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Summer 2013 – 2014 Music Festival Survival Guide

Jessica-Anne Lyons

Mon Dec 09 2013


MELBOURNE is home to some of the biggest and best music festivals in the country. For first time festival-goers, Jessica-Anne Lyons has spoken to some music lovers who have been there for their best festival tips.

Sometimes music festivals are so crazy and full on that you really do feel like you’ve survived it by the end of the day.

While they can be long, hot days spent in the sun, they’re also awesome places for having an unforgettable time with your friends (and for catching some of your favourite music acts at the same time!).

We’ve rounded up some of the most popular festivals Melbourne has to offer (and one in Lorne for those of you planning a trip away) and chat to a few festival veterans for their best ‘been-there’ tips.

December 28 – January 1 – Falls Festival (Lorne)
Headlining: MGMT, Solange, The Roots and Vampire Weekend.
Other acts to look out for: Flight Facilities, Gossling, Grizzly Bear, Hermitude, London Grammar, The Rubens, The Wombats, Born Ruffians, Generik, Owl Eyes and Wolf & Cub.

Lauren from Deakin University shares her experience: Imagine a four-day camping trip with your friends, surrounded by great tunes in one of Victoria’s best beach towns. That’s the iconic Falls Festival in a nutshell and since it goes over a few days, it definitely requires a little more planning than the other festivals in this list.

What can people expect at Falls Festival?

It’s four days of next to no communication with the outside world and you camp out every night in your cars or tents. Plus there are next to no showers! However the music is amazing and everyone there is set to have a good time.

What should you bring?

I would come in a car as it’s easier than public transport and you can bring lots of bottled water and food that way. Don’t forget sunscreen and bug repellent, and I’d also suggest a jumper, because although it may be hot during the day it gets quite cold at night.

What is your advice for first timers going to Falls Festival?

The phone service is awful, so bring walkie-talkies in case you lose your friends or figure out a meeting point. Also try to experience everything Falls has to offer, from the small little gigs outside the main performance area, to the DJ sets at night.

January 24 – Big Day Out (Flemington Racecourse)
Headlining: Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion), Major Lazer and Steve Angello.
Other acts to look out for: Flume, The Lumineers, Tame Impala, Mac Miller, Grouplove, The Naked And Famous, Pez, The 1975, Loon Lake and Peking Duk.

Set around Australia day, the Big Day Out is as Aussie as it gets. Tickets can be pretty expensive (close to $200), but it’s well worth it to catch the fantastic lineups the event hosts every year, from both foreign to local acts. Eryn from RMIT University gives us her tips.

What can people expect at Big Day Out?

It’s super hot and expensive but I was lucky to go to the festival when it had a killer lineup so I enjoyed every minute. The crowds are massive so that was sometimes an issue as there can be lots of pushing and girls sitting on shoulders in front of you so you can’t see.

What should you bring?

Take a small bag – nothing too big – as well as sunscreen. Also bring cash so you don’t have to line up for the ATMs and pay $3 withdrawal fees.

What is your advice for first timers going to Big Day Out?

Don’t wear a skirt or anything uncomfortable. And definitely don’t wear thong sandals!

February 1 – St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival (Footscray Community Arts Centre and the river’s edge)
Acts to look out for: Lorde, Haim, Adalita, Cloud Control, Savages, The Jezabels and Vance Joy.

Known for its indie music acts, Laneway is held along the river edge so you can enjoy the scenery along with the music. Other than the tunes, you can also visit the market stalls at the festival, which have been curated by Finders Keepers. Jessie from Deakin University tells you what to expect.

What can people expect at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival?

People can expect a long and exhausting day, but it is worth it because it’s good vibes all round. It seemed everyone was really awesome and even though everyone is a stranger, folk were so friendly! The morning is really chill–I remember kicking back on the lawn watching the local acts, then by lunch the sun was beating down. Expect by nightfall everyone just dancing and loving.

What should you bring?

Definitely take a heap of water (my friend suffered heat stroke), sunscreen and a pair of comfy shoes.

What is your advice for first timers going to St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival?

Don’t try and plan out your times–just take it as it comes unless you have an artist you’re obsessing over. Perhaps get to their stage early because you never know, the act before them may just blow your mind. Also, definitely head to the after party, even if you’re exhausted and ready to collapse.

March 9 – Future Music Festival (Flemington Racecourse)
Headlining: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Deadmau5 and Phoenix.
Other acts to look out for: 2 Chainz, Baauer, Cut Copy, Hardwell, Helena, Kaskade, Knife Party, Naughty Boy, Rudimental, Tenzin, Timmy Trumpet, Tinie Tempah, Will Sparks and Walden.

Jessica-Anne Lyons says: If last year’s Day of the Dead-Set Awesome themed Future Music Festival was anything to go by, the 2014 event is definitely one not to miss. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes, because if you’re like me, you will definitely be dancing all day (and night!).

What can people expect at Future Music Festival?

Other than watching the acts, there are plenty of other things to see and do at Future. There are carnival rides and foam pits (see above image) which are heaps of fun, but the rides will cost you to go on them.

What should you bring?

Bring cash for food because most places don’t take cards and something like a Nandos wrap will set you back around $15.

What is your advice for first timers going to Future Music Festival?

If you have a particular act that you really want to see, try and get to their set early (the timetable should be on the map you get at the entrance) so you can make your way to the front as people are leaving from the act before. Even though there are big screens projecting the performance, it’s worth it being close up!

Stereosonic (Late 2014)
Acts to look out for: To be announced

Stereosonic may have come and gone in Melbourne (the massive outdoor dance party was December 7), but if you missed out this year it’s always good to be prepared for next time. Rebecca from Monash University was there – and tells you how best to prepare.


Rebecca, Monash University. Photo: Supplied.

What can people expect at Stereosonic?

It’s a day and night event where several artists play on different stages. The atmosphere is electric and music is pumped out from all directions.

What should you bring?

You must bring a drink bottle because a whole day of dancing can be extremely dehydrating. Empty plastic bottles are generally allowed at festivals and will save you a lot of money, as there are plenty of drink taps to fill up at.

What is your advice for first timers going to Stereosonic?

Make sure you stick with a buddy or group of friends because there’s nothing worse than been alone and not knowing where everyone is.

Have you been to a music festival before? How did you survive it? What are your festival tips? Did you wish you were better prepared? Let us know in the comments!