New Year with a twist

By Kim O’Hare

Want to try something new this New Year? If you feel like a trip down under, the Falls Festival is a camping and music festival held on the beautiful Falls Festival Farm in the Otway rainforest from 30th December to 1st January every year. pictureThe whole thing began in 1993 and it’s now an Australian music institution. Now visitors from all over the world come on an annual pilgrimage.

The main arena is formed from a spectacular natural amphitheatre with a perfect gentle slope so you can relax up the back and still hear and see everything. A dense rainforest surrounds the venue and helps to create this incredible venue.

More than 50 acts perform on the Valley Stage and in the Big Top (which is the site, overnight, for the Cybercircus) and there’s even a People’s Stage, where anyone can have a go! The Erskine Fayre sells jewels, funky clothes, head cosies, shades and more, while the Healing Fields are the ideal place for a breather.

The 2006/2007 line-up includes Michael Franti & Spearhead, Modest Mouse, Wolfmother, The Bees, John Butler Trio, Hilltop Hoods, Eskimo Joe, Dexter, Scribe, Saul Williams, The Sleep Jackson, M Ward, The Mountain Goats, You Am I, The Black Seeds, Little Birdy, Wolf & Cub and the nine-piece Latin hip-hop troupe Labjacd, to name just a few.

Camping is an integral part of The Falls Festival. Camp with friends, get to know your neighbours, check out all the action, or just relax and enjoy the beautiful environment.  Campsites are allocated on the day as you arrive and tents are pitched with your vehicle.

The weather can best be described as “four seasons in one day” The summer, days can be scorching but the location in the hills means that the nights can be icy regardless of how hot the day has been. Events oprganisers advise you to make sure you bring good camping gear, a torch, clothing for all conditions - including plenty of warm and waterproof clothing, a coat, sunscreen and a hat.  The Falls Festival is also good exercise so bring comfy, sturdy shoes that will get you around the site.

The event has changed since it was started by a local surfer who generously invited the revellers from the annual (and destructive) street party in Lorne up onto his parents’ farm in the nearby Otway Ranges. The main stage used to be a ramshackle scaffolding and tarpaulin structure on the back of a truck, whereas now it is a massive weatherproofed shed. Fencing and internal roads have been improved for ease of parking and camping but, in essence, the festival has stayed true to its roots.

Full details of the programme are available on the Falls Festival Website

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