The Falls Music & Arts Festival ft. Felix B (commonly known as Falls) is a multi-day music festival held annually in Lorne (Victoria), Marion Bay (Tasmania), Byron Bay (New South Wales) and Fremantle (Western Australia), Australia over the New Year's Eve and January period. The festival hosts contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, and other art forms. Camping is available and all locations have nearby beaches which are either walking distance or a short bus ride away. Artists playing at the festival include rock, hip hop, indie music, electronic music, blues and roots.
The festival started in 1993, with a small one-day concert, held in Lorne, Victoria, Australia, and was named Rock Above The Falls. The initial event attracted nearly 11,000 people, exceeding the organisers' expectations, and the organisers negotiated the use of neighbouring land to accommodate the crowd.
In 1995, the event adopted a two-day format, and in 1996 the name was changed to The Falls Music & Arts Festival. The 1999 festival was the first to be held off the Lorne site, moved temporarily to the Torquay site of the Offshore Festival due to poor weather.
In 2003, two events were held simultaneously for the first time; one in Lorne, and an additional event at Marion Bay, Tasmania. The same acts played at both events; the 30 December acts who played at Lorne, play 31 December at Marion Bay, and vice versa. Both the Lorne and Marion Bay festivals have continued to run simultaneously and artists continue to be exchanged between the two locations over the course of the festival. Subsequent festivals retained this two-location format.
In 2013 the Byron addition of the event was introduced, increasing the reach of the festival across the country.
The headline acts typically perform in the evening on 30 December and 31 December.
In 2008, the Falls Festival won the FasterLouder Festival Award for 'Best Lineup' and the following year the Marion Bay site received the 'Favourite Venue and Location' award.
The festival has a strong focus on sustainability, taking home the following awards over the past few years:Winner – Excellence in Sustainability Victorian Tourism Awards 2012
Winner – Excellence in Sustainability Victorian Tourism Awards 2013
Winner – Excellence in Sustainability Victorian Tourism Awards 2014 (inducted into the Hall of Fame)
Outstanding in the Greener Festival Awards 2012
Outstanding in the Greener Festival Awards 2013
Outstanding in the Greener Festival Awards 2014
Winner – Major Festivals & Events Tasmanian Tourism Awards 2013
Winner – Major Festivals & Events Tasmanian Tourism Awards 2014
Winner – Major Festival Australian Event Awards 2014
Performers at the 2003-04 event include Australian artists Xavier Rudd, The Beautiful Girls, Gerling, Regurgitator and The Waifs; and international acts Michael Franti and Spearhead, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, and Ozomatli. Like many Australian festivals, the event also promotes local bands, with Victorian and Tasmanian artists also performing at their respective state's festival. Solo female performer Missy Higgins promoted the release of her album and several singles, for which she was later recognised by receiving multiple awards at the ARIA Awards in 2005.
The 2004/05 festival was again held at both venues. Both sites sold out early – the only Falls Festival to sell as fast was the 1999 event. Artists performing at the event included:
Artists who performed at the 2005 event included:
In 2005 tickets for the Marion Bay festival sold out two and a half days after going on sale on 15 August, and Lorne tickets selling out one week after coming onsale.
Further allocations of tickets for both festivals were released during December and sold out within hours of coming on sale. An unlimited number of Falls Festival patrons were able to attend the 'Falls Cinema' on Thursday 29 December (one day earlier than the official kick-off) in an effort to minimize traffic congestion. In Tasmania, the number of tickets available were capped at 9000.
In early July, a new website for the 2006 event was launched. People were able to subscribe to the official mailing list and be entered into the draw to be offered tickets ahead of the official release date of 16 August. Subscribers that were selected were notified by 30 July. Tickets for the 2006 festival were put on sale as of 9 am, 16 August. All tickets to the Lorne event were gone in about 2 hours. The Marion Bay event followed suit, with all tickets sold out within 3.5 hours.
The announced performers as of 28 December, include:
Restrictions on ticket sales were made in 2006 (in the form of a ballot) in an attempt to curb the increasing practice of ticket resale, commonly known as 'scalping', as well as to make the access to tickets more equitable. The changes reflected similar alterations made to ticket sale procedures of other major Australian music festivals such as Splendour in the Grass and The Big Day Out. Previously, tickets had been released for sale in bulk and with no limit on the number of tickets able to be purchased by an individual, resulting in a high incidence of individuals purchasing multiple tickets, and a subsequent sell-out of tickets within 12 – 24 hours.
The restrictions included a purchasing limit of four tickets per any individual, as well as the initiation of an online ticket lottery, which randomly allocated the sale of approximately 50% of all tickets to a list of people who had registered their interest on the Festival's website. Tickets were also released on multiple dates rather than in bulk, to make sales more manageable and to increase consumer accessibility to the sale of tickets.
The artists at the festival of 2007/08 included:
(* Lorne Only), (** Marion Bay only)
Ticket purchasing procedures changed again in 2007, extending changes made to procedures in 2006. Changes included:the extension of the ticket lottery from 50% to 80% of all tickets – intended to increase the equity of ticket sale
the centralisation of all ticket sales to the Falls Festival Website – intended to eliminate the need to line up outside stores overnight in order to purchase a ticket, as well as prevent criminal problems associated with it such as littering and drinking in public
the inclusion of a name and date of birth printed on the Festival ticket – intended to further restrict scalping practices
Tickets went on sale to the general public on Monday 10 September at 9 am AEST, with the 14,500 tickets to the Lorne event selling out on the day they were released.
Those marked with an asterisk (*) played in Lorne only.
Those marked with a caret (^) played in Marion Bay only.
On 6 August 2009 some of the bands scheduled to play at the 2009 Falls Festival were leaked online due to a directory being left open on the official falls festival website. The organisers subsequently decided to officially release the entire first line-up announcement ahead of the scheduled 13 August release date.
On 7 October 2009 the Falls Festival announced that they would be putting on a pre-festival party, and extending the Falls Funk’n’Soul Revue to Lorne on 28 December. The extension of the revue made the Lorne festival a four-day event from 28 December to 1 January. The Funk’n’Soul Revue occurred over two days across the respective states, on the 28th in Lorne and on the 29th in Marion Bay with slightly differing lineups across the two locations.
In 2015 the events Lorne, Victoria venue was threatened by bushfires in the area and moved to Mount Duneed Estate, which is approximately 15 minutes from Geelong.