Falls Festival @ Lorne, Victoria (30-31/12/2012)

Image for Falls Festival @ Lorne, Victoria (30-31/12/2012)

2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the Falls Festival in Lorne, so for the 16,000-odd punters in attendance it was full celebration mode to share this special event and bring in the New Year.

Tucked away in the mountaintops in a clearing in the Otways rainforest, The Falls Festival takes you to another place, to a much simpler time where there is not a care in the world and all that matters is the music.

Gates opened at 11am and many eager campers rode in early on day one to secure their camping spot and set up their site for the next few nights. Once set up, it only a short walk or shuttle bus ride to the festival where the Grand Theatre opened up and kicked off Boogie Nights with live entertainment in the late afternoon.

Comedy duo Legs Akimbo were just some of the quirky performers between acts, warming up the crowd with all sorts of “weird shit” with plenty of fun party games including karaoke and blow up crocodile races through the mosh pit.

One-man party machine Muscles ditched his hi-tech gadgets and gave a struggling one-off piano performance that, indeed, should remain a one off. Drowned out by the excited crowd he attempted to shout out tunes and failed to interact with the audience who just simply wanted to party.

The Bamboos on the other hand gave a stellar performance with their deep funk and soul blues. Lead singer Kylie Auldist belted out an incredible cover of the Frank Ocean track Lost. Their eclectic arrangements instantly had the audience in the right frame of mind to take on the next few days.

The Grand Theatre closed for day two and the Valley Stage opened up for business as the three piece hillbilly blues and western swing band The Rechords, with their quiffed hair and catchy throwback style ,they raised the energy levels as crowds found their spot on the hilly grass by the stage and danced along. Just and zany as their name, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard sent the audience into frenzy with their eccentric loud garage rock.

The Valley filled out with a sea of people for indie pop group San Cisco who delivered their addictively catchy indie tropical pop from their recently released debut album, with tracks including Awkward, having everybody repeating the infectious “Da da da da da da da da da…” for hours afterwards.

There was so much to do and see around the festival other than just music. From an extensive range of gastronomic delights to suit any taste buds, photo booths and a spinning wheel of prizes at the TAC Vanessa van, hippy market clothing market stalls and a merchandise stand that were quickly swamped by those not prepared for the cold nights. A short walk from the Valley stage towards the general admission campgrounds was The Village, which was the base for things arty. Activities including morning yoga, pop up beauty parlors, 10-minute dance parties, circus workshops, variety shows, afternoon crafts and a little stage for the more quirky performances, it was charming and wondrous delight just waiting to be explored.

For the more adventurous some wandered out a little distance away to the Erskine Falls where the name of the festival is derived. While others were just quite content drinking at their campsite with good company or soaking up sun by the stage playing Hacky Sack.

Being at a high altitude in the middle of the rainforest and on the edge of the Victorian coastline the weather was somewhat unpredictable, ranging from clear skies and extremely hot to freezing cold at night.

In the early evening it began to rain lightly as the sweet songbird, Lisa Mitchell filled the valley with her quaint and catchy piano driven tunes. As the heavens opened she began to sing the captivating Providence, the first track off her new album. “Wait, we wait, we wait to find our place, our place, our place our sacred place, we wait we wait.” The rain didn’t seem to bother many who just soaked in Ms Mitchell’s storytelling delivered with honest and raw emotion. Avoiding those dreaded dollars, she skipped her Coin Laundry and concluded with the upbeat track Spitritus.

British indie rock group Bombay Bicycle Club gave the standout performance of the second day with euphoric melodies, grappling hooks and insanely addictive piano loops on tracks. They had some fun with the crowd playing some comedy tracks and played a new song Carry Me from their fourth upcoming record.

After a quick change into multiple layers of warmer clothes to brave the cold night, Mexican guitar heroes, Rodrigo Y Gabriela warmed up the crowd with an incredibly fast acoustic instrumental set of Mexican and Spanish rhythms intertwined with a range of different genres.

Django Django gave a psychedelic performance with heavy synths and electronic loops with a mesmerizing and colorful light display presented behind them. A little bit confused about which state they were performing in, the dreamy performance seemed a bit disjointed and went off on tangents at times with vocal levels falling short and difficult to connect with.

The headlining act on day two, The Hives immediately ignited their powerhouse performance as they entered on stage, dressed in matching black and white tuxedos, complete with top hats, the stage was set to a backdrop of creepy puppeteer. Being their third time at Falls Festival since 2001, they certainly knew how to work the crowd and put on a hearty rock show with a loud performance as their shouts echoed throughout the camp grounds into the night.

All stages were open by the third day and everyone was well and truly in the festival spirit.

Colourful characters of all shapes and sizes entered the valley, with animal onesies the favorite attire. There were many cross-dressers, pirates, clowns, fruit and vegetables, Siamese twins and flower power in full force.

Ball Park Music rocked the valley stage with their relatable and direct song lyrics and titles including Sad Rude Future Dude, I Fucking Love You and Rich People Are Stupid as frontman Sam Cromack unpacked his back pack on stage, graciously feeding the audience grapes mid-way through songs.

The Grand Theatre changed things up in the afternoons with some laugh out loud comedy from some of the international and homegrown acts leaving the audience in stitches.

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