ of 2008, Angus and Julia Stone, Midnight Juggernauts, Macromantics, The Paper Scissors, Gotye and Paul Kelly.