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Falls Festival 2013/14

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by Owen Chow (subscribe)
"If you are truly passionate about something, then there is no other way to live than pursuing and growing while fully engaged in your love."
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The Spills, The Thrills, The Falls
Falls Music Festival 2013/2014 is beginning today, so it would be good to apply the lessons of yesteryear, like people who repeat high school might tell you. And possibly the street price of LSD, if you pressed hard enough.

Falls goes on at three separate locations, in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. I was in Tasmania, so I was at Marion Bay which is gigantic countryside ringed by woods. You get an interesting crowd at Falls. You get entire families that drive up and then plonk down tent mansions. And you get people that stay inside their tents listening to stereos rather than the bands, like my neighbours did.

Falls Music Festival 2012 2013
And here I thought Australia was a first world country...

Being a poor student who had flown in to Tasmania, I tried to only buy dinner, much like how an alcoholic only tries one drink. I started trading because I was sick of croissants and baked beans. I bartered for milk and cereal and tuna like a modern Christopher Columbus, reaching out to lost peoples and taking their stuff, so in the end, balance was restored and I didn't starve to death.

There was a strong arts component to Falls. Stand-up comedy plays away from the main stages Costumed performers showed up on stages, around the dirt paths, but all seemed to orbit around The Village, which is an entire circus section. Brightly patterned tents hid boxes of streamers and glitter and masks and string and glue and even brighter people. Stunts, plays and acts scampered on and culminated in the Falls Fiesta costume parade. I'd always wanted an excuse to cover myself in colour and attract violent homophobes much like the brightest flower draws in the biggest, horniest bees. I was in the middle, reasoning I would have more bodies between me and potential knives and also to not look like the losers at the back, and thus prove my festivity was above theirs in the dress-up hierarchy. You've got to take your wins when you get them.

Falls Music Festival 2012 2013
Stay tuned for the next exciting issue of the mighty Pink Spartan and his equally mighty sidekick Didn't Even Try.

These festivals are fuelled by high emotion. There is a lifestyle associated with them. There is a whole crowd that love the outdoors, dancing and drugs, and people don't just go for the acts but for the vibes of seeing hundreds of party-goers, of wild music and adventure and camping. The grounds were always busy, there was always chatting or laughing and the music pounded deep into the night.

Falls Music Festival 2012 2013

Honestly I didn't know all the bands there, because my friends were into alternative music. I went to everything I could. I know there were famous bands like The Flaming Lips, Jinja Safari and Two Door Cinema Club, but they don't play my kind of music so I sat there and enjoyed it, drinking the days away. Coolio was there, and from far out the sound quality was shitty, but when 'Gangster's Paradise' blared out, the heads were bobbing into the horizon.

Moshing to Hilltop Hoods was always going to be big, because most people actually knew who they were. I was rubbing against people, flailing my fists and screaming, as if I was being murdered at a club or having decent sex. The part when my face was squashed against someone's armpit was an experience, but the highlight was definitely when someone's elbow connected with my right eye and thoroughly recommended as part of the quintessential experience. If I wanted to murder someone I would probably throw them into a mosh pit.

Falls Music Festival 2012 2013
I lost a ring a good friend the night before in the field and found it just before the buses departed. It took hours. The ring was tiny. This is now my lucky photo. Here another unlucky patron possibly searches for his wedding band, or spare change.

I was desperate to leave by the end of it, not because I didn't have the time of my life but because I hadn't showered or slept well in four days and music can only substitute for warm food for only so long. As long as you like at least two of the acts, I think it's definitely worth going if you embrace the lifestyle. It's a chance to dance to live music in a beautiful setting, to camp in a vibrant community and feel the good vibrations of hundreds roaring to the same song.
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Why? Exciting atomsphere, live music, beautiful venue.
When: Well 2012 is obviously over, but Falls occurs at the end of December every year.
Where: Marion Bay, Tasmania.
Cost: 3 day tickets are $250, but they provide a tent for the whole festival for $350.
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