The first Falls Festival to venture north from Victoria and Tasmania took place at North Byron Parklands in Yelgun, about 15km north of Byron. The good thing about this location is that you don’t need to contend with Byron traffic to actually reach the venue. Many people pointed this out. Some going so far as to wonder whether they had the right turn off on the highway. Our midday arrival met with hardly a queue. Happy vegemites from the get-go.
Byron Bay did us proud: not only did the crowd turn it on for Falls (rumors were Byron had the largest crowd and best atmosphere) but so did the venue, with the natural amphitheaters giving punters an abundance of choice viewing seats throughout the day. Some even in the shade – which was welcome given the sweltering heat.
The venue has come of age since Splendour where it was first used for a festival. In fact Splendour saw none of the natural amphitheaters used for bands, much to the dismay of mud-soaked festival goers. Splendour also required an impossibly long walk back to the carpark – at the end of an epic day of bopping on one’s feet, it was a real downer. But Falls seemed to see all of those kinks ironed out.
As well as the choice musical offerings at the event, there were a number of festival-type trends worth mentioning at Falls (we’ll get to the music in a moment).
- The top knot. On blokes. Yeah, it seems that men have become a little bored with the crew cut / mo combo and gone for something with a little more flair. Hello ponytail atop the crown. The top knot is popular with blokes all of a sudden and made a major appearance at Falls: often combined with fishermens’ pants and an eco-singlet in neutral colours. Get used to it. I suspect the topknot is to the teenies what the flattop was to the eighties. And I blame the heat. Who wants all that hair flapping around the back of your head when the thermostat’s in the mid 30s?
- Men. On other men’s shoulders. We’re used to seeing bikini-clad ladies sitting on men’s shoulders at festivals. But something strange has happened to the gender-skew of this frivolous activity. At Falls Byron 2013, men sitting on men’s shoulders and bopping away to the musical offerings was as common a sight as ladies on blokes’ shoulders. We put it down to one of two things. Either all those men have dealt with the societal preconceptions about sticking their heads between a man’s legs and embraced their inner brofriend statuses. Or it’s that damn crossfit / paleo / bulging bicep trend that sees even the weeniest man strong enough to lift one of his counterparts atop his shoulders to dance the night away. Go for it boys. You’re all winners as far as we’re concerned.
- The playsuit come overall come pinafore. So for Splendour it was the onesie. And to some extent the whole playsuit thing is really a onesie for summer. But holy hell, there were plenty of them. There were teenie tiny playsuits that really looked like singlets. There were long legged overalls with bare chests (for boys) and string bikinis (for ladies) and there were all manner of pinafore and variations between. It’s not the most convenient festival wear (seriously, having to pretty much undress every time you pee?) but I’m not going to diss a fashion trend I don’t understand. Power to you playsuit ladies and dungaree men.
- Tie-dye. It’s back. Heaven help us. But tie-dye is back with a vengeance. I remember once I was bleaching my hair and I splashed peroxide all down the front of a black Cure t-shirt. I was devastated. I was worried I’d be mistaken for a hippie instead of a goth. And that was when hypercolour was in. Imagine my surprise to see tie-dye everywhere at Falls. I can’t explain it. Although one of our writers wore a white shirt on day 2 which by nightfall looked like it had been dyed. I just can’t work this one out. Your thoughts are welcome.