The organisers of St Jerome’s Laneway Festival have a knack of panning globally to bring musical gold to New Zealand, offering 30 or so cherry-picked international and local artists in an intimate setting. Often on the cusp of blowing up, this is the perfect opportunity to see these artists before they begin to pack arenas.
With a new location at Albert Park, Laneway finally has a home that matches the caliber of the artists. The old Silo Park locale offered little respite from the usually scorching summer day and the concrete setting made it a place to endure, not enjoy. Now Laneway has a location that invites lounging in the grassy parks, grabbing shade under the trees or frolicking in the fountain. There is an improved flow between the four stages, and you can also expect a bevvy or two in the new beer garden, alongside the odd board game if you need some quieter entertainment.
The Laneway crowd is musically minded; they know their up-and-coming acts and enjoy music, arts, and self-expression away from the top 40-norm. Expect hipster vibes, vintage outfits, and more Chucks than the Converse flagship store. Around a third of the 12,000-strong crowd travel to Auckland from out of town, though there is definitely a clear Ponsonby vibe present too. And, if you’re part of the loyal 60% that return annually, you know it’s Laneway, never Laneways.
Laneway started out in Melbourne as a weekly show and accidentally became one of the region’s hippest festivals. Launched here in 2010, Auckland is the only New Zealand location and the Auckland Anniversary weekend date ensures everyone has a long weekend to party. Tickets go on sale mid-September, along with the main line-up release. If the event hasn’t sold out, door sales are available for the indecisive.
Laneway is an 18+ event so bring ID and everything you need for the day as there are no pass outs. Doors open from 11:30am to 10:30pm and the event is fully licensed, meaning no BYO booze or food; though bring an empty water bottle for the free water refill stations. Cash, EFTPOS or credit card are accepted and you’ll want to save some pocket money for all the cool market vendors. Whilst food can be a little pricey, effort has gone into finding a broad range of eateries, including healthy and vegan.
As it’s the peak of summer, you’ll regret it if you don’t pack a hat, sunscreen and an SPF lip balm to combat our blistering NZ sun. Cell service can be spotty so coordinate meet up points ahead of time. It’s an all-weather event and, if it does looks like rain (gasp), embrace it or pack a poncho – umbrellas are banned. Earplugs are helpful for the Thunderdome stage and there’s a ‘coat’ check if you do over pack.
The 2017 addition of a women’s safe zone was well received (though perhaps a sad reminder of the vulnerability of females at festivals), offering a non-judgmental space (and phone charging) to escape the main crowds.
The Auckland CBD location means that access to Laneway is easy via Auckland’s train or bus network. Parking in the area is particularly tight so committing to public transport or Uber not only means you get in and out faster, you also don’t need anyone in your crew to be Sober Sally. Auckland CBD nightclubs often throw an after party so keep an eye out for those if you don’t have an early meeting with your boss on Tuesday.