Relaxed start as Falls turns up volume

ABOUT 12,500 people started New Year's Eve celebrations a night early at the Marion Bay Falls Festival yesterday.

The three-night event, which started Sunday, was ushered in with a relaxed atmosphere, officials have said.

Festival spokeswoman Helen Ransom said even though gate ticket sales had been popular, there was still a lot of room at the event.

Johnny Marr took to the Valley Stage mid-afternoon to bang out the first track of his solo debut, released this year, followed by a track by his former band The Smiths. 

Marr continued not to disappoint the crowd, playing three more songs that he wrote for the iconic band, closing with How Soon Is Now.

His set came after Sydney group The Preatures and was followed by Aussie up-and-comers The Rubens.

Later veteran acts Violent Femmes played and The Roots at midnight.

The Field Stage hosted an afternoon of comedy acts, Sydney hip-hop artist Horrorshow and Beyonce's sister Solange.

Tasmania Police had 12 uniformed police and 12 plain clothes officers on site yesterday.

Sergeant Nigel Paul said Sunday night saw five festival goers evicted for drunken fights.

``We get rid of the people early that we perceive as having the wrong attitude to make it better for everyone,'' he said.

``We're hard to start with just to get rid of the bad ones.''

St John's Ambulance event commander Pam Heiermann said several attendees had been treated mostly for existing medical conditions, although one drug-related case had visited the tent. 

She said volunteers promoted the message to look after mates, wear appropriate clothing and keep hydrated.

``If you're going to drink a beer, drink a water [too],'' Ms Heiermann said. 

Today, MGMT, Neil Finn and Grizzly Bear will perform.

UK indie kids The Wombats will perform after the 2014 countdown.

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