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Singer-guitarist St Vincent performing at the St Jerome's Laneway Festival held at the The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay.

13,000 hipsters rock to Laneway 2015

Jan 30, 2015 5:50 AM

BARISTAS around Singapore must have been scratching their heads wondering where everybody disappeared to last Saturday.

With 13,000 hipsters descending on this year's St Jerome's Laneway Festival at The Meadow (and leaving a mountain of garbage that caught our Prime Minister's attention), cups of artisanal coffee must have gone cold islandwide as the sold-out crowd at Gardens by the Bay enjoyed what must be the best edition of the annual fest so far since it was imported from Australia in 2011.

For starters, the F&B options were as stellar and diverse as this year's musical line-up. Unlike most festivals where you just have to make do with an overpriced greasy burger or kebab, there was surprisingly affordable cafe-quality grub (starting from just S$4) being sold by hipster-friendly vendors such as Kith, Tiong Bahru Bakery, The Travelling C O W and more, to ensure punters had enough energy to last 12 hours to catch all 19 acts playing across three stages.

Other nice touches include charging stations in case anybody drained their mobile batteries early while going overboard with the selfies and non-stop Instagrams updates; and even a barber and tattoo parlour where you can not only go home looking spiffier than when you arrived but also get some ink to commemorate the day.

The weather gods were equally kind as it stayed mostly cloudy and windy with only a shower disrupting English post-punk five-piece, Eagull; Australian psychedelic rockers, Pond; and kooky Canadian folk singer, Mac DeMarco's sets in the early part of the afternoon.

That was also where the complimentary ponchos handed out at the door came in handy to keep the punters dry, unlike the first year where it poured so hard throughout the event that the 2011 edition is often fondly referred to as Rainway. But proving sometimes too much of a good thing can work against you, festival-goers must have had a hard time deciding who to catch when the set times of the bigger names started clashing later in the night.

Those who wanted to catch electronic maestros, Chet Faker and Jon Hopkins, on the third stage, for instance, had to miss the headlining girl power trio of neo-soul pop diva, Banks; R&B pop princess, FKA Twigs; and indie queen, St Vincent, on the main stages.

Even grabbing a bite meant having to sacrifice a little of either garage duo, Royal Blood; disco revivalist, Jungle; or art synth rockers, Future Islands' blistering sets as these acts played through dinner time.

But one thing's for sure, Laneway has upped the game for festivals and set the bar high for other promoters to follow by making this an event more than just something for music lovers. Even with tickets sold out, The Meadow did not feel overcrowded and things ran smoothly without any delays as the organisers once again pulled the whole thing off like a walk in the park.