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New Year's Eve Festival Wrap Up; International Superstars, Albo's Arts Pledge And More

3 January 2023 | 1:39 pm | Emma Whines

Summer festivals are a staple in an Aussie New Year's celebration, so we've rallied up the biggest moments of the 2022/2023 New Year festivals.

Lil Nas X Rings In New Year at Falls Festival Byron Bay

Byron Bay's Fall Festival is one of the biggest parties to ring in the new year and brings an array of artists together to create a live music juggernaut. 

This year's event was one of their best yet, with acts like MAY-A, dameeeela, Peach PRC, The Wiggles and DMAs dominating the many stages and getting everyone riled up before headliner Lil Nas X stole the show. We reviewed Day 1 of the festival, and it's clear that Lil Nas X offered up a once-in-a-lifetime show: 

"Lil Nas X presented his music more as a theatre performance than a traditional concert, moving between three acts to depict his storyline so far, from battling the downfalls of being a viral sensation, overcoming adversity and making monster pop hits.

His show was a showcase of black queer excellence, joined on stage by a line of amazing dancers who lifted the crowd’s energy to extreme heights. Its choreography was reminiscent of some of the great pop shows of all time, as Lil Nas X sang and rapped perfectly over booming beats, orchestral breakdowns and major brass sections. The pop sensation is a beacon of hope and representation of the power of openness and authenticity as he steps on the backs of his haters, homophobes and any doubters. There was a power in his confidence, showcasing his culture powerfully on his sleeve uplifting many of the LGBTIQ+ community in the crowd and proving that in the face of trauma, they can and will be excellent."

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Traffic Snarls Fail To Spoil Beyond The Valley

Beyond The Valley kicked off without a hitch and reigned in the new year with an incredible array of artists such as BENEE, Denzel Curry, DIPLO, Flight Facilities, Aitch, Shy Girl and more. The true icing on the cake was the Aus exclusive performance from Nelly Furtado, who transported the crowd straight back to the 2000's with her iconic hits. 

While the festival itself was one for the books, the exit strategy needed a bit of work, as fans spent up to 8 hours in their cars in bumper-to-bumper traffic as the usual exodus to leave the festival collided with school holiday highway traffic. Event organisers quickly arranged buggies to do water drops to cars and most punters were able to shrug off the inconvenience. 

Overall, the majority of punters left claiming it as another successful revival of a favourite Aussie festival.

Falls Hosts Successful 'Urban' Experiment 

The first ever urban edition of Falls Festival also went ahead this weekend at the Sidney Myer Music bowl in Downtown Melbourne. Thwarted in securing their usual location in Birregurra, the Falls team had quite the challenge of bringing the other-worldly feel to the otherwise concrete-jungle reality of inner city Melbourne, however, they somehow managed to pull it off, with punters calling the weekend a total success. 

Attendee's enjoyed New Years Eve performances from a wide variety of artists like Melbourne trip-hoppers Telenova, synth-pop gods Lastlings, breakout international star PinkPantheress and surf-rock legends Ocean Alley, but it was clear that headliners Arctic Monkeys were a definite highlight, with our review that wrote:

"The beloved UK group Arctic Monkeys enjoyed a massive year in 2022, furnishing a critically-acclaimed comeback in The Car. But, after opening with The Car's lead single, There'd Better Be A Mirrorball, the Sheffielders' capacity show at Falls was predominantly a "greatest hits". The quartet stomped through rock anthems like 2013's Snap Out Of It and their breakthrough I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, the audience elevating the choruses. Alex Turner didn't chat, but his rock posing was on form. The Monkeys halted for the NYE countdown at midnight, and more fireworks, returning to pull off a defacto encore. The band finished abruptly with another track from The Car in Body Paint, leaving the crowd to drift off to UK housers (and fellow Northerners) CamelPhat on the Sugarloaf stage. Still, it was all very arch and theatrical and left everyone craving more – always a feat."

Albo Pledges To Revive Arts Scene While Attending Woodford Folk Festival

It's not everyday you get to see the country's Prime Minister living it up at one of Australians best festival, but we've been shown time-and-time again that Albo has a special place in his heart for the Australian music scene. Whether he's chuging a beer at a Gang Of Youths show, or implementing a government backed Live Music Support Fund, Albo is in the thick of it, and on Wednesday the 28th, he gave a speech to the Woodford festival crowd that only made us love him more. 

Outlining his plans for the new year, Albo spoke on his vision for a better future, including enshrining a voice to parliament in the constitution and reviving the arts, entertainment and cultural sectors. 

“The arts suffered terribly during COVID,” he said. “The arts are not a luxury, they are central to our very being. The arts contain, nurture and protect our very sense of self. One of the great things about coming to Woodford is to hear the artists who aren’t in your record collection and to discover something new. It’s a great opportunity to walk around, see a bit of music and meet with people.”

At the festival Albo joined punters in basking in the wonderful curation of folk sounds including Dami Im, Electric Fields, John Bulter, Mia Wray and more. After two years on the benches, Woodford proved it had lost none of its spirit, with the 2023 event setting itself up for a long and prosperous post-covid future. 

Huge Highs At Field Day 2023

The annual New Years Day festival Field Day was back in full force this year. Roughly 28,000 punters attended Field Day on New Years Day to seeing some incredible Aussie acts such as Aitch, Denzel Curry, Dom Dolla, Remi Wolf, SG Lewis and more. Revered DJ and producer Diplo closed out the festival offering up a platter of songs such as Where Are You Now featuring Justin Bieber and Don't Forget My Love with Miguel, that brought high spirits that carried punters through to the end of the festival and well into the night.

It was reported (widely) that 85 attendees were arrested for drug related offences. NSW police were out in full force leading an operation targeting "anti-social behaviour, alcohol-related crime and illegal drug use". With the aid of sniffer dogs police made a total of 85 arrests for drug related offences and confiscated drugs including MDMA, ketamine, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, cocaine and cannabis. Just two arrests were made for supply at this year’s event, with the remaining 83 pinned for possession... a number some media could do well to remember represents 0.3% of attendees.

Despite the moral panic, this number marks a keen improvement from Field Day 2020 where 169 punters were arrested for drug related crime.