A relatively underwhelming lineup and a flood of Facebook users trying to sell their tickets later, the annual St Jerome Laneway Festival-goers in Singapore were greeted on site this year with perpetual rain and an all-too-similar site plan from previous years.
However, wet weather and an unpromising lineup aside, the irrefutable festival vibes at Laneway Festival was enough to lure people all over the region into the heart of Singapore at Gardens By The Bay last weekend.
According to a press release, 10,000 people attended Laneway Festival Singapore this year, a good three thousand away from its full capacity. The festival saw a sold-out crowd two years ago in its 2015 installation.
Since its inauguration in 2011, Laneway Festival Singapore has brought in a myriad of significant international acts including HAIM and The 1975, and also a shift in venue from Fort Canning Park to The Meadows at Gardens By The Bay.
Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker, headlined this year’s Laneway Festival in Singapore with his debut show here, as well as Bob Moses which was well-received by the evening crowd.
Acts like the soulful AURORA and dance-friendly Glass Animals had their debut Singapore show with Laneway as well, but bands like Tame Impala was not included in the Singapore lineup despite headlining the Australia’s Laneway Festival 2017 back in its origin country.
Beyond these recognised names, though, the collective response to Laneway Festival Singapore’s lineup this year was not fantastic.
The genre focus this year has obviously shifted from mainstream indie rock to more chillstep and shoegaze, which pleased some of the folks here, but also lost a good crowd of individuals who only scratch the surface of the indie genre, listening to the bands who reach the mainstream audience first.
Many in turn attended the festival with a mind to just discover new bands there, instead of going to dance along to their existing favourite ones.
The weak lineup could be a reflection of today’s increasingly rising artiste’s costs, which resulted in the lack of more heavyweight names.
Furthermore, while it is not the first time for the wet weather to get people talking about “Rainway” on social media, this year is the second year in which the “no re-entry” rule was implemented at Laneway Festival Singapore.
This, coupled with the fact that there was not enough ponchos for everyone (it ran out as early as 4pm), indirectly resulted in many festival goers to walk around festival grounds drenched and theirs moods damped.
Would festival goers still buy tickets in before the full line-up announcement for next year, in risk of disappointment? Would the festival atmosphere always be enough of an appeal for festival goers regardless of the lineup?
If it rains, should the no re-entry rule stick?
After seven years in Singapore, has Laneway Festival really lost its lustre, or are we just ready to move on to the next big thing?