The inaugural Falls Music & Arts Festival at the North Byron Parklands site, Yelgun, is being hailed as a big success with ‘mellow’ and smiling crowds enjoying the smorgasbord of performers, in mild, balmy weather.
Regular Byron festival-goers say the new layout of the venue, home for the larger mid-year Splendour in the Grass festival which was also held there for the first time in 2013, was a huge improvement.
Traffic snarls, bus delays, long queues, long walks and longer waits, which marred the last Splendour festival, were a thing of the past for The Falls, which contributed to the easygoing atmosphere there during the past three days.
The natural amphitheatre set in an undulating valley on the site easily and comfortably catered for the thousands and thousands in the mostly interstate crowd and was the feature’s open-air improvement of the new site, still being transformed.
While more than 12,000 people plus so far have enjoyed popular international acts such as the The Roots, one of the biggest hip-hop acts in the USA, Vampire Weekend and The Cat Empire, the festival finale today and tonight also has major drawcards such as Violent Femmes, Neil Finn, The Wombats and MGMT.
Meanwhile, New Years Eve celebrations around the region appeared to go without a major hitch as police reported well-behaved crowds at all major tourist spots on the north coast.
In Byron Bay, 19 arrests were made for antisocial behaviour and two police responding to a melee on Main Beach around 11pm escaped injury after they were hit with beer bottles thrown by some drunken youth.
A police vehicle window was also broken in the isolated attack.
That was the major reported incident in an otherwise peaceful event on the north coast’s main tourist mecca, where thousands of youth from all over Australia and around the world celebrated with local families.
Hospitals around the region also reported a normal mid-week night with no rush of patients to deal with over the night at Byron, Ballina, Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Lismore and Mullumbimby.