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  • Sam Gardner

REVIEW: St Jerome's Laneway 2020


It’s usually a given after you’ve been to any summer event that one of the things you look back on fondly is how you felt soaking in the sunshine, the sounds, the surroundings and overall good vibes.

Something I think gets overlooked too much when it comes to festivals though, is the ones that have a shady nook or two for you to kick back and chill under, while still getting to enjoy everything music and entertainment.

Nestled among the lush greenery and sprawling landscape of Auckland City center’s Albert Park, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival is one that masters that shade and chill factor, over and over again.

Until January 27th 2020 I had never experienced a day-long festival where you could quickly go from headbanging along to your fave Psychedelic Porn Crumpet tune, to kicking back under the limb of a stoic Ombu tree with a fully compostable bowl of vegan dumplings to enjoy before the next lineup.

As a wannabe greenie, one thing I’m usually left feeling angry and stressed about at most concerts and festivals, is whether enough is being done to respect our earth mother. Not at this one.

One of the most beautiful things I witnessed during the whole event was watching a group go from enjoying the show, to helping the events team pick up litter and sort through recyclables.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard on the Princess St Stage. Photo: David Watson

If you’re anything like me, you might liken your attention span at a festival, to something akin to that of a two year old in a candy store.

But, as if specifically designed for those of us who are let’s say “focus-impaired”, the official Laneway app makes that a whole lot easier.

Its handy planner option made the day a whole lot easier allowing me to create my own timetable for the day -- sending out reminders about where I needed to be 15 minutes ahead of every show.

Contrary to the norm, for me the day wasn’t all about the music.

I love to draw creative inspiration from beautiful things and have a lot of appreciation for people who put time and effort into curating that beauty - whether that be through art, fashion or music.

And at Laneway I found many things to be inspired by. From the venue’s beautifully manicured marigold and lavender gardens, the extraordinary festival makeup and outfit looks, and to the incredible palette of music.

Kaiit performs on the Rotunda stage. Photo: David Watson.

I learned from Kaiit that neo soul is a genre of music I vibe with and Mahalia taught me you don’t need to conform to modern standards of beauty, but also that I am deserving of everything I am longing for.

Hockey Dad's Billy Fleming and Zach Stephenson with Taz and Sam.

From Hockey Dad the lesson was that the Australian bushfires have been devastating, and from the 1975 I learned I should put my phone down and pay a little more attention to what’s going on in the world around me.

Photo: Sam Gardner

Photo: David Watson

Photo: David Watson

Photo: David Watson

I have nothing but gratitude and praise for all of the artists and organisers who hosted us at this incredible event.

Here’s to Laneway 2021.


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