by Nikki Todd
A HERD of psychedelic-coloured cows, old-fashioned sprinkler parks and beach chill-out zones await partygoers as organisers prepare for the biggest ever Falls Festival at Byron this weekend.
A total of 25,000 revellers will pack into the rural setting at North Byron Parklands to bring in the New Year and enjoy a jam-packed three days of live music with headliners including former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, Flume, Daryl Braithwaite and Angus and Julia Stone.
Brisbane-based dance group Confidence Man, recently hailed as the best new band in Australia by Triple J, promise to bring the house down as they take to the stage for the countdown to midnight on December 31.
And don't forget to keep an eye out for star Byron locals the likes of Chris Hemsworth and wife Elsa Pataky, and perhaps younger brother Liam Hemsworth and partner Miley Cyrus, all of whom are rumoured to again be guests this year.
Festival Director Brandon Saul said this would be the biggest Falls Festival since its introduction to Byron five years ago, with this year's licence allowing for an additional 2500 tickets - boosting numbers to 25,000 - all of which sold out within minutes.
About 20,000 of those guests will be camping on site, most of whom are expected to arrive on Saturday - a day ahead of the festival's official opening.
"We have a capacity to camp 25,000 but we have about 20,000 camping," Mr Saul said.
"A lot more locals are buying tickets each year which is kind of nice, we are trying to make it easier for them to get in and out on buses and the like, we are hoping that is a trend which will continue."
The Byron event adds to the Falls suite, a series of music festivals held around the country over New Year's including in Victoria, Tasmania and WA.
Behind such massive gatherings is a team of experts, who plan the finer details of setting up a mini-city many months in advance.
"We have a never-ending list of improvements that we work on each year," Mr Saul said.
"I have to admit we are getting down to the finer details of creature comforts now with some of the more creative stuff. The cows are some of my favourite this year. We have also added in some extensions to the sprinklers in the campgrounds - sprinkler parks - the water park last year was a great hit. Basically, we just try to cater for all aspects of the day."
Old-fashioned sprinkler parks will be set up in each of the campsites to help revellers cool down in the expected hot weather, adding to the hugely popular water park - dubbed Palm Springs - introduced at last year's event.
Around 60 restaurants, a small hospital, police station and several general stores will mean revellers will not need to leave the site once they are inside, although buses will be available for those eager to venture out to local beaches and villages.
Police numbers will be boosted with support from across the state, including the drug squad with their sniffer dogs, while security will be boosted with CCTV cameras throughout the festival grounds.
Mr Saul said security had been planned in detail and would be tight.
"I don't want to go into the detail for obvious reasons, but safe to say it is probably one of the safest places to be on the Northern Rivers," he said.
All bags will be checked prior to entry, with party-goers advised to carry as small a bag as possible.
Sun screen is advisable, with hot weather and showers predicted.