Me and Glenn in our 2011/12 volunteer t-shirts.
By the time this has been published, I will be somewhere between Hobart and Marion Bay, on my way to spend New Years at the Falls Music and Arts Festival [oh, how wonderful it is to be able to schedule blog posts]. We’ve got a group of four working at the festival this year [amongst all the other hard-working staff and volunteers] – myself, Glenn, Georgie and Isaac – and it should be another lovely festival experience.
Glenn, Georgie and I were volunteers at Falls last year, and as I never got around to writing about it on here [due to summer travels and the excitement of starting my new course, amongst other things], I thought I’d do so now.
The beautiful Marion Bay beach.
The Perks of Being a Volunteer:
Volunteering at a festival like this is absolutely the way to go. Some of the jobs may not seem like the most glamorous of roles [picking up rubbish with the Green Team, for example], but you only have to work for twelve hours throughout the entire festival, and the perks far outweigh the negatives. Staff and volunteers arrive at the site a day earlier than the punters – so you get to see everything when it’s still clean. You get access to your own campground, which is not accessible to the general public and has slightly cleaner toilets and hot showers. If you’re working over a mealtime, lunch and/or dinner is provided – and the food is good. And, most importantly, staff and volunteers tend to be fairly awesome people – so you’re likely to make a bunch of new friends.
Last year, Glenn and I worked behind the main stage in Artist Liaison, setting up the dressing rooms for the artists, and ensuring that their riders were ready on time [being a festival volunteer veteran and having worked with bands before really worked in my favour in landing that role, I think]. Our shifts were pretty early on in the day, so we didn’t get to see any of the really big names, but it was still very cool [and not nearly as glamorous as it sounds – there was a lot of wheeling tubs of drinks in wheelbarrows and mopping floors].
The VIP bar was also the venue for our staff afterparty.
There are heaps of different roles available. Georgie and Em worked a couple of shifts in Ticket Check – making sure that only paying punters got through the gates. I think Georgie also did a shift in the Info Tent. Other jobs include Carparking and Wristbanding.
At the end of the festival, once all of the punters have left, there’s a big staff party held in the VIP tent. There’s good food, and live music. And for those people who didn’t get access during the festival, it’s a great opportunity to explore the stage and backstage areas. Last year we also took the opportunity to explore the abandoned goods left behind in the punter campgrounds. There were some intriguing and disturbing finds.
The Field Stage line up.
Music and the Festival Itself:
Friday 30th Dec: I was working during Kimbra‘s performance, but I very much enjoyed what I heard. She looked like a doll, wearing a little pink dress with a fluffy petticoat. After my shift ended, I managed to catch a little bit of Josh Pyke, who was consistently good [as you’d expect]. Leading up to the festival, I’d been listening to quite a bit of The Grates, so I caught the start of their set, before rushing over to the Field Stage to see Nouvelle Vague. They had everyone dancing to their French-accented renditions of 80s new wave classics, and were absolutely one of my highlights of the festival. I’d love to see them again. Afterwards, it was back over to the Valley Stage for Aloe Blacc, who I’d never heard of before [turns out I knew one song: “I Need a Dollar”], but whose performance was quite impressive.
DJ Yoda‘s video DJ presentation was amazing. His set was nothing like what I’d listen to normally, but I’d never seen a multimedia DJ set before, and was mesmerised. Regurgitator, on the other hand, were unimpressive. Unit is an album for immature teenage boys, and even “Polyester Girl” didn’t win me over. I’m also keen for this trend of playing entire albums as a festival set to end. It’s fine for your own gig, but at a festival it’s better to just play the hits.
Despite not playing “Cornerstone” or “Fake Tales of San Francisco” [ie. my two favourite Arctic Monkeys songs], the Arctic Monkeys‘ set rocked. ‘Twas the perfect end to the first musical night of the festival.
Saturday 31st Dec: From what I could hear backstage, I enjoyed An Horse, Grouplove and Beirut. After our shift, we were surprised to see Missy Higgins back in action, after her musical hiatus. As we now know, she’s back and better than ever – but at the time, it was a shock to hear her new material [and see her special guest: Butterfly Boucher]. Fleet Foxes drew me in with their beautiful harmonies, and Tim Finn played a set riddled with all sorts of Split Enz and Crowded House numbers.
We were lucky to have The Kooks playing the New Years Eve headline slot, and they were perfect. I often write them off a little bit, despite having seen them live before. I really enjoy their music, but never really thought of them as a decent live act. Well, that all changed. Luke the Kook and his comrades rung in 2012 brilliantly. It was an excellent start to the new year.
Mmm, chips. I ate a lot of chips.
Other things of note:
Food at Falls is always top notch. I think I managed to eat different chips with every meal. The market stalls were pretty good, too. There was a guy selling all sorts of pop culture t-shirts, and I bought one with Dave Grohl on it. It’s pretty awesome.
Over at the Field Stage, the bar had Bulmers on tap, which was great. Unfortunately the Field Stage bar closes with the stage at 7pm each night, which isn’t wonderful. There was also a great alcoholic ginger beer stall at that stage. I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called, but I really hope it’s back this year. That stuff was delicious.
There were a couple of technical difficulties with the movies on the 29th, but we ended up watching The Breakfast Club before retiring to bed. They project the films on a screen next to the stage on the first night, and it’s great to take a picnic blanket and set yourself up with lollies and hot chocolate [from the coffee place shaped like a rocket ship – trust me, it’s the best].
So, that was last year’s festival. Hopefully when I return from this year’s adventure, I’ll have more amazing things to report. Or maybe it’ll be awful. Only time will tell…