Firstly: Falls is tent city. It’s camping… with roughly 10,000 of your closest friends and lots of music playing pretty much all the time. Mosquitoes, steaming hot days, cold nights, sleeping bags and big containers of water that go warm in the sun, but fear not: it doesn’t have to be completely traumatic and filthy if you don’t want it to be. There are plenty toilets on site, taps and sinks for clean hands and free water all the time. There aren’t any showers, but that ceases to matter when everyone else is in a similar predicament; people are generally having too much of a good time to be judgemental! I’m not a huge fan of camping at the best of times, but I found adequate salvation in deodorant, dry shampoo, sweet-smelling facial wipes and a big, colourful headband. Oh, and lots of water and sunscreen. Three days in the blazing sunshine cannot be braved without them!
One of the most common gripes I’ve heard about Falls (and most other music festivals) is regarding the drug and alcohol culture: people tend to imagine rowdy, out-of-control young people making fools of themselves in the wilderness on a base diet of warm beer and Burger Rings. I have no doubt that such young people exist and attend music festivals; however, they definitely weren’t the majority at Marion Bay last summer. The festival is designed to be a family-friendly event, with parents and their children enjoying the daytime atmosphere as much as anyone else. Alcohol is sold at Falls, but only during specific night-time hours and BYO is completely off-limits. In fact, regulation is so strict that potentially car-dismantling searches are undertaken: anyone found trying to smuggle drugs or alcohol (and anyone else in their car) is refused entry without a refund. That isn’t to say that everyone that tries to be sneaky is caught, but it does mean that there is practically no incentive to potentially disadvantage yourself or the people around you (wouldn’t you be fuming if someone in your carpool ruined the trip for everyone?).
To be frank, I think that if you like music, being social, the outdoors and making new friends, the Falls Festival is something you should try at least once. It’s an expensive venture and it can be a bit of a culture shock if you’re not used to sleeping rough (or generally being around 10000 people in a relatively small space) but Falls isn’t all offensive teenagers and illicit substances. It’s folk music, rock music, dance music, roots music, blues music and nearly any other music you can imagine – blended with spectacular scenery, people from all walks of life and what may end up being your most memorable camping trip. I’m probably a little biased, though, so – what are your thoughts on music festivals and young people? Have you been to Falls? How did you find it? Have a comment!
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