Saturday, January 7, 2012

Falls Fest Fun

Over the holidays, we went to the Falls Fest. This is a music festival held every year in both Lorne (on the Great Ocean Road) and at Marion Bay in Tasmania. We thought it would be a good excuse to visit Tasmania, so we flew into Hobart on Friday, December 30 and met up with our friends Todd and Alena. This was a two day festival, so we camped onsite with 15,000 or so other people. It wasn't as crazy as it sounds, though the lines for the bathroom could be a bit annoying!

See the bubbles?
The site was beautiful. The main stage was set against the backdrop of the water and mountains, and we had HOT weather on both days. Seriously, I probably put on more sunscreen that weekend than I have in my entire life altogether. Workers were actually walking around pumping it out for free. Tasmania isn't usually known for being that warm, but it sure was when we were there.

After listening to music all day and night on Friday, we headed to the beach on Saturday morning before the afternoon acts we wanted to see. Everyone else had the same idea, and there was actually a line to get on the sectioned off area of the beach where festival-goers were allowed. We got tired of the line and followed some folks who took us on a "shortcut" which required walking through heavy brush and slogging through a chest-deep river (with our clothes and bags held above our heads) to get to the beach. People who went the normal way got to use a bridge! But it was all good; we enjoyed cooling off in the waves and playing some games on the beach. I think I even took a nap on the sand for a bit. Oh yeah, and I put on tons of sunscreen!

Some of my favorite acts from the weekend included Kimbra...
Kimbra sort of looks like Katy Perry and sounds like Jessie J.
...Young MC...
This is the guy who sings "Bust A Move"-it was hilariously awesome!
...and the Fleet Foxes.
These were the guys Zack was waiting to see all weekend.
I also liked Aloe Blacc (he sings the "I Need A Dollar" song). Other acts included Arctic Monkeys, The Jezabels, Crystal Castles, Beirut, and many more. This picture is from some crazy festival parade that went through on Saturday night. I guess there was a tent where people made strange costumes and decorations for this. Anyway, the whole festival reminded us a lot of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, but with less of a hippie vibe. The whole festival was very well-run, and we enjoyed hearing good music in the Tasmanian sunshine and bringing in the new year with friends and thousands of other festival-goers.

If you are one of our Australian readers or happen upon this blog and plan on going to the Falls Fest, below are my helpful hints. International readers, you probably won't care about this stuff.

1. You can't bring any sort of cooking device, so you will pretty much be stuck eating the food sold at the festival. Don't worry-there are tons of choices, and they are all pretty good. And the prices are very reasonable. We were big fans of the pizza cones!
2. Bring plenty of cash. Food stalls only take cash, and the line to get drink tickets is much shorter if you're not using a card.
3. You have to get tickets to buy drinks. Again, they are reasonably priced for Australia ($5 for a beer and $7.50 for wine/spirits). Ticket lines can get long, so get your tickets early and use them later. But they are only good for the day you buy them, so make sure you only buy as many as you're going to use, or it's a waste.
4. The pink camp is the only one with showers, and the lines for them are ridiculously long in the morning. Try going in the late afternoon during some act you don't mind if you miss.
5. Bathroom lines are long at times. Don't line up behind boys (they have a urinal trough for #1s, so you know why they're in line for the toilets!). Instead, try the lines at the inner corners of the right angles; people tend to get confused there and sometimes there is nobody waiting for those.
6. Get to the beach early on Saturday morning (and it's kind of a long walk to get there), and then relax while everyone else waits in line to get on the beach.
7. Be prepared to stay up late if you want to see some of the acts. Lesser known ones start in the late morning, but some go until 3am! We chose to miss the Arctic Monkeys (playing past midnight) because we had gotten up that morning at 4am to catch our flight (and we hated the act playing before them).
8. Bring a hat and lots of sunscreen for the days. Glow bracelets and such are fun to have at night, along with warm clothes, because when the sun is gone, it gets pretty darn cold!
9. Bring or buy cheap chairs. It's wonderful to just chill on them all afternoon while listening to music. And you won't feel like you lost lots of money if you have to dump them after the festival.
10. The shuttle service from Hobart Airport to the festival site and back works well and is affordable. Rental cars in Tasmania are expensive, so not having to pay for just storing a car on site was nice. Book/pay ahead of time to make your life easier.
11. Bring or note some sort of flag/sign/marker to find your campsite. There are tons of tents, and it's hard to find yours in the maze, especially at night.
12. Bring earplugs if you can't sleep through the sound of music and/or people talking. Everyone seemed to stay up pretty late and get up very early!
13. Some people seemed to have brought their Halloween costumes. We saw Waldos (called Wally here), Mario/Luigi, a Borat mankini, a banana, a light-up suit, a gorilla, and more. Mostly these costumes were worn by guys; I think they were a strategy to get attention from and pick up girls. So if that's what you're looking to do, bring a costume I guess.
14. Stay a couple of extra days before or after the festival to visit Tasmania.
15. Have fun-it's a nice festival and a good way to visit Tasmania and do something cool for New Year's Eve!


  1. I'm so jealous: I LOVE the Fleet Foxes! Tickets sold out for their Melbourne show before we could buy some - total bummer. Glad you had a good time in Hobart :-)

  2. Aw-we should have had you guys over the other evening! Our place overlooks the Palais Theatre, and Zack was on the balcony saying he could hear them. Then he spent the whole next day playing "Helplessness Blues" on his guitar!

  3. The falls fest is joyous event in Australia that will definitely make you delighted and entertained after you have taken cheap flights to Australia for a perfect holiday trip. There is truly so much one can do on this auspicious event.