Image for 5 Ways Laneway Stands Out In The Summer Festival Crowd

5 Ways Laneway Stands Out In The Summer Festival Crowd

Written by Michael Carr on December 14, 2017

Since emerging from the late St Jerome’s Bar in Melbourne’s Caledonian Lane in 2004, St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival has gone on to redefine the Australian festival scene. Leading the boutique revolution and transforming into a multi-city, internationally touring institution in the process, Laneway has built its reputation — and its success — on the back of a unique approach to festival programming, supporting emerging talent, intimate settings and overall curation of big-name bills and industrial scale locations over the past 13 years.

So to toast the fast-approaching 2018 festival, join us as we count down five big ways that Laneway stands out in the summer festival crowd.

1. A Lineup By Music Lovers, For Music Lovers

Laneway has always been about supporting great new talent. Their self-described philosophy states they are “about leading new and revered seminal music” and they have certainly lived up to it. From hosting the likes of The Presets and The Avalanches way back in the early days of the weekend parties at St Jerome’s Bar, straight through to booking acts like Feist, The Gossip, Broken Social Scene and Gotye all before they blew up, Laneway has an unimpeachable music pedigree. And with this year’s lineup featuring Father John Misty, Bonobo, Anderson Paak, Mac Demarco, The Internet and more, that doesn’t look likely to change anytime soon.

2. No Dickheads

While the organisers themselves would never be so crass to put it as I have above, one of the most attractive things about Laneway is the fact that it tends not to attract your usual brand of festival “dickhead”. This might be due to the nature of the lineup, or the fact that the festival has a rep for being more about the music than getting loose, but, either way, in a market crowded with enthusiastic events already catering to people’s taste for big-name artists and big-time partying, Laneway stands out. It’s a kind of like the discerning, attractive older man/woman of the festival scene, someone who still likes a bit of a tipple, but knows how to handle themselves. A proverbial Benedict Cumberbatch.

3. Intimate Settings With Large Scale Production

A big part of the atmosphere comes from the festival’s use of intimate urban locations. It’s another deliberate feature as stated in their philosophy: “the size of the festivals, the locations and the way we encourage community all form part of the way in which the Laneway team strive to present an urban music experience like no other”.

It certainly holds true when you consider how  each new city that the festival has moved to is staged in equally lush surrounds. From the move to new sites at Rozelle’s Sydney College Of The Arts and Footscray Community Arts Centre in Sydney and Melbourne respectively, to Adelaide’s Hart’s Mill and Fremantle’s Esplanade Reserve and West End, Laneway is spoiled for great locations, making great use of all of them to deliver an experience unrivalled in its combination of the best aspects of big festival production and programming, with beautifully cosy environs.

4. The Best Looking Festival Crowd In Australia?

This might have something to do with the no dickheads point made above, and it is certainly a matter of personal taste, but Laneway has arguably the best looking crowd in the Australian festival scene. Men and women, the crowd all look like they’ve been cast as hot festival goers in an indie movie. Not to sound creepy or like I’m objectifying an entire festival here — which I probably am — but compared to most of their competitors, event coverage of Laneway looks like street style fashion photography.

Laneway 2017 Melbourne / Photo By Rebecca Reid

5. A Homegrown Company That Supports Emerging Local Talent

While hardly the only local festival these days, having led the revolution of homegrown boutique festivals that toppled to big boys themselves, Laneway nevertheless stands out for the fact that it makes the effort to support great local talent. Laneway put in the time researching each year to find the best undiscovered Aussie acts. I remember seeing Tame Impala open the mainstage in 2009, before the release of their first album. That same year, they booked The Temper Trap months before their debut album won them the ARIA and in the following years they went on to help break Flume and Chet Faker. The tradition is alive and well this year, with artists like Miss Blanks, Alex Cameron and KLLO on the lineup, so keep an eye and ear out in the next year for more Laneway artist domination.

Laneway Festival 2018

Tickets on sale now

Friday, 2nd February
Hart’s Mill, Adelaide (16+)
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 3rd February
Footscray Community Arts Centra And The River’s Edge, Melbourne
Tickets: Official Website

Sunday, 4th February
Sydney College Of The Arts And Callan Park, Sydney*
Tickets: Official Website

Saturday, 10th February
Brisbane Showgrounds, Brisbane (16+)
Tickets: Official Website

Sunday, 11th February
Esplanade Reserve And West End, Fremantle
Tickets: Official Website

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