Excitement mixed in with a little bit of sadness is the ultimate vibe shifting around in the Falls Festival campgrounds this morning, and it’s understandable as we have arrived at the third and final day of the festival. With hopes high for predicted light showers to cool us down, I packed my bag accordingly and ventured off with high spirits and a raincoat I was praying wasn’t a windbreaker.
Ball Park Music were the first band we managed to get to on this particularly hot day and was totally surprised at their sizeable crowd baking in the afternoon sun. The band was very considerate, continuously mentioning the heat and thanking everyone for enduring it saying: “It’s just fucked up. I feel ashamed. It’s not my fault but I feel ashamed.”. They needn’t have worried though as their performance alone gave the crowd all the reasons in the world to stick it out. With their indie pop/rock tunes blasting around the amphitheatre it was obvious the amount of love the Brisbane band was receiving from fans and their lack of ‘fillers’ was exceptional, playing crowd favourite after crowd favourite. The punters seemed to be enjoying themselves so much that they started a spur of the moment can-can line containing at least a hundred people. It was quite the site and was definitely a highlight over the festival weekend.
After deciding that our poor stomaches had grumbled enough, we headed to the main food tent to grab something to chow down on before venturing over to see the DMA’s. Once arrived at said food tent, it quickly became obvious from the size of the crowd that was tirelessly moving towards the forest stage, that a visual experience of the DMA’s set was not going to be possible so we settled on getting some nachos and enjoying their talent from the food tent. You could hear the humongous crowd singing along to nearly every song showing their devotion to the Sydney band and I was glad that we decided to stay back and let some of their bigger fans take our place.
It was nearing the evening now and you could see the signs of a huge storm brewing in the distance but most people believed, that without a doubt, it would be all talk and no action but after a few sneaky beers and a good chat with some old friends it started bucketing down. Preoccupied by saving out tent from turning into a swamp, I realised that unless I could cover the distance from the campsite to the Amphitheatre (all the way over the other side of the festival) in three minutes, I was going to be late to my most anticipated band of the entire festival, Catfish and The Bottlemen.
I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my life and the sudden torrential downpour was definitely not helping my case. I apologise to whoever witnessed my exasperated little face running furiously towards the amphitheatre but it was necessary and I was not gonna miss the start of this band. Luckily I arrived with a minute to spare and stood in the rain showing off a stupid smile which stayed plastered to my face even when I discovered that my raincoat was in fact wind breaker and I was going to be soaking wet for the remainder for the night.
My smile did start to waver, however, after an hour went by and Catfish and the Bottlemen had still yet to take the stage. Punters were starting to ditch and I overheard one young scot say, “If I’d had wanted it to piss down, I would have gone to fucking Glastonbury!”. I couldn’t agree more my fellow festival goer but there wasn’t really much you could do about it other than wimp out or grow some balls and hold on. Important people who looked very warm and dry in their raincoats continued to tease us and perform soundcheck after soundcheck. Just as I started to believe that I was going to become the rain the band finally, an hour and a half after their original starting time, took to the stage.
It was an incredible show that everyone who walked out on it would have been gutted to miss. The band played hits from both their albums and kept the crowd happy despite their shorter set time due to the weather. It was a rewarding experience and the English band seemed quite comfortable in the familiarity of the rain. People huddled for warmth and jumped up and down partly to keep warm and partly because they’re having such great time. I’m not sure if I’m biased due to Catfish and the Bottlemen being one of my all-time favourite bands but I felt a connection to each and every person that I hadn’t felt all weekend and it was something magical that made me realise why festivals are such a great experience.
Thank you Falls Festival for such a tremendous weekend filled with weather from the most extreme ends of the spectrum, fantastic international bands that provided some of the best entertainment I’ve ever seen and the most kind, helpful and fun-loving punters to share it with.