From the artists proving why they're the next big things to pop music returning to the top, Laneway's first leg was an exciting glimpse into the future.
Another summer means another festival season, and once again St Jerome's Laneway Festival delivered an experience unlike its competitors. Making a name for itself due to its alternative-skewed line ups, the festival began to separate itself for a whole new reason thanks to its impeccable knack of securing artists on the precipice of something big. From the likes of early bookings of Danny Brown, FKA twigs, BANKS, Run The Jewels, Lorde, Toro Y Moi, Denzel Curry, HAIM, Vance Joy, Flume, Flying Lotus, SOPHIE, and countless others, Laneway Festival has always had its finger on the pulse before many others when it comes to its bookings, and the 2020 leg in Brisbane proved no different.
There's something to be said about the growing Australian contingent on the bill, and how high Australian acts are placed, that proves its not just hyperbole that Australian music is in one of its strongest positions ever. From Tones and I having the biggest song in the world to Ruel absolutely dominating at home and abroad, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard continually adding to their loyal and vast cult-like following, The Chats being booked on Coachella's 2020 bill, or DMA'S taking UK and European audiences by storm, this year's Laneway line up read like a crystal ball into who is set for a big year to come and proved one of the last opportunities to catch these artists in intimate settings.
Each and every artist played like they knew this too, launching into near-flawless sets, packing in as many songs as possible while performing and charming the crowd the whole way through. Tones and I packed out the main stage with an early 2pm set, The Chats were positively blistering with their racing set in a packed tent, Ruel proved he really is the popstar everyone says he is, and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard stepped up to the plate to close the main stage after The 1975 cancelled and made it look like they were meant to be there the whole time. The set from DMA'S felt like watching superstars on the brink of truly breaking through, Ocean Alley and Hockey Dad tore up the main stage with their packed-out afternoon sets, and Stella Donnelly proved she is as gifted on stage as she is in the studio with her delightful yet fierce performance. It was one impressive delivery after the other throughout the entire day.
If Laneway is predicting the next wave of Australian artists ready to take the world by storm, they also got it right in acknowledging the exciting world of pop music as it stands right now with its booking as well. With traditional genres continuing to be rejected in favour of more fluid, more accessible sounds, artists like Charli XCX and BENEE showed just how versatile and thrilling pop music is at the moment. While it was quite confusing for the festival to not shift Charli XCX to the festival-closing slot after The 1975's cancellation, she delivered an energetic, flawless set from start to finish. Throwing in some much-loved cuts from her new album, Charli, as well as crowd favourites like Icona Pop's 'I Love It' and the Diplo/Herve Pagez collab 'Spicy', Charli XCX proved in just 50 minutes why she really is one of the biggest artists in the world, while BENEE showed a packed tent why she is being heralded as the next big thing thanks to her charismatic, highly polished but still extremely relatable set.
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St Jerome's Laneway Festival is a non-negotiable for many in the summer months, and their 2020 installment was an exciting addition to the festival's history. It really felt like a new generation was being welcomed into the fold, while more seasoned Laneway punters were still looked after as well. Through sweltering temperatures, the crowds came out early and supported from the very start and from all accounts were very well behaved. There's something to be said for the type of crowd that can be expected when a festival books a diverse, progressive line up, and this was plain to see during Brisbane's leg this year. With three dates still to go in Adelaide, Melbourne and Fremantle, if this year's Laneway looks anything like what we can expect for the year ahead, we're absolutely in for a treat.
TONES AND I
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St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2020 Full Lineup
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Tones and I
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
Mahalia (East Coast only)
Hatchie (East Coast only)
Spacey Jane (Excl. Fremantle)
Kucka (Excl. Adelaide)
JessB (East Coast only)
George Alice (Adelaide only)
The Lazy Eyes (Sydney only)
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2020
Friday, 7th February
Harts Mill, Port Adelaide (16+)
Saturday, 8th February
Footscray Park, Melbourne (16+)
Sunday, 9th February
Esplanade Reserve & West End, Fremantle (16+)
ALL IMAGES BY OPHELIA SYMONS FOR PURPLE SNEAKERS
Words by Emma Jones