Now in its 11th year, Laneway Festival once again showcased some of the most exciting talent from our own shores and abroad, spanning nearly 11 hours of incredible music across four stages. Set in the alleyway-like grounds of the Footscray Community and Arts Centre, with the glimmering Maribyrnong River flowing alongside, the festival still encapsulates the essence of its namesake.
The crowds built quickly with a line-up stacked heavily from opening to close; many rushing in to see early favourites including Banoffee, Slum Social and Ali Barter. Japanese Wallpaper’s brand of electro-pop translated well into a live band format, as the 18-year-old Melbourne local had his home crowd swaying in the mid-afternoon sun.
Having worked up a hunger, punters meandered through the food trucks to have their appetite pleasantly suppressed by the top quality food offering from some of Melbourne’s faves. There is nothing better than savouring a Mr Miyagi taco, before cooling down with a Gelato Messina ice cream, while sitting in the shade to the sounds of Japanese Wallpaper gently soothing your aching legs.
Dressed in one of the best shirts of the day, Shamir was an absolute highlight of the daytime performances, the androgynous alt-pop singer getting the audience moving en mass at the Red Bull Music Academy stage. Local rock legends The Smith St Band did not disappoint either, with a crowd of loyal fans moshing to their heart’s content (despite the ever-increasing temperature of the sun).
As the sun began set, the energy began to rise… and the music obliged. LA soul/trip hop group, The Internet, got the crowd grooving, as Sydney duo Hermitude hit the stage. Taking some early technical issues in their stride, the electronic hip-hop pair powered on, with a hit-filled set that had the entire crowd dancing.
The Dean Turner stage was a long corridor of sweaty bodies by the time Chvrches were set to perform, but the jostling and weaving was worth every moment just to see frontwoman Lauren Mayberry twist and twirl her way through an energetic set, complete with a captivating stage presence to match her striking voice.
Purity Ring closed out the Melbourne leg of Laneway for 2016, the Canadian electronic duo serving up an impressive set with a stage show that left you simultaneously satisfied but also wanting more.
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival boasts arguably the most eclectic line-up of any Australian festival, making it a smorgasbord for music lovers of all tastes and inclinations—so it came as no surprise that this year’s line-up did not disappoint.
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Photo credit: St Jerome's Laneway Festival