BANNED: A West Indies' supporter wearing an indian head dress during the ICC World Cup match between South Africa and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.
BANNED: A West Indies' supporter wearing an indian head dress during the ICC World Cup match between South Africa and the West Indies at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Sydney, Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. DEAN LEWINS

What you won't be wearing to Falls fest this year

THE 2018/2019 Falls Festival will be marked by great music, awesome fun and a some fantastic anecdotes to last for a lifetime, but there will be no Indian headdresses in sight as the festival has added the ornamental headwear to the list of banned items.

Bass Coast, a Canadian music festival, was one of the first to announce policy banning concert-goers from wearing headdresses onsite in 2014.

Recently, similar bans have been announced by Tall Tree, Bass Coast, Montreal's Osheaga, IleSoniq and Heavy Montreal in Canada, plus England's Glastonbury Festival, just to name a few.

According to Tanya Harnett, professor at the UAlberta's Faculty of Native Studies, while Native North American jewellery is often for sale to tourists, headdresses are different.

"Traditional headdresses are given and earned - not only are they not something a non-indigenous person should purchase or wear, but they are also not something indigenous people would buy or make for themselves."

The items were not in the list of items banned last year and there is no official explanation on why was the item banned.

HEAD LINERS: Non traditional head dresses should be fine to wear, like the one in this image from last year's Falls Byron Bay.
HEAD LINERS: Non traditional head dresses should be fine to wear, like the one in this image from last year's Falls Byron Bay. Lyn McCarthy

The festival is also now plastic water bottle-free, "to be more environmentally sustainable".

"There will be no single-use plastic water bottles onsite. Please remember to bring a reusable bottle to refill at our freshwater stations. If you forget, we will have them available at the merch stands."

Here is a handy check-list and guide on how to survive Falls Festival and leave only with great memories.

Follow the BOM: Not the drums! The Bureau! Weather forecast is for hot days of up to 32 degrees on December 31 and January 1 with very little chance of rain. So, no need for rain ponchos but ensure you pack some wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen and hydration is recommended, besides comfortable wear for hot days.

What not to take: Besides Indian headdresses, Falls also does not allow any of the following items onsite: glass, BYO alcohol, drugs, sound systems, pets, couches, large furniture or port-a-loos, weapons, bean bags, lasers, umbrellas, fireworks, gas bottles, sparklers, drones, selfie sticks, flyers, scooters, skateboards and professional cameras. Staff, police and security will be searching for the items and harsh penalties (including immediate ejection) will apply.

Also not allowed: Items are banned from the main arena are glass, cans, illegal drugs, skateboards, boogie boards, milk / bread crates, chairs (folding, portable, camping), anything studded (belts, wristbands, etc.), weapons of any kind, fireworks, fire twirling devices, warning flares, video and tape recording devices (including GoPros), professional still cameras (small still cameras are allowed), laser lights, umbrellas (use a plastic poncho or a raincoat instead), water pistols, any other items considered illegal or dangerous, animals, drones, selfie sticks.

 

Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay.
Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Strictly no BYO: Aunty Clare' brew may be delish but it's a no-no at Falls. As part of the festival permit to run Falls, organisers have been given some strict conditions by Police and Licensing Authorities. A big one is absolutely no BYO at the festivals. Police have made it clear that this is a strong focus for them. Falls will be doing thorough vehicle searches to look for BYO. This year they need to refuse entry to all patrons in any car that has BYO booze on board. Even if it's just one person who's done the wrong thing, unfortunately, the whole car will be going home.

The poochie factor and stick-power: Falls will have police on-site patrolling the main festival areas and the camp-grounds. Sniffer dogs are also likely to be in attendance this year. You can expect to see increased police and security presence at the festival, there will also be 'wanding'. This is just like walking through that metal detector thing at the airport only this time it's a wand. It's going to slow down the entry process so be prepared for some delays, so please be patient. If you have any concerns or see anything that you are not sure about, please do not hesitate to speak to police, security or Falls staff. Random breath and saliva testing units will be located on roads exiting each site so please take advantage of the free breath testing facilities available to you before you jump behind the wheel.

 

Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay.
Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Look after each other: There have been some tragic endings to music festivals around Australia lately. Don't risk your life by taking drugs or drinking irresponsibly. If your mates talk to you about it don't get 'aggro'. If you or your friends have overindulged, head straight to one of our medical centres or chill out areas for help. No judgment, just help. Make it to 2019 in one piece.

When smaller is better: Any bags over 30 cm wide x 20 cm high will not be allowed into the event area so pack light and embrace the #bumbag. Campers can take larger bags to the camp-grounds but not into the event area. There is an exception to this: bags to house essential medical items will be allowed into the event area, however, these bags and items will be subject to a search each time you enter the event area. Check out bag sizes here.

 

Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay.
Falls Festival punters on the third day of the festival in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

People smugglers not welcome: Any car found harbouring trespassers will be immediately ejected as will all other passengers in that same vehicle. Anyone found entering the festival grounds without a valid ticket or wristband will be handed over to the police and escorted from the festival site and prosecuted. You cannot enter the main arena without a valid wristband.

Don't light my fire: Falls is a Total Fire Ban event; this includes fireworks, flares, sparklers and all cooking facilities. If you have a gas bottle attached to your camper please remove it. Large fines of up to $2000 will be issued to those that don't follow this rule. Bring esky food, with top picks: cereal, milk, bread, salads, tomatoes, fruit, cold meats, deli items, fruit, cheese, dips, biscuits, chips, nuts and lollies and share them with friendly reporters and photographers.

 

Audiences watch Angus and Julia Stone on the third day of Falls Festival in Byron Bay.
Audiences watch Angus and Julia Stone on the third day of Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Marc Stapelberg

Hotline Bling: This year there will be patron safety hotlines for calls regarding urgent safety, medical or security matters on-site. There is also a customer service text line to let organisers know about things issues that need their attention: toilets without paper, overflowing bins, dirty showers etc. These numbers will be visible around site and in the festival app. Please note that standard text and call charges apply, the text line does not send SMS replies.

  • BYRON BAY HOTLINE: 1300 940 928
  • BYRON BAY TEXT LINE: 0429 869 832

 

Courtney at Falls Festival
Courtney at Falls Festival Lyn McCarthy

Lost in transit?: Lost your phone, car keys or other important 'stuff' while at Falls? If you're a serial 'loser' then you're going love Crowdfind. This new web based platform will allow you to easily log your lost item and make enquiries about that item. Look for 'Lost & Found' under Event Info in the Falls Mobile App or check here for Byron Bay . Please remember, don't bring your valuables and precious heirlooms to Falls.

Bus around: The festival will have shuttle buses running to North Byron Parklands from Tweed Heads in the north and Suffolk Park in the south. Buses will be stopping at:

- North: Kingscliff/ Tweed Coast / Pottsville ; Coolangatta / Tweed Heads / Chinderah; Murwillumbah / Burringbar / Crabbes CReek; and a bus direct to the Gold Coast airport.

- Byron Shire: Ocean Shores / New Brighton / South Golden Beach / Mullumbimby / Brunswick Heads / Byron Bay / Suffolk Park

Get up to speed with the musos: From Vance to Toto and from Dizee to Amy. How well do you know your Falls Festival musicians? Listen to them on your way to the festival with the Spotify Falls Playlist:

For more details visit the festival's website.