What you need to know.
Like sand through the hourglass, another year has passed and Laneway Festival is upon us once more, this time with a grassy new venue and a newly introduced women’s safe space.
You may consider yourself a seasoned Laneway vet, in need of no guidance. Fabulous! Yet, like every day of our chaotic existence, no two are quite the same and we cannot be sure what will happen. A new environment only deepens this uncertainty.
SO in the spirit of preparation here is a guide to Laneway to ensure you squeeze every last drop of fun out of this very special day.
Since in previous years the Laneway experience has been somewhat akin to spending a summer’s day in a large hot car park, the venue change to shady, grassy Albert Park will be a significant change and probable improvement for the festival. Yet, though Laneway organisers say the space will actually be 1.5 times bigger than Silo Park and the largest of all Laneway Festival spaces, it is still rather hard to envision.
Thankfully, for those with as little vision as I, a map has been released to show how the layout will work.
What this tells us: Two large stages will sit in the park proper, the Rotunda Stage and the Fountain Stage, helpfully located near the rotunda and the fountain respectively. Expanding things outside of the park are the Princess Stage, presumably somewhere near the University of Auckland Clock Tower, and the Thunderdome on Alfred Street, which seems to be in between the Quad and the Library.
Also new to the festival this year is a women's safe space. Distinct from the usual safezone located just by the Princes Street entrance, the women's safe space has, according to organisers, been designed to offer "non-judgemental support and an area for those needing space away from other festival goers”. Located stage left of the Rotunda stage it will also feature charging points for those of us ladies with perpetually dying phones.
Questions, however remain. How will they protect the decorative vege gardens? Will people climb trees? Who will disgrace themselves in the fountain? Only time will tell.
Laneway is always a little bit of a gamble, and unless you are very very hip you may not be familiar with a lot of the performers. Will you unearth a new act that you go on to love passionately and forever as I did with (the admittedly not at all obscure) Vince Staples set of 2016? Or will you feel disappointed and alienated from the clearly tasteless youth of today?
The ideal scenario is a sweet spot between familiarity and discovery and, depending on your inclinations 2017, could be the year.
With the loss of Young Thug (RIP) the headlining act is - and if you’re not rap inclined maybe always was - Tame Impala. The psychedelic Australian band are not exactly a rarity here but they are well and widely loved and will probably put on a good show.
Replacing Young Thug (and clashing with Tame Impala) is What So Not, a young Aussie electronica act by Emoh Instead (AKA Chris Emerson). Originally a duo between Instead and Flume, the former will be performing sassy and solo ahead of a set at Coachella later this year.
As far as wild cards go there are plenty. Car Seat Headrest, Glass Animals and King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizzard all have intriguingly strange names and could easily be your new band crush. There are only two entries repping the rap and hip-hop contingent this year, Clams Casino and Mick Jenkins, neither of whom may be high on your radar. Fear not, however, they’re cool: Both solo artists hailing from the US, Clams has produced for A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, and Mac Miller among others, while Mick Jenkin’s brand of white-patriarchy smashing protest rap may be just want we need in the current political climate.
As we go to print, the forecast is for sun and fun, and the MOST IMPORTANT THING IS NOT TO GET SUNBURNT. DON’T EVEN DARE. Once you have sorted that out, plan your day. Check the timetable. Take note of clashes.
What you should bring:
Your ticket(!) - If you got one at a retail outlet it is IRREPLACEABLE so don’t lose it and make sure you bring it. Barcoded PDF style tickets can be printed or shown on a mobile device.
Photo ID - also very important and just flattering to be asked for thank you very much.
Cash - for food, merch, bribes.
Unsealed, empty plastic water bottle.
Slip, slop, slap, wrap paraphernalia - do as the happy piggy says.
Wet wipes - a hip luxury and essential for smart portaloo use.
A portable phone charger - if your phone dies you won’t be able to send non-attendees blurry snapchats of bands from far away which is a loss to us all.
What you shouldn’t bring:
The list of items-non-grata on the Laneway website is very long and tragically prohibits drones. You can check the full thing out here, but for best results we recommend leaving the following at home:
Pets (apart from service dogs)
Glass, cans, metal.
Sealed, filled water bottles, any other food or drink.
Drugs and alcohol.
Umbrellas, chairs, crates.
Club patches or jackets.
Weapons, explosives, chains, lasers, water pistols, open flames, flares, fireworks sparklers (you get the gist).
Culturally appropriative clothing and accessories - bindis, Native American war bonnets etc. JUST SAY NO.