Laneway Festival Singapore 2017: Rejoicing Music in The Rain
St. Jerome Laneway Festival Singapore happened once again in 2017, promising a stellar line up comprised of rising indie acts. The festival started its journey in Singapore from 2009 after holding a series of successful events in their homeland, Australia since 2005. We had a chance to attend the one-day music festival held at The Meadow, Gardens By The Bay Singapore on 21 January 2017. For your information, the venue is a popular destination in Singapore for its beautiful garden landscape and it also acts as a conservation land within the city. So we got the idea of the festival was going to be like, a vast space of greenery where people could roll out a carpet and enjoy the music leisurely.
Unfortunately, since mid-day the weather in Singapore did not seem too welcoming as heavy dark clouds were seen hanging above the city’s sky. That did not stop the attendees from storming the Laneway with their best festival outfits. Glitter, edgy headdress, and other bold fashion choices completed the look of the music enthusiasts that came to Laneway Music Festival. This year, our country, Indonesia sent two of their best indie acts to grace the stage of Laneway for the first time. There were Stars & Rabbit and Bottlesmoker who performed their sets upon the onlookers. Stars & Rabbit became the first act up on Laneway Festival’s schedule and they performed at Garden Stage. Elda wearing a neon colored patterned crop top hypnotized the audience as usual with her voice and Adi was seen wearing more casual outfit with a hat rocking his guitar, tunes after tunes.
Bottlesmoker on the other hand, performed in an indoor venue called White Room. It was set in a warehouse-like space with a dim light and intimate stage. They put out their best set with songs from their latest album “Hypnagogic” and more. As usual, they wore their signature animal hats and they also had a chance to be interviewed by local media prior to their show. Afterwards, local and international artists were taking turn to perform in four stages prepared by Laneway Singapore. White Room was dominated with electronic, hip hop musicians, Cloud Stage had their flair with a little electro-soul or R&B musicians, while Garden Stage and Bay Stage which were the biggest space, offered multi-genre artists who are most awaited by the crowd.
Rain started to pour over the venue at 3PM, and we decided to catch Sampa The Great’s performance on White Room. It was worth it, she commanded the stage with such passion and charm and we fell into her strong rap and smooth beat in courtesy of her beatmaker who was also present on stage. The distance between one stage to another was not too far, but the sound was not overlapping. It showed that Laneway Festival Singapore had set up the perfect schedule management. If you paid close attention to the artists’ schedules listed on their website or brochure, you would notice that each stage, especially those that are close (White Room – Cloud Stage, Garden Stage – Bay Stage), did not have clashing schedule. So you could squeeze in to watch your favorite artist performed without having to miss their set completely. This is important for a music festival, since catching a favorite artist’s schedule and run from one stage to another becomes a must-have experience.
Garden Stage and Bay Stage were actually a one huge stage divided by two and with this arrangement, people got to watch the musician performed one after another without having to move around. AURORA was one of the musician set to perform at Bay Stage and wearing a black ensemble, the singer exuded a mysterious aura which captured the attention from the audience. She sang songs from her album “All My Demons Are Greeting Me As A Friend” and her die-hard fans sang along to her despite the drizzling rain. Gang of Youths, Australian indie rock band were seen preparing their set on Garden Stage and with the cheer from the crowd they greeted Singapore for the first time. On Cloud Stage, Nao managed to put a spell on the audience with her smooth yet sultry voice.
As day grew even darker, and the rain did not seem to stop anytime soon, we decided to look around the area and grasp the festival experience as best as we could. There were food and beverage booths scattered around the whole venue, with the most vendors were placed near Garden Stage/Bay Stage. They offered many kinds of food and beverage, starting from small bites like churros, tacos to main courses. We were intrigued with some vendors which offered healthy food, it seemed like a trend that is going on with today’s generation with their fondness of Chia seeds, smoothie bowl and detox drinks. Booze became the universal drinks of the festival and they offered several types of alcohol starting from beer, rum to vodka. Furthermore, we ventured into some of the sponsors’ booths, they had interactive games and some exciting services like
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, one of the name that was last introduced as the line-up showed up with their rock and roll attitude and performed their best psychedelic rock tunes at Bay Stage. Whitney, a duo from Chicago were then commenced their set at Garden Stage and they were one of our most awaited act to be watched on Laneway. Their songs on “Light Upon The Lake” album were sung and they did not disappoint us. On one chance they also addressed Donald Trump’s inauguration in a joking manner then continued their stage. White Lung, Jagwar Ma, Bob Moses, and Tourist proceeded the next series of sets on four stages and they succeeded in drawing much larger crowd. It was no other than Tycho that could put us in a complete awe with his chillwave beats. His set was just spectacular, and with the lighting and Marina Bay Sands on the background, Tycho’s performance of songs like “Division” or “Epoch” felt magical.
Nick Murphy or formerly known as Chet Faker closed the celebration of Laneway Festival Singapore and smiles were seen lighting up people’s faces as they came home from the show. Overall, Laneway Festival Singapore has done a great job at holding the whole event. Experience, solidness and hospitality became the key factors that make the festival run seamlessly. The volunteers were at hand and ready to show the way for the attendees and also clean up after them who left their trash scattered around. Even though the rain stopped in the evening, it slightly ruined the festival experience earlier. We also wished that they gave out free raincoats for those who did not bring them, as we could see some people were soaking wet and looked for shelter. Let’s hope next year’s celebration would be even bigger and managed to attract some big names from the music scene. We would definitely come back, if fate allows us to. See you next year!