Although I was only there for three hours, my unexpected venture into St Jerome’s Laneway Festival solidified my decision to buy a ticket in 2015. I wanted to go legitimately this year, but at the end of a very action-packed, expensive summer with the added factor of Lorde pulling out to perform at the Grammys, I grudgingly decided to forgo the $140 Laneway ticket in favour of more essential things (like registration and insurance for my scooter – see, I really couldn’t afford it!). So I snuck in, with my sister. I won’t go into details of how we did it in case word gets back to organisers and security tightens, but it was pretty stealthy. Once we were engulfed in the crowd and safely away from the prying eyes of security guards, the only thing we could say was “FUCK YEAH. WE’RE IN LANEWAY!!!” and take a whole lot of photos as evidence that we really did it. Then it was time to appreciate the beautiful music and chill atmosphere.
The Jezabels were playing on the main stage, so that’s where we headed. This Australian band brought an earnest, upbeat energy to the stage, enhanced by front woman Hayley Mary’s enthusiastic performance. I have to admit that most of the time The Jezabels were playing, I was more focused on how absolutely crazy it was that we were even there! That should be no reflection of The Jezabels, though – they are a really good indie rock band. In particular their songs ‘Endless Summer’ and ‘The End’ provided ideal dance tracks for our adrenalin-hyped-up bodies.
Immediately following The Jezabels was psychedelic dance group Jagwar ma. I didn’t recognise the name, but I’d heard a few of their songs before (probably on George fm – it’s that kind of music) and liked them a lot live. I’ve since downloaded their music and listened to it at home, but nothing can compare to hearing it on huge speakers that you can physically feel the beat of in the very fibres of your being. Their music is bass heavy, funky and makes you wanna get doown. I would pay money to see these guys live again in a heartbeat – they interacted with the crowd heaps and seemed genuinely happy to be there.
In stark contrast was the next set – Daughter on the stage right beside us which had been setting up whilst Jagwar ma played. Fronted by the lovely Elena Tonra, the music was almost trancelike and Tonra’s soft voice gave me goosebumps. I heard about 5 different people say how much they liked her/how cute/sweet/amazing she is, and I think it’s safe to say the audience, including myself were in awe of her. Notable highlights were ‘Love’, an emotionally charged ballad, and ‘Youth,’ the bittersweet lyrics of which were sung along to with zest by fans. I had listened to some of their music beforehand when I thought I was going to buy a ticket, so was able to sing along to some (‘and if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones..’). Daughter was definitely given the ideal time slot of early afternoon for their sweet, melodious music, which was a lovely accompaniment to a summer day. People came for Daughter not so much to dance, but to listen to their music – because it is truly outstanding.
Overall, Laneway had an amazing atmosphere; with no violent moshing – due to the chill beats, interestingly attired festival goers, and everyone looking ecstatic to see and hear their favourite music live. It really is an alternative music festival, which is part of its special charm, and I would’ve happily paid for a ticket if I had the money. St Jerome’s Laneway Festival organisers purposely go for the underground, up and coming bands, and what impeccable taste they have. Previous line-ups have included Florence and the Machine, The xx, Alt-J, Warpaint, Two Door Cinema Club, Flume, Of Monsters and Men and many, many more. Its well worth buying the early-bird tickets, as the line-up is basically guaranteed to be excellent, and who doesn’t want to save money? I’m gutted I couldn’t stay longer, as I had to go meet a friend after a measly 3 hours (Laneway is about 10 hours long), but it’s given me a tantalising sample of the festival, which I look forward to experiencing in full next year.