Five Things We Learnt At Laneway Festival, Sydney 2015

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Motivation fronting an innovative vision can transport you to your dreams. Just ask Jerome Borazio and [2014 FBi SMAC Award Winner] Danny Rogers – the two masterminds behind the annual St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival tour.

Currently on its 2015 Australian circuit, Laneway Festival stopped over at both Brisbane and Sydney last weekend, treating audiences to a mixed bag of over 30 live performances, over 20 delicious food stalls, a handful of different bars, record stalls and signing tents.

With the aid of a bright sunny day at one of the city’s coolest creative institutions, Sunday, 1st February saw attendees at the Sydney College of the Arts leave with a smile stretching from ear to ear, all thanks to the elements aforementioned that came to fruition as a result of those two guys who made a big idea tens of thousands of people’s reality.

One of the few singular-day festivals that consistently gifts its punters with an amazing live music experience, Laneway Festival have taught us a few things from this year’s Sydney event.

1. Sydney College of the Arts doubles as an amazing music festival site.

Creative breeding ground, Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) is more than just an art school, it’s an iconic character nestled in the heart of Rozelle. Formerly known as the Callan Park Hospital for the Insane, the mental asylum heritage is just another ring in the life of this large group of sandstone buildings.

With history comes stories, and in turn deposits a sense of charm to the complex; earning SCA an iconic and valuable Sydney name. Bearing this in mind, it’s so wonderful to see this beautiful school entertain a crowd of over 10,000 to experience a day of innovative tastemakers shower their talent over like-minded individuals. Something that could be executed in an actual intended music venue or large park, SCA is a huge factor as to why the Laneway brand is such a crazily unique and successful empire.

Whether you walked in and out of the Red Bull Music Academy’s narrow entrance or allowed the tree branches to canopy you at the grassy Park Stage, there was definitely a moment of appreciation for the festival’s returning choice of venue.

2. Laneway offers fantastic hospitality and amenities.

It’s no secret, most festival-goers will head straight for the bar when they can allow some sort of break inbetween or during performances. Though, at some point, it’s best you line your stomach with some food. Whilst most music festivals will offer the stock standard gozleme, tiny overpriced buckets of chips or hotdogs on sticks, Laneway honestly go above and beyond to satisfy your catering needs.

Positioning 28 different stalls of noms, the event organisers buddied up with a bunch of Sydney’s best eats, including Let’s Do Yum ChaSpanish ChurrosMary’sBeatbox Kitchen and The Smoothie Co. What really thrilled punters though was the pop-up Gelato Messina stall! How’s that for treating yourself.

When you begin to acknowledge such facilities, your attention probably won’t stop at your appetite. Not only were the bars stocked and superbly accessable, the lavatories were also some of the cleanest I’ve encountered at a festival, and maintained this status from daylight to nightfall.

3. Mac DeMarco doesn’t let fame get to his head. (Video courtesy of Triple J)

Whether you saw him crowdsurf every inch of the Metro Theatre last Friday night, or only caught him slay the afternoon during his fulfilling festival set, Mac DeMarco is without a doubt one of Laneway‘s most characteristic attributes.

Without a blade of grass to be seen, the completely packed out Park Stage were not only treated to tracks like, ‘Salad Days’, ‘Brother‘, ‘Freaking Out The Neighbourhood’ and ‘Still Together’, we also shared many a laugh with stage members Mac, Pierce, Andy and Joe. Through their banter, crowd surfing and acceptance of tobacco gifts, Mac’s set also featured an appearance from his mother, Agnes DeMarco, as well as a Viceroy hat still placed firmly on the artist’s head since receiving it from a fan at his Sydney sideshow some nights earlier.

Performance aside, Mac DeMarco enjoyed the festival from beyond side of stage, something you may have noticed through his crowdsurf at Future Islands, not to mention his makeout session with Connan Mockasin on stage. He also happened to be the only artist from this year’s lineup that I spotted walking around the festival like a regular punter, waving and high-fiving any fan that crossed his path.

A man with no weight of pretention or superficiality on his shoulders, Mac DeMarco carries himself as a regular guy with a great love for music who will give anybody the time of day; a super refreshing face in the music industry.

4. Each act was appropriately scheduled.

Casting a top notch lineup to fit Laneway‘s mission is difficult in itself, but timetabling all of these artists to satisfy the ticketholder’s desires would be one massively arduous task. Yet, they somehow managed to pull it off.

With the first few sets of the day reserved for the smaller, local bands, Laneway kicked off their Sydney event brilliantly, as punters who may not have heard I Know Leopard or Mansionair before were treated to very diverse sets from some incredibly promising musicians.

Gearing us up for the longevity of the festival, the spill of guitars and drums disrupted the stillness of alcohol in our cups, as Benjamin BookerEagullsDune Rats and Perfect Pussy hammered our bodies with their explosive performances. Having said that, clashing performances came from the likes of SOHNAngel OlsenRatking and Courtney Barnett, who may all gel to crowd members of different taste.

Little DragonSeekae and Jungle led us into the evening, each enticing us with their respective electronic influence. The Rusties and Vic Mensas pleased many later, whilst powerhouses BanksFKA Twigs and St. Vincent swiftly followed one another with their feminity at the Park and Garden Stages. This took us to the close of Laneway for 2015, as both international and local heavyweights CaribouFlight FacilitiesJon Hopkins and Flying Lotus smashed the silence of an otherwise quiet Sunday night with their left-field production and enigmatic projections & light shows.

This sequence pleased so many punters and really leveled out the different vibes experienced throughout the day, ultimately keeping Laneway Festival super interesting from start to finish.

5. The Mistletone Stage absolutely owned the nighttime.

Both releasing ground-breaking full-length records in 2014, internationals Caribou and Flying Lotus were quite easily two massive highlights for Sydney’s 2015 Laneway Festival. With no element of disconnection, the hyped artists were scheduled very effectively as they were the very last two performances to adorn the Mistletone Stage this year.

With each hosting ridiculously lush light shows and absolutely wacky projected visuals, both talents played newbies and classic tracks for their very full crowds to quickly praise when asked how their Laneway experience was.

For those yet to attend their state’s Laneway Festival for 2015, be sure to pack in as much as you can come event day – it’s going to be one to remember!

Words by Hannah Galvin. Photo via Hobogestapo.

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SEE ALSO:

INTERVIEW: CARIBOU
INTERVIEW: DUNE RATS

INTERVIEW: RATKING

About:

An avid fan of Sydney’s jazz and found sound scene, as well as eating peanut butter from the jar.