...all under the blazing sun

“A land down under, where beer does flow and men chunder" - sounds like the perfect place for a festival. And most of the world's leading musical exports agree, as they plead with booking agents to get them some set time during the silly season. I mean, what's not to like? Meat pies, some of the world’s hottest genes and some seriously good music, all under a blazing sun.

One Australian event that is having no trouble securing their line-up is St Jerome's Laneway Festival. Primed on introducing the most exciting and refreshing new musical talent from around the globe to a crowd that appreciate good music, in a unique setting, Laneway has come a long way since its embryonic stages as a live music night at St Jerome's Bar, Melbourne in 2004. Originally conjured up by organisers Jerome Borazio and Danny Rogers, as a hub for home-grown artists such as The Presets and The Avalanches to flourish, the crowds of Laneway soon started spilling from the clubs to the lanes themselves and so the festival was born.

The festival debut took place on Caledonian Lane, Melbourne, with a 1200 strong crowd packing every inch of the concrete for what was a truly memorable event. Fast-forward eight years and the festival’s popularity has reached new levels. The event has expanded into other Australian cities, plus New Zealand and Singapore, seeing artists such as Mumford and Sons, The XX, Wild Beasts, Four Tet, Gotye, The Gossip, Broken Social Scene, Florence & The Machine, Warpaint, Beach House and Yeasayer grace its stages. 2012 saw further global approval, with the involvement of revered London-based label, Young Turks and UK promoter, Eat Your Own Ears collaborating with Laneway.

While crowd size may have increased and locations moved, Laneway still prides itself on remaining a ‘boutique’ event and hasn’t sold out to the masses, with all locations being carefully selected. This year’s Melbourne event took place on the banks of Maribyrong River, with a stunning skyscraper backdrop to one of the world's most liveable cities.

Set over three main stages, this year’s Melbourne crowd were treated to a sound clash headache, having to decide between headliners SBTRKT, M83 and Washed Out. Fortunately the location wasn't a patch on the size of Glasto’s Worthy Farm, so catching a few songs of each, although not ideal, was doable. SBTRKT, despite technical issues, delivered a truly spine tingling and heart-racing performance of one of the best albums of 2011. M83, blew everyone away to epic proportions with what can best be described as an electrical journey of a book of dreams and Washed Out, were anything but! Daytime saw the wonderfully charismatic Canadian songstress, Feist, take to the stage with her Amish looking sidekicks, Mountain Man, as well as other leading female solo artists, amongst them the beautiful, untainted voice of Anna Calvi and folkstress Laura Marling. Other bands including The Drums, The Horrors, Austra and Chairlift and solo artists Active Child and Toro Y Moi also delighted the ears of thousands.

Laneway, we'll be back, along with many other poms.


Words: Roo Farndon

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