Kick start the new year with a bang at one of the hottest indie music festivals in the world — the St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, right here in Singapore. A highlight on the Southeast Asian music festival calendar, this annual extravaganza is definitely not to be missed.

Hipsters or not, put on your festival togs and ready yourself for up to 14 hours of terrific tunes, amazing food and eclectic vibes.

Humble beginnings

Scottish DJ Hudson Mohawke bringing his spin on hip hop and trap to St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Singapore.

Today, Laneway is held in seven cities across Australia, New Zealand and, of course, Singapore, but the festival has roots in a much simpler place. The first chapter of its story began in a tiny hole-in-the-wall bar located at a grubby back street in Melbourne called Caledonian Lane. The year was 2004, and the bar’s owner, Jerome Bozario, and his band booker friend Danny Rogers decided that it’d be fun to start up a series of weekly gigs that they called the Summer Series. A year later, when they decided to throw a first birthday bash for the bar, a bet with Melbournian band The Avalanche about whether they could get the lane closed off for the party sparked something much bigger: eight acts agreed to perform, 1,400 people showed up, and the aptly-named Laneway Festival was born.

Over the next few years, the festival experienced nothing short of a meteoric rise. It quickly cemented its reputation as the seminal indie music festival in the Asia-Pacific region, conquering one new city for each edition until it settled on its current tour lineup. 

The key to the festival’s success lies in the way the organisers capture the zeitgeist of current music trends while discovering emerging talents. Back in 2010, for instance, British groups Mumford & Sons, The xx and Florence and the Machine all made their Australia debut at Laneway – just as they were starting to gain global attention for their music. The festival also announced Lorde as part of its 2014 line-up just one week before the teenage sensation made it to the top of the US charts. So if you’re on the prowl for the next big thing in the music scene, well, Laneway’s the place to be!

Off to see the world

Canadian electronic duo Purity Ring goes for bold with custom-designed costumes and set pieces.

The very first time that Laneway came to Singapore in 2011, the pioneering 6,000-strong crowd rocked up at Fort Canning Hill and had a whale of a time with bands like The Temper Traps, Foals, and !!! (Chk Chk Chk).

The festival has since gotten bigger and better, outgrowing its original venue and moving to The Meadow at Gardens by the Bay in 2013.  Its new home now accommodates up to 13,000 people, and iconic landmarks like Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer are a stunning backdrop to the festival’s many acts and impressive four stages. 

Since Laneway’s debut in Singapore, our stages have been graced by veteran indie darlings and up-and-coming artists alike. Concert-goers get to sing and dance along with musicians from the world over: acts seen at Laneway include English rock band The 1975 and trip-hop crooner FKA Twigs, American ambient electronic artist Tycho, as well as singer-songwriter Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker) from the Land Down Under. Closer to home, indie pop duo Stars And Rabbit and electronic band Bottlesmoker fly the flag for Indonesia, while indie-folk and R&B singer Sam Rui, as well as experimental band T-Rex also take the stage, giving us cause for local pride. 

If you’re looking for a bite to refuel at any point, rest assured that there’ll be plenty of F&B options to suit every taste. The 2016 edition had everything from suckling pig and kebabs to sushi rolls and ice cream on offer, so don’t worry about going hungry.

Now that you know Laneway’s backstory, its street cred, and what to expect when it comes to the lineup (hint: it never disappoints), the only thing left to do is to get your hands on some tickets. So round up your mates, grab your coolest pair of shades – and a poncho, as it’s a rain or shine event – and get ready for some non-stop partying!