Falls Festival returns with new waste initiatives and greater security to keep patrons safe
There will be greater security after assaults in the mosh pit were reported at the past two events. (Facebook: Viridian Photos)
For many young Tasmanians, the Falls Festival is a New Year’s Eve rite of passage.
Up to 15,000 revellers make the pilgrimage to Marion Bay in the state’s south-east to see out the year.
This year, they will take in the sounds of acts including Dizzee Rascal, Chvrches, Hilltop Hoods, Interpol and millennial favourite, Toto.
There will be greater security on site for the three-day event (December 29-31), with a new platform to the right of the stage for police and security to monitor the crowd.
A sexual assault support counsellor will also be in attendance, after reports of assaults in the mosh pit and elsewhere on site at the past two festivals.
Organisers are also trying to boost the festival’s sustainability credentials by implementing a campaign to encourage patrons to bring their own drink bottles and coffee cups to refill.
A compost bin initiative will also be trialled for what’s left of the tens of thousands of meals served at the site.
Patrick Beveridge and Abby Allen are encouraging patrons to look after each other. (ABC Radio Hobart: Helen Shield)
Getting ready at ticket sales build
About 700 staff and volunteers make the festival happen; manager Abby Allen said preparations had been in full swing for several months.
“It’s very busy behind closed doors and the secret gates of the festival,” she said.
Ms Allen and site manager Patrick Beveridge are tasked with making sure the mammoth event runs smoothly.
There’ll be about 80 staff collecting and sorting rubbish, and loo crews working 24 hours a day to manage up to eight tonnes of human waste.
“Paddy and I have been here for a solid few months, and obviously the teams build and get larger and larger, and now that we’re in December we’ve got a full team on site,” she said.
As to how many they’re expecting, Tasmanians are notorious for not buying tickets to events until the last minute.
“We never really know,” she said.
“There’s a big, big rush on ticket sales at the moment, so hopefully that will get us up to a full and happening show.”
About 80 staff will collect and manage rubbish during the festival. (ABC Radio Hobart: Helen Shield)
Keeping revellers safe
Following sexual assaults as the festival in 2016 and 2017, tighter security will be in place throughout the site.
Many different organisations work together to keep patrons safe, including police and security staff, as well as St John Ambulance and the Sexual Assault Support Service.
Ms Allen said doctors would also be on site.
“We’ve got viewing platforms for security and police to keep an eye on the mosh pit.
“They’ll be roaming around the site, keeping an eye out for patrons. Help is only a few metres away if they need it.”
Signs encouraging patrons to look after each other will also be place around the venue.
A new security viewing platform will be located to the right of the stage. (ABC News: Jane Ryan)
While in its 16th year in Tasmania, there are some new features to look out for.
Organisers have promised a new elevated shade area at the main stage to protect revellers from the harsh sun.
“It gives the punters a new opportunity to sit and chill out and watch their favourite band,” Mr Beveridge said.
There’s also going to be a Jungle Bus, which Ms Allen said would be “part-disco, part-cocktail bar”, and more art projects showcasing everything from sculptures to light installations.
“People will have to keep their eyes open as they cruise around the site; there will be lots of beautiful things to see,” she said.
War on festival waste
The new composting initiative will be put to the test with all the waste that’s created over the festival’s three days.
“We want to see if we can educate the punters to put all the right organics in the right place,” Mr Beveridge said.
The waste will then be taken away and turned it into compost for the following year.
“It’ll turn into useful things for the site in years to come as well as minimising what leaves the site.”
The site has grown lavender since 2016 using compost from human waste and has started growing fruit trees as well.
The site grows lavender, with the help of compost made from human waste. (ABC Radio Hobart: Carol Rääbus)
“We’re looking at starting some sort of organic farmer’s garden,” Mr Beveridge said.
“We can then send the produce back into the Falls world — then we’re turning rubbish into edible products.”
Ms Allen said the permanent nature of the festival meant there was a greater responsibility to reduce waste, especially given the site was next to the ocean.
“We have a dear responsibility to make sure we do keep it clean.
“We are passionate about making sure patrons understand the risk of leaving waste behind.”
Staff will be posted at the campsites to encourage clean-ups, and tents left behind in good order will be donated to local charities.
“We’ve also got a talented local artist who turns broken tent material into bags,” Ms Allen said.
The message remains, however, to take everything home with you.
Organisers say there’s a great responsibility to ensure rubbish does not end up at the beach. (Facebook: Viridian Photos)
While the long-range outlook isn’t forecasting heavy rain or very hot temperatures, festival-goers are encouraged to pack for all seasons.
“My answer about the weather is always, ‘It doesn’t matter, we’ll be here anyway’,” Mr Beveridge said.
- Bring a good-quality tent, and take it home with you
- Pack clothes for all weather
- Bring a hat and sunscreen
- Wear solid shoes
- Bring a drink bottle to fill up and a coffee cup (coffee stalls will offer discounts for reusable cups)
Patrons are encouraged to bring their own drink bottle and refill it. (ABC Radio Hobart: Helen Shield)
Take it slow
Organisers are pleading with those driving to be patient when it comes to driving in and out of the festival — January 1 is known for its traffic jams.
A free barbecue breakfast will be held on New Year’s Day to encourage attendees to stick around and take it slow.
Ms Allen said unless you had a flight to catch, don’t rush out.
“Hang around and the enjoy the barbecue,” she said.
Police will be out in force conducting drug and alcohol tests, and the festival offers free breath testing for drivers.