It’s been a few weeks since 2017 wrapped up and with it, one of our favourite New Year’s events – The Falls Music and Arts Festival. In its 25th anniversary year, many were sceptical as the initial line-up didn’t seem as grand or impressive as the last (with huge names in 2016 such as Childish Gambino, Matt Corby, Violent Soho and The Avalanches).
That being said, clearly those people didn’t look a little closer, because Falls 2017 was well beyond packed with insanely talented acts that turned the four-day festival into arguably the best way to spend NYE.
Set in the green hills of the Otways, the Lorne leg kicked off with powerful and energetic sets from Confidence Man, indie crowd-favourites The Jungle Giants, and of course, ex-pop-star-turned-meme; Daryl Braithwaite. The 70-year-old front man smashed through old Sherbet classics and his solo one-hit wonders, before ending with a 10-minute rendition of ‘The Horses’ that had everyone singing (screaming) along.
Friday night brought head-banging performances from DZ Deathrays and Dune Rats, before Foster the People crowded the stage with almost an excessive number of members and instruments. Their set perfectly complimented the relaxed yet building atmosphere and the Valley Stage prepared for one of Falls’ biggest names – Flume. Australia’s favourite home-grown producer exploded into his pumping electronic beats, only stopping briefly to re-start his Hottest 100 winning-track, ‘Never Be Like You’ (call it accidental or intentional – everyone loves him too much to question him).
Saturday was probably the favourite day, with arguably smaller but equally impressive acts like Slum Sociable, Bad//Dreems, Touch Sensitive and Methyl Ethyl packing the mosh-pits and tents with excited fans. Yet it was the all-female rockers Camp Cope who stole the afternoon, filling the Grand Theatre, making a huge and very necessary statement on the lack of female artists on the line-up.
The infamous loud-mouth of Liam Gallagher dominated his set on the Valley Stage in the early evening, demonstrating his ability to stay relevant and talented in days long since his Oasis fame. Unsurprisingly, it was the big acts such as The Kooks and of course Peking Duk who drew the largest crowds, partying until well-beyond midnight with their intense, production-heavy performance. The boys managed to bring out extra guests including Safia’s Ben Woolner to further cement their live set as one of Australia’s most exciting and impressive.
The NYE line-up was good enough to stop people staying at their campsite all afternoon, with favourites including D.D. Dumbo, Angus and Julia Stone, The Smith Street Band and Glass Animals performing consecutively before US rappers Run The Jewels pounded our ears with their smashing midnight set. Although it wasn’t one of the better acts of the festival, the duo undoubtedly had everyone up and jumping around to welcome in the New Year. Vince Staples delivered a confusing yet brilliant set in the early morning, with party professionals Heaps Gay DJs bringing the love and good vibes all through the night.
The weather at Falls was as temperamental as ever; one moment sunny, the next pouring rain – ironically reflective of the rollercoaster that was 2017. But despite a few lost tarps and muddy shoes, Falls definitely provided us with everything we could’ve wanted from a NYE festival. Great food and beer, greater tunes, and an awesome community of music-lovers to experience it with!
Happy New Year!
Where: Lorne, Victoria
When: 28 – 31 December
Reviewed by Zach Edwards