St Jerome's Laneway Festival, Sydney

For my first St Jerome’s Laneway Festival I was very impressed.  Walking in, the crowds were thin, the festival was in full swing and yet that overwhelming splutter of noise, dust and drunkenness which I have come to expect from festivals was missing. It was oddly refreshing.

Catching up with every second person with fleeting and half honest promises of meeting throughout the day, I was bound for City Calm Down at the Garden Stage. One of the last Australian headliners – I was surprised that there weren’t as many local acts on the main stage as there could have been. Somehow it was slightly amiss that later in the evening POND was tucked far back behind the Sydney College of the Arts. Crowds went wild for Anderson Paak out of the US and even more so for the acclaimed Mac Demarco. The Internet were sultry and as oozing of sex appeal as ever. Bonobo brought in the night in the most spectacular fashion – the crowd was almost levitating.

While Miss Blanks and B-Wise gave thunderous performances – the representation of those Australian artists who dominated 2017 was definitely missing. Keen for a celebration of local music, I found that Laneway sheltered the Aussie sounds in the opening set times – giving the big crowds and energy to the afternoon crew. It was bit of a disappointment.

When the time to refuel rolled around, my mealtime mate and I were spoiled for choice. Regretfully I bit off more than I could chew – quite literally. Without oversharing with our audiences – I advise that you don’t eat the leftovers from your friend’s plate in such a way that one would think you were preparing for hibernation. Overindulged and slightly sweaty, I rejoined the festival accompanied by much whinging and minimal sympathy from my friends.

A real highlight actually turned out to be the entry-side Absolut tent. Jam-packed the whole day long – the best of disco rang out loud and clear – floor filler after floor filler it was just as fun to sit and quietly boogie as it was to get up and join the throng.

Overall, Laneway was a great day. Minus the ridiculous fashion parade that often overpowers the Australian music scene – this was an event dominated by great tunes, inclusivity and positivity. The low-key and subtle security presence and a mutual trust between patrons and the organisers was a breath of fresh air to what most festival-goers are used to. To hear that the event wasn’t sold out made me scoff up a bit of my regrettable meal (oh the relief). I’ll be back next year guys – but hopefully there will be a bit more representation from Australia artists on the main stage!

Featured image by Lars Roy