IN THE SWING: Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson at the 2013 Falls Festival site at Yelgun.
IN THE SWING: Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson at the 2013 Falls Festival site at Yelgun. Patrick Gorbunovs

Excitement building up as everyone is about to take to Falls

MOST of them are too young to attend the inaugural Byron Bay Falls Festival, but a group of students from Mullumbimby High have been working on the site for the past week as part of a mentorship program to give them some experience in festival construction.

From building a bamboo structure for the Guerrilla Stage - a performance space specifically for local acts - to building timber furniture, putting up fencing and putting down floors, the crew has been involved in all aspects of setting up the site.

Four of the six participants are under 18 so won't be able to attend the festival when it is in full swing from December 31 to January 3.

Jara Larter, who is 18 and will be attending, has also worked with the Blues Festival and completed an event management course at TAFE.

He said the Falls' mentorship program was "a lot more on the physical side" compared to his office-bound experience at Blues Fest, but they had all enjoyed it.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson said with the number of festivals taking place across the Northern Rivers, there was an opportunity to design a curriculum with hands-on experience that would give participants a recognised qualification.

Having Falls Festival at the Yelgun site had not only given hundreds of local artists and performers work, but also created a space where 3000 local adults would go and party on New Year's Eve, he said.

Cr Richardson said there was "a real split in the community" after last New Year's Eve, with some people calling for no festivities at all.

Falls Festival organisers moved their date to incorporate New Year's Eve and also donated $25,000 that would go towards Byron's "Soul Street" family-friendly festivities in town.

"We have been able to respond, rather than wish the problem away," Cr Richardson said.



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