This season’s Falls Festival closed with a splash in the wee hours this morning as Alison Wonderland sent the crowd on its way and thousands of punters were cleaned and refreshed with a spot of rain.
The vollies were awesome, the venue was fantastic and the kofta balls were cheap as festivallers passed through the gates of the North Byron Parklands for the 2016/17 Byron Falls Festival.
Organisers had all bases covered and the event ran smoothly in what turned into a stinker of a new year season with temperatures climbing into the 30s along the coast.
Festival director Brandon Saul said the event was sold out to capacity (22,500) over the three days of the festival with Grandmaster Flash, The Rubens and DMAs all drawing big crowds.
‘With the hot weather, many of our patrons took advantage of the regular shuttle buses to close by beaches to cool off during the day’, he said after the event.
‘For those who chose to stay on site throughout the day we put a lot of effort into keeping people cool and hydrated – the magnificent 12 pool water park was once again a huge hit as well as the numerous shaded venues with a variety of entertainment including the Forest Stage – a huge big top surrounded by trees.
‘We had free water refill stations, roving volunteers with back pack water sprayers and we handed out water and sunblock at the main stage.
Day three held some awesome acts in store and the hope that the weather might cool.
Hearing reports during the afternoon of a massive storm front crossing the state, folk at Falls thought they were in trouble.
Fat Freddy’s Drop were the last to play in the swelter and trombonist Joe Lindsay was up to his usual high energy hijinks, sans pants and shirt as the populace melted in the rising humidity.
When Bernard Fanning played the first few chords of a pleasantly chilled prelude, the gentle splashes of rain led fans to believe they had dodged a bullet.
It wasn’t until Catfish and the Bottlemen took the stage that the heavens broke open and the Valley Amphitheatre was closed as Falls staff rearranged the floor plan to keep the performers safe and (almost) dry.
The covered Forest Stage was a popular destination for many in the crowd but the Valley was hosting what thousands had come to see.
A delay of 45 minutes for the stage reset was the only pastel moment in a vibrant kaleidoscope of music and art and considering the lashing mother nature visited upon the North Byron Parklands, it was a testament to Falls organisers’ dedication to the fans that Catfish returned to the stage to play a huge set and were later followed by festival highlight London Grammar who delivered an epic set despite being hammered by wind and water, with Hannah Reid and the lads giving the crowd exactly what they had waited three days to hear.
‘The thunderstorm and rain on Monday night delayed acts on the main stage for 45 mins but London Grammar and Alison Wonderland still attracted big crowds,’ said Mr Saul.
‘It was a smooth exit from the site on Tuesday with some delay because of rain but all campers were off the site by 11.30am.
‘A huge amount of effort went into creating this festival and we would like to thank all the staff, service personnel and the army of over 500 volunteers.
‘The festival patrons themselves should also be congratulated – everyone commented on how friendly, polite and cooperative the patrons were and that it made this year’s Falls Music and Arts Festival Byron a great experience.”
Photos David Lowe and the Tree Faerie